Tag Archives: herbalism

Glorious Goldenrod

by Susun S. Weed

goldenrodI love autumn, don't you? The days shorten and fall colors thrill my senses. Perennial roots get busy storing nourishment that will last them through the winter. And the meadows bloom with purple asters and riotous goldenrod flowers.

Goldenrod (the Solidago genus, Asteracea family) is one of my favorite plants, and hopefully, soon it will be one of your favorites too.

Before you complain that goldenrod is a pest and you're allergic to it, let me set the record straight: You aren't. No one is, no one can be, allergic to goldenrod pollen. Why? It has virtually none. What little pollen it makes is sticky, all the better to stick onto insects who pollinate the goldenrod. Only wind-pollinated plants - like ragweed (Ambrosia artemisifolia), which blooms at the same time as goldenrod, and has an especially irritating pollen - make enough pollen, and spread it widely enough, to cause allergic reactions.

Set aside your mistaken bad thoughts about lovely goldenrod, and, if you can, visit a patch. Goldenrod is a wide-spread wild plant in North America (found from Florida to New Hampshire and west into Texas), Europe, and Asia. Goldenrod is also treasured as a garden plant from New Zealand to Germany, and has become a highly-successful weed in Japan. So, no matter where you live as you read this article, it is likely that you can find a patch of goldenrod.

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Weed Walk with Susun Weed

dandelionOne of my first, and still one of my favorite, reasons for learning about plants was to become more in tune with my environment: the weather, the flows of water, the places of special energy, Mother Nature herself. The woods are lovely and deep, and there are many mysterious and powerful plants there, but they are special allies for special times.

(Speaking of which, the Russian government, I am told, in desperation, went to consult with the witch Baba Mat, The Wise Old Woman Who Lives In The Land Of Many Tall Trees Beyond The Black Mountains. She is rumored to be an excellent herbalist and the only one who can save Mother Russia.) And while I like to walk in the woods, the plants I find myself using on a daily basis are the weeds right under my feet - in gardens, yards, driveways, playgrounds, hospitals, fence rows, institutions, and campuses. These ordinary plants have abilities that seem miraculous to me.

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Frolicking with the Fairies

by Susun S Weed

barefootMy friend Elsa always talked to plants. I thought she was crazy. Safely insane, but definitely disassociated from reality. Until the plants laughed at me.

Autumn of 1980, returning home from a rare dinner out after a healing intensive at my land in the Catskills, I stopped to get my mail. An unusual envelope contained a $500 money order, signed "Mother Nature" and this note: "It's my birthday and I could think of no better gift than giving you the means to build a shelter for your teaching."

How wonderful. How perplexing. Even way back then, $500 would not put down a floor, let alone walls or a roof! What building could I create with such a large gift of such a small sum? In a waking dream I saw the answer.

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Herbs for Hags

by Susun S Weed

herbsI'm so glad I'm finally old. Sadly, many of my friends don't like me to use that word. They say they don't want to be "old". I think what they really mean is they don't want to be the kind of old that's infirm and dependent. I agree.

Vigorously old, excitingly old, sensuously old, daringly old - those are the adjectives I like to apply to myself as an old woman.

Toward the goal of remaining vigorous, exciting, sensuous, and daring for many more decades, I pay close attention to the food I eat and the medicines I use, and don't use. So you may be as vigorous, exciting, sensual, and daring as you wish to be, too, I'll share my thoughts and choices about health and nourishment with you.

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The Garden Goddesses

by Rita Lewis

Lady's Mantle

We are so fortunate, for the Goddess is everywhere. She can be seen in the Peruvian jungle, in stone carvings of roses and grain decorating European churches, in Buckingham palace as Isis supporting the hearth, and as a gentle, haunting spirit in the traditional sacred groves of the British Isles.

I have been blessed to feel Her presence in all these varied places, but it was in my own back garden in Buckinghamshire where I first truly saw Her face, heard Her voice and enjoyed Her constant, wise companionship.

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Blood Mysteries

by Susun S Weed

CaveIn the beginning, according to the Wise Woman tradition, everything began, as everything does, at birth.

The Great Mother of All gave birth and the earth appeared out of the void. Then the Great Mother of All gave birth again, and again, and again, and people, and animals, and plants appeared on the earth. They were all very hungry. "What shall we eat?" they asked the Great Mother. "Now you eat me," she said, smiling. Soon there were a very great many lives, but the Great Mother of All was enjoying creating and giving birth so much that she didn't want to stop. "Ah," she said smiling, "now I eat you." And so she still does.

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The Wise Woman Tradition Empowers Women

by Susun S. Weed

EchinaceaThe Wise Woman Tradition is the oldest known healing tradition on our planet. It offers a unique view of health that is woman-centered and deeply empowering to women. This is in stark contrast to orthodox - and most alternative - healing traditions, which are based on male viewpoints which disempower women.

The medicine I learned in school was based on a linear, scientific, male worldview whose truth I did not question. When this medicine failed me, as a woman and a mother, I sought alternatives. Herbs helped me take care of myself and my family, simply and safely, but I questioned the assumptions behind what I was taught.  It was clear to me that alternative health care disempowers women as much, or more than, orthodox medicine does. They both actively assume that the norm on which assessment of health is to be based is masculine in gender.

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Amazing Artemisias

by Susun S Weed

Diana, bronze, Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828)

Artemis - Goddess of the herbalist - gives her name to a genus of marvelously aromatic, safely psychedelic, highly medicinal, dazzlingly decorative, and more-or-less edible plants in the Asteraceae family. I love Artemis, and I love her plants.

Who is Artemis?

Amazonian moon goddess. Goddess of the hunt. Goddess of the wild things. Goddess of the midwife. Goddess of the herbalist. Mother of all Creatures. Leader of the sacred bitches. Great she-bear. Diana. Selene. Ever Virgin; owned by no man. We will visit her sacred wood on a shamanic journey. Who knows what will happen then.

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