with Susun Weed

~Spring 2001~

Weed Wanderings Archive



Volume 1 Number 1

For permission to reproduce this article contact susunweed@herbshealing.com

Welcome to my new e-mail newsletter.

We'll do virtual weed walks, talk with interesting plants, deal with common problems the Wise Woman Way, and encounter a fairy or two along the way.

Green Blessings,
Susun Weed

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Spring Weed Walk with Susun Weed

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One 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 this February, 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.)

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. Here are some to look for this spring.

To insure proper identification, consult a field guide, such as Peterson's.

Shepherds's purse (Capsella bursa pastoris) is an annual in the mustard family. It looks like a miniature dandelion before it begins to flower. Cut the top half of the plant when it has formed its little heart-shaped "purses" and make a tincture to stop bleeding. Midwives dealing with postpartum hemorrage and menopausal women who bleed heavily praise the prompt effectiveness of dropperful doses (1ml).
(More information on shepherd's purse in Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year)

Cleavers (Gallium aparine) is a persistent, sticky plant which grows profusely in abandoned lots. To strengthen lymphatic activity cut the top two-thirds of each plant while it is in flower (or setting seeds) and tincture it in 100 proof vodka. I find it unsurpassed for easing tender, swollen breasts, PMS symptoms, and mild lymphedema. It is also reduces allergic reactions. I use 15-25 drops (.5 - 1 ml) as often as every half-hour for 4-5 hours or as needed.

Chickweed (Stellaria media) has secret dissolving powers. Ovarian cysts, dermoid cysts, lumps in the breast and elsewhere can't hold their own against her slippery ways when a dropperful (1 ml) is taken 4-5 times a day, persistently, for many months. And have you tried chickweed pesto? It vibrates with antioxidant power!
(Lots more info and recipes for delicious chickweed dishes in Healing Wise!)

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis) is a persistent perennial of lawns and gardens and one of the best known medicinal herbs in the world. All parts -- the root, the leaves, the flowers, even the flower stalk -- strengthen the liver. A dose of 10-20 drops of the tincture (.5-1 ml) relieves gas, heartburn, and indigestion, as well as promoting healthy bowel movements. A tablespoon of the vinegar works well, too. More importantly, taken before meals, dandelion increases the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, thus increasing bio-availability of many nutrients, especially calcium. And the oil of the flowers is an important massage balm for maintaining healthy breasts. (There's lots more information on dandelion in Healing Wise!)

Dock, also called yellow dock, curly dock, and broad dock is a perennial plant which my Native American grandmothers use for "all women's problems." I dig the yellow roots of Rumex crispus or R. obtusifolius and tincture them. I also harvest the leaves and/or seeds throughout the growing season to increase blood-levels of iron, reduce menstrual flooding and cramping, and correct hormone levels.
(More information on yellow dock in Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year)

Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) and Ragwort (Senecio jacobea) are some of the world's most ancient healing plants, having been found in a grave 60,000 years old. You can use the flowering tops and leaves to make a tincture which acts slowly to tonify the reproductive organs, ease PMS, and stop severe menstrual pain. A dose is 5-10 drops (.2-.5 ml) per day; used only once a day, but for at least 3 months. (A larger dose is used to speed up labor.)
(More information on shepherd's purse in Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way)

Mallows (Malva neglecta, M. parviflora, M. sylvestres) are surprisingly deep-rooted. The flowers, leaves, stalks, seeds, and roots are rich in sticky mucilage which is best extracted by soaking the fresh plant in cold water overnight or by making a medicinal vinegar. The starch is extraordinarily soothing internally (easing sore throats, upset tummies, heart burn, irritable bowel, colic, and constipation) and externally (relieving bug bites, burns, sprains, and sore eyes).

Plantain, also called ribwort, pig's ear, and the band-aid plant is a common weed of lawns, driveways, parks, and playgrounds. Identify it by the five parallel veins running the length of each leaf. Use it to make a healing poultice or a soothing oil widely regarded as one of the best wound healers around. Not only does plantain increase the speed of healing, it also relieves pain, stops bleeding, draws out foreign matter, stops itching, prevents and stops allergic reactions from bee stings, kills bacteria, and reduces swelling. A first-aid kit in a leaf! I use a generous application of plantain oil or ointment on sprains, cuts, insect bites, rashes, chafed skin, boils, bruises, chapped and cracked lips, rough or sore hands, baby's diaper area, and burns.
(More information on yellow dock in Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year)

