July 2011
Volume 11 Number 7
Bookmark and Share

What's Inside Wise Woman Herbal Ezine this Month...


Healing Wise ...
Herbal Adventures - Peppermint
by Susun S Weed

Herbal Adventures - Peppermint
c. 2011
Susun S Weed

mentor at the Wise Woman University

The streets are narrow; literally the width of a donkey, fully loaded of course, plus room for merchants to set out their wares in front of their shops. The melee of people, animals, insects, smells, voices, noises, staggers me. At this time, I lived in Manhattan, one of the most populous cities in North America, and I rode the subway at rush hour—but I have never been in such a crush of people moving about intent on their own and every one else's business.

There is no averting of shoulders; people jostle each other. There is no polite disengagement; every eye meets mine head on, looking for access. The voices are in more languages than I recognize, and I can pick out words in Hebrew, Arabic, French, Spanish, Italian, and English. (I don't hear any German; nor will I.)

Welcome to the Old City of Jerusalem. Welcome to Israel. Welcome to the Four-Day War. I've just left the Golan Heights, where concrete barriers provided shelter from the bombs. Compared to the Old City, the Golan was rather peaceful – if you discounted the bombs. There I was nearly alone. Here I am tossed on a stormy sea of bodies hurrying, pushing, striding, calling out, laughing, muttering, shouting, eyeing, touching, fingering.

A wonderful silence would settle in the Golan after the crash of the bombs; birds sang, the wind muttered in the trees, Ancient voices rose up from the rocks. Here I am crushed by humanity; my nose assaulted with the stink of bodies long unwashed in a hot desert shy of water. (The very nice middle-class apartment building where I am staying has one solar water heater on the roof and a strict rota giving the day of the week and the hour that each apartment is allowed to use their shower.)

It is my first time in Israel. My first time away from the United States. My first time in a war. I am enthralled, terrified, fascinated, repelled, curious, anxious, and just naïve enough to thoroughly enjoy the experience. And I am looking for mint.

Yes, mint. The smell is everywhere: round trays of powerful mint tea are lofted arm and fingertips above the bustle. Vendors eagerly insist that you try a cup of their brew. The mint tea is so sweet you must brush the bees from the rim of your glass cup before enjoying your drink. And you drink it on the spot; no disposable cups. You return the cup to the tray with your payment.

Why can't I find it? Surely there must be at least one mint seller in this sprawling, winding market. Exhausted, and nearly in tears with frustration, skin crawly from unwelcome touches and looks, I lean against a wall and close my eyes. Mmmm. . . mmmint? Mint.

Peppermint! The smell is sharp and pungent. As I open my eyes, I see the object of my desire at my feet. The mint seller is sitting on the street. The bundles of mint are invisible, tucked deeply into the cool shade on this 100 degree day. No wonder I couldn't find it; I couldn't see it. But my nose knows. I bargain briefly; a deal is easily made. I carry my mint home with a satisfied smile.

Several adventures ago, you and I began investigating the mint family, or Lamiaceae, a very useful plant family to the herbalist and the chef. Though there are thousands of mint family plants—including oregano, basil, rosemary, marjoram, sage, thyme, lavender catnip, beebalm, pennyroyal, and shiso—peppermint is perhaps the best known and most generally beloved.

Peppermint, and all its sisters help bring health to the digestive tract, including the stomach, liver, gall bladder, and intestines. Mint tea is a popular after-meal drink around the world. It helps prevent heartburn and counters the formation of gas. Modern medicine endorses the use of mint-oil capsules in some serious intestinal conditions as well as minor indigestion.

Herbalists say mint is pain-killing (anodyne), relieving of spasms and cramps (antispasmotic) especially in the abdominal area, able to expel intestinal gas (carminative), helpful in digesting fats and increasing the output of bile (cholagogue), cooling, useful to counter nausea, and tonifying. Mint is one the world's most cherished headache remedies. It is also known as a mild aphrodisiac.

Gardeners will be pleased to learn that mints are perennial; once established they will grow for years. Most will spread lustily, too, so be forewarned. There are dozens of varieties of mint to choose from: orange mint, after-dinner mint, curly mint, spearmint, and many more. Mints grow well in pots, though they tend to die out after a few years. Mint seeds are tiny and difficult to work with, so ask a friend for a cutting of any mint, soak it in water until roots form, then plant it.

