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
Susun: Let me tell you a wonderful story that a woman shared with me. And I asked her if I could share it and she said," Well that's why I wrote it out for you, because I really wanted you to share it." It's just such an interesting story.
At the age of 57 this woman had a bone scan at her doctor's office, and her doctor was incredibly alarmed and said, "Oh my goodness! You have osteoporosis. You have to start taking drugs immediately. We really have to deal with this." And she said, "No. I don't want to take any drugs. And I feel just fine and I'm not going to do anything about my osteoporosis."
And needless to say, this caregiver was very distressed and continued to do bone scans. He continued to tell her year after year, "Your bones are really in bad shape. You've got to do something about this." And three years later when she was 60, her daughter graduated from a live-out apprenticeship program with me.
And she said to her, she said "You know I am feeling so tired and I just really need something for energy. Now you've learned all this stuff about herbs. What kind of herbs can I take to give me more energy?"
Well if her daughter had had like a pharmaceutical apprenticeship, then she could have suggested some drugs to give her energy. We know they're both legal and illegal drugs that give you energy. Or if she'd had a heroic herbal training, she might have suggested stimulants like guarana or cayenne or ginger, things like that for energy. But because she was trained in the Wise Woman Tradition, she said to her mother, "Stinging nettle infusion."
Stinging nettle is the life‑force energy of the planet. And when you drink it, you will have more energy than you ever thought possible. And she explained to her mom that she needed to buy dried nettle, put an ounce by weight in a jar, cover that with boiling water and let it steep for at least four hours or overnight.
Strain it out, squeezing the herb ‑ there's that 'messy' we were talking about. Squeeze that herb to get the last of the 'good' out of it and then drink that nettle infusion over the course of a day or a day‑and‑a‑half. Keep it refrigerated ‑ very high protein ‑ and it will 'go off' if it's not refrigerated, especially if it's warm.
So, June's mother started drinking nettle infusion and, within months, she called her daughter and said, "My Gosh! I have more energy than I've had since I was a young woman! It's amazing ‑ I feel so good, not like a burst of energy and then I'm let down; it's like this sustained energy and it's there whenever I call on it."
John: Yeah it's kind of like my sister‑in‑law ‑ she wanted to get pregnant and she couldn't get pregnant ‑ and I told her about the nettle infusion and everything and she basically said, "Oh I don't believe it that kind of stuff." And then I said...And then she said that as she was making soup and I said, "Well, do you believe in soup? Do you believe in broth?"
John: "What are you, getting nourished from that kale." This is the plant that has very high and lots of things.
[Susun murmurs assent]
John: So you're just making an extremely powerful broth...
John: ...when you are making an infusion.
Susun: Right. So she said to June, "I just feel so good drinking this nettle infusion. What other kinds of herbs did you learn about?" And June said, "Well! There's red clover, and that's a really wonderful one. It's everything you could hope soy would be with none of soy's very big down‑side."
She said, "And there's comfrey leaf," which is just... she often teased that comfrey only improves the bones, the tendons, the ligaments, the skin, the digestive system, the respiratory system, and the nervous system, and the brain. Other that that, it has no action.
And so her mother tried some of the other nourishing herbal infusions and she decided that, in her letters to me, what she going to do was, on Monday, she was going to brew a quart of nettle and a quart of red clover.
Susun: And then, over Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, she would drink them. And Thursday night, or Friday, she brewed a quart of nettle and a quart of oatstraw.
Susun: And then over the next three or four days, she drank those two quarts. So, two years later, she was back at her doctor's ‑ she's 62‑years‑old now ‑ and her doctor says to her, "Well, I'm glad to see that you finally started exercising!"
She said, "What do you mean? I haven't started exercising." He said, "Well, you're taking calcium supplements?" She said, "No, I'm not taking any calcium supplements." He said," So you're taking drugs..." She said, "What are you telling me?" He said, "Well, your bone mass is improving!"
Susun: And she said, "Well, I'm not doing any of that." And she said, now I'm writing you now, she said," I'm now 65‑years‑old. I've just come back from the doctor. I've now been drinking four quarts of nourishing herbal infusions a week for five years and my doctor says that I not only don't have osteoporosis, I have the bone mass of a 40‑year‑old woman."
Susun: She says," And I want you to remember that I was drinking these because I wanted the energy. I didn't even know they would have any effect on my bones."
John: Now everyone who bought the herbal medicine‑making kit, remember that you have that pack of nettle in there, and the very first chapter in the Continuation Course using Healing Wise and tells all about this. So if you haven't gotten to that part yet, you can make an herbal infusion with nettle tonight.
Susun: Yes! To have one tomorrow!
John: Exactly. And we're going to be giving the very last kit that we have in stock away tonight ‑ I forgot to mention that, so hold on until the end of the call.
Susun: Oh, that's exciting!
John: That is, isn't it?
Susun: [murmurs agreement]
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Other articles by Robin Rose Bennett
An Herbalists Notebook part 1
An Herbalists Notebook part 2
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I just started reading your book, Healing Wise. Your
humor and approach to life seem so "down-to-earth",
just like your favorite powerful weeds. Thank you for sharing
and nourishing! ~ Diane