Herbs for Women workshop with Susun Weed
By Karen Joy
Well, it's a week later so we'll see what I remember!
At the start of class Susun let us know that, since we all were women, "herbs for women" meant herbs for us. SO... we would help direct what was taught by letting her know there at talking stick what we wanted to learn this day.
I always leave the classes FULL of info, but this particular class I feel I learned so much about myself, enoughto make some choices on a few ways to help me. So, maybe I better start this class description there.
I had three main concerns for myself. (1) I think my home is filled with mold and this is affecting me since moving here 2 years ago. I get low throat/upper lung soreness frequently, and had been super tired and achy lately. I am also concerned this is affecting my son and husband who have both had skin rashes. (2) I think I have a uterine fibroid. I have managed my monthly pain, since childbirth lessened it, with motherwort. I had heard about both liferoot and vitex tinctures and wanted to learn the difference between to help me choose which I wanted to work with. I also knew Susun had liferoot growing on her property and hoped to see it to help me recognize it in the wild. (3) I have had more frequent heart palpitations and this year have developed swelling around my ankles. I know of both hawthorn and motherwort as allies for our heart, so wanted to learn the differences, and also about the contraindication I have heard with motherwort and fibroids.
Okay... so (1)I learned mullein leaf infusions to be a superb help for those of us dealing with allergies. Along with milk!! I learned to mix my mullein infusion half and half with the milk and drink this mix daily. Both are supreme lung nourishers. Some things I learned in the past about mullein is to harvest it when it sends up its flower stalk (like comfrey), cut the whole thing down and hang upside down to dry. Also, it has tiny hairs on it that can irritate skin and lungs if much is inhaled, so be careful and wash up after. And strain thoroughly when drinking. Otherwise, it tastes quite mild and pleasant.
(2)Oh yes!! We got to see the liferoot -- what was left. She had already flowered and the stalks had fallen. I think she flowers in May. I also believe she is a perennial native to our area and easy to transplant. We were led down to the swamp and her leaves were described to us, both shape and taste/smell. Then we were left to find them. I mistook the abundant violet leaf for her leaves, before seeing how distinctly rounded her tips are and how dark green her leaves were. The taste/smell was strong of rose!! I can still remember it. I know now I want to work with her. Though oddly I feel it its important for me to find and collect her myself to prepare my own tincture. I want to work that closely with her! Even though Susun said some whom have studied with her and sell herbs have this available prepared, like Red Moon Herbs. Susun had a few stories to share that help me understand the use of this herb. I love how she teaches this way. It is so much easier to remember and listen to when taught as stories rather than factoids. As far as vitex -- a tincture of her I would work with for a couple years probably. I have an attraction to red berries right now (see below) and still feel drawn to start working with her, though I hope to find and harvest some liferoot soon... and transplant and grow her!!! (Anyone here have some growing?)
(3)I FINALLY got hold of my fear of motherwort encouraging the fibroid to grow by helping increase the blood flow to the uterus as Susun asked of my symptoms and asked if there was excessive bleeding. No. Well, then no problem, and if I start to see a large increase in bleeding, then I can stop. No biggee. She also suggested I could take motherwort for the three weeks after my bleeding and stop for the week before. Whew, I finally relaxed. EVEN SO, as I mentioned I have a red berry love right now and have chosen to work with hawthorn berry and flower tincture. (I also LOVE motherwort and enjoy her presence through my bleeding time as a comfort and cramp relaxer.) I take one dropper of hawthorn tincture three times a day and plan to do this for many months. Susun's description of indications for her use was to strengthen a weak heart having trouble beating regularly and for those with swelling around the ankles. Well, this is how I remember her description anyway.
I can not leave a description of this class without mentioning the gazpacho for lunch!! Heavenly! I went home and prepared it right away. Susun was so gracious as to give us all photocopies of the recipe! Lucky us.
Of course, there was much more information learned here, since there were about 10 or so women all with our own questions! This, of course, is what I remember most.
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