A Chat with Susun Weed
The following is a written transcript from John Gallagher’s interview with Susun Weed on November 30, 2006. The interview was part of The Herbal Teleconference Series, which was an event celebrating the release of Wildcraft! An Herbal Adventure Game
John: You know that when Kimberly was pregnant and they took a blood to match her blood to an osteopath ‑ the midwife took a blood test ‑ and they said, "You're very low in iron an you need to take this." And there's this big bottle of something and we're like, "No, no, it's OK, we're going to try this."
And it happened to be nettle season and we just had nettle in every way possible. You know, we picked it down the street, we brought it in ‑ and we were living in an RV at the time, so we couldn't really dry much; we had no room where we lived.
Susun: Right, right.
John: So we were making soup and making soup and making soup and making lasagna and everything you can think of that you could do with nettle. I think that was my ally at Ravencroft that year. And then the next blood test came in and they were like, "Wow! Well, you must have been taking your supplements!"
John: They were like, "Aha!"
Susun: Aha! [laughs]
Susun: You know Michael Moore, the herbalist, Michael Moore, really wonderful herbalist, told us in a recent class that I took with him, that the charge, the minerals in the nettle, is such that it is magnetized into the blood and that it doesn't have to be digested, that the minerals are simply taken up when they are coming from the nettle.
Susun: Isn't that amazing? Even more amazing, when you understand that this is a man who started his workshop by looking at all of us ‑ not just me, but all of us ‑ and saying, "Let's be clear here: if a plant can't kill you, it's not a medicine."
Susun: Now that is the scientific approach!
Susun: There's nothing wrong with that approach, but we need to understand it if we don't think that way. In other words, if we're thinking, "Oh, herbs are benign" and someone comes up to us and says, "Oh, no, herbs can kill." Right, then we have to understand that is true; there are herbs that can kill.
John: And I'd like you to speak to as we're getting near an end here, because that's how I really feel, everyone. That if we really look at our diets and we look at ways that herbs can nourish us that, and there are so many amazing ways that herbs relationship one at a time that you can get to know by ally that will take you years to develop wonderful friendships with.
And Susun mentioned comfrey, and oatstraw, and nettle and, of course, there's dandelion, burdock... all the ones in healing wines and more that, that's enough. There's so much there and then you feel safe because you have a relationship with the plants and you know them and you're friends with them and you're using them in your diet day‑to‑day and they are just not these little bottles of something in your medicine cabinet waiting for you to get sick and they are going to wait and wait and wait because you aren't really going to get that sick.
Susun: Is that a threat? Are you threatening them with being well?
John: (laughing) I'm sorry; you're going to get well, folks. But, anyway, it's all about...
Susun: Be well! You know, John, I was at this conference and this person was standing and talking to me ‑ I was actually talking to an M.D. and she came and didn't realize I was talking to somebody else ‑ complaining bitterly about how M.D.s didn't know nothing about health.
And so this M.D. I was talking to looked at her and said, "You know what? You're absolutely right. It's true. I'm an M.D. and I know nothing about health. And I haven't studied health and I wasn't taught about health. I'm a disease expert and if you want to know about disease, you come to me because I can tell you about disease."
"Susun," she said, "now Susun, is a health expert." And I said, "You're right. And if you got some big major disease I'll probably catch it, but the ones that happen to one out of ten thousand folks, I'm not going to catch it. You want to know about disease, you better go to her."
John: And wouldn't it be the goal here of everyone here tonight, too, for us all to become our own health expert?
Susun: So long as we understand that that means being expert about ourselves and that we don't have to be expert about everything there is to know about health because nobody can do that!
John: No way, that's too intimidating.
Susun: That is too intimidating! Matter‑of‑fact, they even say to be an herbalist will usually take about seven lifetimes. So be patient with yourself.
John: I like that!
Susun: There's a lot to learn and a lot to unlearn, too, eh?
John: And you know, since we are kind of getting to the end here we will kind of switch gears a little bit and lets everyone hang on there because I have one big announcement to make and I have got their kit to give away. So, please hang in there with us. I would like you to tell me about. You heard about the one correspondence course, now that's not ABC's one is it?
Susun: Its not. The one that we were talking about was the Green Allies course.
John: Now what's the ABC's one?
Susun: The ABC's course is my response to people complaining about the Green Allies course.
Susun: Right, see as far as I am concerned learning herbal medicine is about being intimate with the plant and you start with one. When you learn all the variables with that one, then you can apply it to anything else. But, I understand that we live in a culture where people want a lot. They want to learn about a lot of things even though if we learn about a lot of things we tend to learn in a more shallow way. In a less intimate way so the ABCs of Herbalism course is that. It's a lot of herbs and so its much less deep and so to kind of ash wage my conscience for putting out that kind of information I also include several projects to do with a green ally and encourage the students who are doing the ABC class to develop and work with a green ally so that they have that in depth experience even while they are exploring fifty‑two herbs and about twenty different health problems and my favorite ways to approach them.
John: And of course you can find out about those courses after you get off the call at susunweed.com and of course that's s‑u‑s‑u‑n weed.com.
Susun: And of course brilliant Justine bought those spellings of it.
John: Oh, and Justine by the way I just have to tell everyone here is Susun's lovely daughter who is the web mistress of all the amazing researching.
Susun: [laughing] Is she ever. What a web she has spun there for us. Thank you.
John: If anyone has not been to it please go as well to the forum because I spend a lot of time there from time to time I go there and contribute and get questions answered. A lot of times if I need a question answered I go to the forum at susunweed.com and there are thousands of users and there are thousands of articles. It's an amazing resource. Tons of Susun's articles and there is even little free mini‑courses you could navigate all around through various sites.
Susun: Yeah, it's all free as a matter of fact.
John: It's all free?
Susun: There is nothing at all on the website that you have to pay for.
An Herbal Adventure Game
A cooperative board game that teaches edible & medicinal
Wildcraft! includes a 20x20 inch game board, instructions,
4 player pieces, 52 plant cards, 52 trouble cards, 25
cooperative cards, and a spinner. It also comes with a
downloadable story to enhance the story of the game.