St. Joan's/John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) This beautiful perennial wildflower may be hated by sheep farmers but herbalists adore it. The flowering tops are harvested after they begin to bloom (traditionally on Solstice, June 21) and prepared with alcohol - or with oil - to make two of the most useful remedies in my first-aid kit. Tincture of St. Joan's wort not only lends one a sunny disposition, it reliably relieves muscle aches, is a powerful anti-viral, and is my first-choice treatment for those with shingles, sciatica, backpain, neuralgia, and headaches including migraines. The usual dose is 1 dropperful (1 ml) as frequently as needed. In extreme pain from a muscle spasm in my thigh, I used a dropperful every twenty minutes for two hours, or until the pain totally subsided. St. Joan's wort oil stops cold sores in their tracks and can even relieve genital herpes symptoms. I use it as a sunscreen. Contrary to popular belief, St. Joan's wort does not cause sun sensitivity, it prevents it. It even prevents burn from radiation therapy. Eases sore muscles, too.
(Lots more info in Breast Cancer? Breast Health! The Wise Woman Way)

Self heal (Prunella vulgaris) This scentless perennial mint is one of the great unsung healers of the world. The leaves and flowers contain more antioxidants -- which prevent cancer and heart disease, among other healthy traits -- than any other plant tested. And as part of the mint family, self heal is imbued with lots of minerals, especially calcium, making it an especially important ally for pregnant, nursing, menopausal, and post-menopausal women. I put self heal leaves in salads in the spring and fall, make a medicinal vinegar with the flowers during the summer, and cook the flowering tops (fresh or dried) in winter soups.

Yarrow (Achellia millefolium) This lovely perennial weed has a multitude of uses. Cut the flowering tops (use only white-flowering yarrow) and use 100 proof vodka to make a strongly-scented tincture that you can take internally to prevent colds and the flu. (A dose is 10-20 drops, or up to 1 ml). I carry a little spray bottle of yarrow tincture with me when I'm outside and wet my skin every hour or so. A United States Army study showed yarrow tincture to be more effective than DEET at repelling ticks, mosquitoes, and sand flies. You can also make a healing ointment with yarrow flower tops and olive oil. Yarrow oil is antibacterial, pain-relieving, and incredibly helpful in healing all types of wounds.
(Lots more info in Breast Cancer? Breast Health! The Wise Woman Way)

Susun S Weed - POBox 64 Woodstock NY 12498 1-845- 246-8081

For permission to reproduce this article contact susunweed@herbshealing.com

Susun Weed’s books:

Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year
Author: Susun S. Weed. Simple, safe remedies for pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, and newborns. Includes herbs for fertility and birth control. Foreword by Jeannine Parvati Baker. 196 pages, index, illustrations.
Retails for $14.95
Order at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com

Healing Wise
Author: Susun S. Weed. Superb herbal in the feminine-intuitive mode. Complete instructions for using common plants for food, beauty, medicine, and longevity. Introduction by Jean Houston. 312 pages, index, illustrations. Retails for $17.95
at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com

NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way

Author: Susun S. Weed. The best book on menopause is now better. Completely revised with 100 new pages. All the remedies women know and trust plus hundreds of new ones. New sections on thyroid health, fibromyalgia, hairy problems, male menopause, and herbs for women taking hormones. Recommended by Susan Love MD and Christiane Northrup MD. Introduction by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. 304 pages, index, illustrations.
Retails for $16.95
at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com
For excerpts visit: www.menopause-metamorphosis.com

Breast Cancer? Breast Health!

Author: Susun S. Weed. Foods, exercises, and attitudes to keep your breasts healthy. Supportive complimentary medicines to ease side-effects of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or tamoxifen. Foreword by Christiane Northrup, M.D. 380 pages, index, illustrations. Retails for $21.95
at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com


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Website: www.wisewomanbookshop.com ~ E-mail: susunweed@herbshealing.com

Susun Weed, green witch and wise woman, is an extraordinary teacher with a joyous spirit, a powerful presence, and an encyclopedic knowledge of herbs and health. She is the voice of the Wise Woman Way, where common weeds, simple ceremony, and compassionate listening support and nourish health/wholeness/holiness. She has opened hearts to the magic and medicine of the green nations for three decades. Ms. Weed's four herbal medicine books focus on women's health topics including: menopause, childbearing, and breast health. Visit her site www.susunweed.com for information on her workshops, apprenticeships, correspondence courses and more! Browse the publishing site online at www.wisewomanbookshop.com to learn more about her alternative health books. Venture into the NEW Menopause site www.menopause-metamorphosis.com to learn all about the Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way.

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