Wise Woman Ways
to Prevent Depression
by Susun Weed
As seen printed in www.fourcornersmagazine.com
The dark months are a time of rest and renewal, not a time of high energy. The fairies return to their underground homes at Halloween and return aboveground on May Day. Give in to the slower pace of the winter. Expect less of yourself; enjoy more time in bed. Stop fighting the dark. Let it be deep and nourishing. Before electric lights, humans slept twelve hours a day during the winter. Recognize the softer energy of contemplation and enjoy it, just as you do the active energy of summer.
Herbal tonics can help us lighten up and stay healthier all winter. My favorite winter tonics are sunlight, St. Joan's wort tincture, elder berry tincture, linden infusion, sauerkraut, and organ meats.
Get out into the sun. Not just in the winter, but in the summer too. And skip the sunscreen. Overuse is causing an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency, which leads to depression, weak bones, and cancer. For optimum mental and physical health -- and for sustainable energy -- humans need 15-30 minutes of unfiltered sunlight on hands, face and eyes (no glasses, no contacts) every day. You won't make vitamin D in the northern states during the winter, but sunlight still has beneficial effects on the pineal gland, and thus, overall health. Special high-intensity lights are used to help those who deal with winter depression; but natural sunlight is preferable.
Hypericum perforatum is the botanical name for the famous St. John's wort, better known to me as St. Joan's wort. This yellow-flowered plant thrives in the hottest, sunniest locations and spends the summer soaking up the sun so she can give it back to you when the outer or inner skies are grey. A dropperful of the tincture, taken as often as every two hours, if needed, can brighten your mood rapidly. I love the winter, so I use Hypericum as an antiviral. A dropperful a day (more if flu threatens) helps prevent colds and the flu.
Elder berries are the fruit of the magical elder bush (Sambucus nigra). All parts of the elder have been used to help us get through the winter. It is said that a powerful woman lives in the elder; I call her Elda Mor, though she has many, many names. If asked to help, she will. But she resents demands and grows furious if she is used without thanks. As much as a teaspoonful of elder berry tincture can be used daily to improve mood and immunity.
Linden blossoms (Tillia americana or europa) are the world's most popular winter tonic. I make an infusion by brewing a half-ounce (weight measurement) of the flowers in a quart of boiling water. I steep my infusion, tightly covered, off the heat, for at least four hours. For remedial relief of sore throat or bronchitis, I start with cold water and bring the herb and water to a boil together. A big spoonful of honey in each cup of the infusion -- strained and heated -- isn't necessary, but adds delight.
Sauerkraut, or any naturally fermented vegetables including Kimchee, feed the underground parts of our beings. A small serving daily from the beginning of December through the end of March can totally prevent the flu. Let the summer stored in the vegetables speak to you of joy.
Organ meats are an old secret for staying healthy, especially in the winter, when we need the concentrated goodness of meat. Liver is a powerful, rich source of vitamins D and A, as well as iron and other minerals needed to keep depression away and strengthen immunity. Eating animals is the surest way to love them and help them. When we buy organic meats, we are voting for well-tended animals who live with dignity and who take pride in contributing to our well-being. When we refuse to eat animals, we leave them in the hands of those who don't care. And we short-change our own health.
Susun S Weed
Chronic Problems 2 DVD set
Chronic Problems 2 DVD set
Susun Weed teaches at the Wise Woman Center. She teaches her students about many of the chronic problems that are encountered throughout a life, from childhood to old age. In this two disc set, Susun discusses states of mind, stress, allergies, inflammation, heart health, healthy skin, insomnia, and intestinal health (including dietary recommendations). She also talks about Life Force and Soul Force. Herbs discussed include hawthorne, motherwort, St. Joan's wort, confrey, white oak, skullcap, and nettle.
Time: Part 1 - 1 hr 44 min Part 2 - 1 hr 44 min
Produced in 2009 by HerbTV Studio
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Herbal Healing for Women
Comprehensive and easy-to-use, Herbal Healing for Women explains how to create remedies -- including teas, tinctures, salves, and ointments -- for the common disorders that arise in the different cycles of a woman's life. Covering adolescence, childbearing years, pregnancy and childbirth, and menopause, Rosemary Gladstar teaches how herbs can be used to treat the symptoms of conditions such as acne, PMS, morning sickness, and hot flashes.
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