Wise Woman Ezine with Susun Weed
November 2005
Volume 5 Number 11

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What's Inside Weed Wanderings this Month...

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WISE WOMAN WISDOM | ANTI-CANCER LIFESTYLE | THE GODDESS SPEAKS |  FEATURED LINKS


Healing Wise ...
Amazing Artemisias
by Susun S Weed

Amazing Artemisias
c. 2005 Susun S Weed

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 there!

How do Artemisias grow in your garden?

dream in color tarot by Mindy SommersMost Artemisias are perennials and grow best from cuttings, not seeds. Sweet Annie is the exception, being a self-seeding annual. Although you can buy tarragon seeds, you can't grow true tarragon from them. Wormwood and southerwood and tarragon (the last not winter-hardy in many places) are woody perennials which regreen each year on last year's new wood; I prune only dead wood from them. Cronewort is an invasive perennial that creeps underground; it dies back to the ground each year and can be heavily harveted (clear cuts are ok) without damage to its further prolific productivity.

Most Artemisias require little care. Lack of soil nutrients and lack of water do not faze them. Many are native to deserts, and know how to thrive in hot dry weather. Except for tarragon, all can overwinter without fuss.

Flowers are usually small and green, in other words, nearly invisible.

What do Artemisias contain?
bitter principals: wormwood
coumarins: cronewort, tarragon
essential oils (complex, variety specific, with hundreds of components per plant): cronewort (high in camphor, thujone), tarragon, wormwood (high in camphor, thujone)
flavonoids: cronewort, tarragon
glycosides: cronewort, tarragon
hormones: cronewort (sitosterol, stigmasterol)
sesquiterpene lactones: cronewort

How are Artemisias used?

Artemisias, with their grey-green or white-green foliage bring beauty to the garden throughout the growing season. They also make long-lasting, aromatic and beautiful indoor decorations: bouquets, wreaths, swags. They are popular strewing herbs, too.

Those which are high in essential oils are thereby antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial. They also improve digestion and appetite if taken in small doses.

Any Artemisia growing beside the door -- or painted on it -- was, in days of old, the sign of the midwife, the herbalist. Magical and folkloric uses are numerous.

"Mugwort possessses both natural and supernatural qualities. [It] excels as a women's herb, easing the pain of labor, menstrual cramps, and effectively treating various uterine complaints." dream in color tarot by Mindy SommersGai Stern (1986)

Cronewort/mugwort = smudge, dream pillow, moxa, birthing steam, vinegar of roots and young leaves, salad green when young, mugwort noodles, mugwort mochi. American colonists used sundried leaves instead of tea. Formerly a popular beer flavoring (hence "mugwort"). Controls worms in goats. Urinary tonic. Uterine tonic. Digestive tonic. Nerve tonic. Circulatory tonic.Eases pain and fever, comforts grief and depression, eases irritability and burdened joints, brings peace and sleep, and reassures the nerves. Moxa demonstration/discussion (if time allows).

"That torturous, barbaric practice, the use of the moxa, is closely related to this plant." Millspaugh (1892)

Wormwood = tincture, oil. Ingredient in absinth. Stimulates mid-brain activity and increases creativity, but repeated use disturbs the central nervous system. Prevents giardia, dysentery, amoebas. Cholagogic, digestive, appetite-stimulant, liver-stimulant, wound healer. Caution: Use can lower seizure threshold; interacts adversely with seizure-reducing medications.

Sweet Annie = capsules, in fairly large daily dose, to prevent malaria; source of antimalarial drugs. A strong tea, taken frequently, kills giardia and amoebas.

Tarragon = vinegar, seasoning. Appetite stimulant according to Herbal PDR.

Southernwood = dream pillow, sachet, charms. To see the beloved.

Some of the many Artemisia species that herbalists and gardeners use:
A. abrotanum (southernwood)
A. absinthium (wormwood)
A. afra (African wormwood)
A. annua (sweet Annie, qing hao)
A. camphorata (camphor-scented sothernwood)
A. drancuncula (tarragon, estragon, little dragon)
A. frigida (fringed sagebrush)
A. lactiflora (ghost plant)
A. ludoviciana (silver queen)
A. pontica (Roman wormwood)
A. schmidtiana (silver mound)
A. stellerana (old woman, dusty miller)
A. tridentata (sagebush; three-toothed sagebrush)
A. vulgaris (cronewort, mugwort)



Healing Wise

by Susun S. Weed
Foreword by Jean Houston.
312 pages, index, illustrations by Durga Bernhard
Retails for $12.95
Order online
  Seven herbs -- burdock, chickweed, dandelion, nettle, oatstraw, seaweed, and violet -- are explored in depth.

Now available: A Special Tenth Anniversary edition of this classic herbal, profusely illustrated, with an introduction by Jean Houston.

I just started reading your book, Healing Wise. Your humor and approach to life seem so "down-to-earth", just like your favorite powerful weeds. Thank you for sharing and nourishing! ~ Diane

Study with Susun Weed via Correspondence Course

Green Witch focuses on personal and spiritual development. You'll create rituals, prepare an herbal first-aid kit, encounter your Goddess archetype, discover the magic of menstrual & menopausal changes, and develop wise woman ways of living and healing. Learn more ...

Green Allies explores herbal medicine through direct experiences with plants, plant spirits (fairies, devas), and plant medicines. For those who want to deepen, rather than broaden, their knowledge of plants: a year's worth of investigation and experimentation with one plant ally. Learn more ...

Spirit & Practice of the Wise Woman Tradition focuses on understanding, internalizing, and using the Three Traditions of Healing (Wise Woman, Heroic, and Scientific) and the Six Steps of Healing. Health-care practitioners find this course exceptionally helpful, but anyone who cares for the health of others (even family members) will benefit. Learn more ...

ABC of Herbalism!! This is a special course for the aspiring herbalist who'd like to have me "by your side" teaching you how to harvest, prepare, and use 52 healing herbs. Your studies will be both experiential and intellectual and you will make and use herbal remedies as well as reading about them in a variety of sources. Learn more ...

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