Mints need more water than other members of their family, which are acclimated to dry soils. In the wild, look for mint in drainage ditches and wet meadows. Mints like full sun; unless you are in the bazaar in old Jerusalem. Then you must look for it in the shade.

Do look. You will find some sort of wild mint growing around you, for, as we know, green blessings abound.

Dear Susun

I'm in my early fifties, menopausal, and so unhappy with my va-va (vagina). It hurts. Don't even ask me about sex. That hurts too. My gynecologist says I have "atropic vagina," which is just a fancy way of saying my down there is as dry as desert. Since I won't take oral hormones, the only medical solution is topical estrogen. I don't want to do that either. Please help. Selene

Dear Selene

I hear you. Menopause is changing your body and you are unhappy about it. Instead, focus on what is to come. You are becoming a baby crone: She-Who-Holds-Her-Wise-Blood-Inside. You are no longer a Mother, or even a potential mother; the baby-making hormones are receding and leaving a long stretch of lonely beach drying in the sun instead of a fertile field of wildflowers. After years of fertility (wanted or not, used or not), it is hard to adjust to the new state. The rushes of hormones that urged us to intimacy and caused ovulation are gone. Our boat is stranded on shore.

Before I solve a problem, I honor it; I look for the rightness of what seems wrong. Why is it right that many menopausal women generally have little libido, and even less interest in penetrative sex? Menopause urges us to focus solely on ourselves. A period of isolation for intimacy with others gives the emerging crone time and space to experiment and to discover anew our paths to pleasure.

The clitoris does not age after puberty. Women can orgasm every day of their lives. The vagina does age, however. Unless it is carefully nurtured, it can lose elasticity and lubrication after menopause. Nourish your vagina with seven orgasms a week, by drinking comfrey leaf infusion and oatstraw infusion on alternate days, by eating at least a quart of yogurt a week, and by using chickweed oil as a lubricant.

Yes, seven orgasms a week, whether you want them or not. Use it or lose it. Do all seven in one session or spread them out over the week. Consider it "physical culture." (A fancy way to say "exercise.")

A quart or more of comfrey leaf infusion strengthens vaginal tissues and makes them more flexible. Consistent use eliminates atropic vagina. Oatstraw infusion is an elixir of desire (and longevity). Oatstraw frees up bound testosterone (the hormone of desire) and really turns on the faucets down there. One woman declared that her desert became an oasis with dancing girls and date palms after she began to drink several quarts of oatstraw infusion weekly. (Remember that an infusion in not a tea. Check out my website and You Tube videos for detailed directions on making infusions.)

Plain yogurt is the greatest agent of vaginal health I know of; it prevents infections, maintains a healthy pH, and encourages lubrication. Two capsules of acidophilus powder inserted vaginally will melt into copious amount of slime if you are adverse to eating yogurt. Chickweed oil is one of the slipperiest lubricates known. Unlike the commercial lubricants on the market (such as Vibrel and Zestra), chickweed is inexpensive and does not overstimulate. (I am unable to have multiple orgasms when using commercial products due to the hypersensitivity and irritation they produce in my vulva and clitoris.) Chickweed oil is not only soothing, continued use restores the vagina's own ability to lubricate.

Estrogen creams are poorly absorbed into the blood from vaginal tissues and are considered safe if none of the above remedies help you.

Green blessings.


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 ...


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 $21.95
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 $22.95
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

Down There: Sexual and Reproductive Health the Wise Woman Way
Publication date: June 21, 2011
Author: Susun S. Weed
Simple, successful, strategies cover the entire range of options -- from mainstream to radical -- to help you choose the best, and the safest, ways to optimize sexual and reproductive health. Foreword: Aviva Romm, MD, midwife, 484 pages, Index, illustrations.
Retails for $29.95
Order at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com

Abundantly Well - Seven Medicines The Complementary Integrated Medical Revolution
Publication date: December 2019
Author: Susun S. Weed
Seven Medicines build foundational health and guide you to the best health care when problems arise. Includes case studies, recipes, exentsive references and resources. Introduction by Patch Adams illustrated by Durga Yael Bernhard 352 pages, index, illustrations
Retails for $24.95
Order at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com




top of page


Wise Woman Herbal Ezine is sponsored by www.susunweed.com and www.wisewomanbookshop.com

Learn about Herbs: study with Susun Weed

©Susun Weed -Wise Woman Center
~ Disclaimer & Privacy Policy ~