Wise Woman Ezine with herbalist Susun Weed
October 2008
Volume 8 Number 10

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


Anti-Cancer Lifestyle ...
Nourishing and
Tonifying Herbs

Mineral-Rich Medicinal Vinegars

by Susun S Weed

Nourishing and Tonifying Herbs

Mineral-Rich Medicinal Vinegars

by Susun S Weed

 audio 2 CD Set



 Herbal vinegars are an unstoppable combination: they marry the healing properties of apple cider vinegar with the nutritional genius of plants—the mineral and antioxidant- rich, health-protective green herbs and wild roots.the Art of Sarah Solie  Herbal vinegars are tasty medicine, enriching and enlivening our food, while building health from the inside out.

Vinegar is unique in its ability to draw minerals out of plants. The addition of vinegar to cooked greens magnifies the minerals available to our bodies. And the addition of mineral-rich medicinal vinegar to our diet magnifies health by making high-quality minerals available.



Vinegars Seek Minerals

Minerals are important for the health and proper functioning of our bones, our heart and blood vessels, our nerves, our brain (especially memory), our immune system, and our hormonal glands. No wonder lack of minerals can lead to chronic problems and getting more can make a big different in health in a few weeks. One of the best ways to get more minerals—besides drinking nourishing herbal infusions and eating well-cooked leafy greens—is to use herbal vinegars.



Vinegar and Your Bones

It is not true that ingesting vinegar will erode your bones. Adding vinegar to your food actually helps build bones because it frees up minerals from the vegetables you eat and increases the ability of the stomach to digest minerals. Adding a splash of vinegar to cooked greens is a classic trick of old ladies who want to be spry and flexible when they're ancient old ladies.  (Maybe your granny already taught you this?)  In fact, a spoonful of vinegar on your broccoli or kale or dandelion greens increases the calcium you get by one-third. All by itself, apple cider vinegar is said to help build bones; when enriched with minerals from herbs, I think of it as better than calcium pills.



Vinegar and Candida

Some people worry that eating vinegar will upset the balance of gut flora and contribute to an overgrowth of candida yeast in the intestines. Some people have been told to avoid vinegar altogether. My experience has led me to believe that herbal vinegars help heal those with candida overgrowth, perhaps because they're so mineral rich. I've worked with women who have suffered for years and kept to a strict "anti-candida" diet with little improvement and seen them get better fast when they add nourishing herbal vinegars (and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso, and yogurt) to their diets.



Making Herbal Vinegars

Fill any size jar with freshly-harvested and coarsely-chopped aromatic herbs: leaves, stalks, flowers, fruits, roots, or even nuts. For best results and highest mineral content, be sure the jar is well filled and the herb well-chopped.

 Pour room-temperature vinegar into the jar until it is full.  Cover jar: A plastic screw-on lid, several layers of plastic or wax paper held on with a rubber band, or a cork are the best covers.  Avoid metal lids—or protect them well with plastic—as vinegar will corrode them.

Label the jar with the name of the herb and the date. Put it someplace away from direct sunlight, though it doesn't have to be in the dark, and someplace that isn't too hot, but not too cold either. A kitchen cupboard is fine, but choose one that you open a lot so you remember to use your vinegar, which will be ready in six weeks. You can decant your vinegar into a beautiful serving container, or use it right from the jar you made it in.



Which Vinegar?

I use regular pasteurized apple cider vinegar from the supermarket as the menstrum for my herbal vinegars. I avoid white vinegar. Malt vinegar, rice vinegar, and wine vinegar can be used but they are more expensive and may overpower the flavor of the herbs.

Apple cider vinegar has been used as a health-giving agent for centuries.  Hippocrates, father of medicine, is said to have used only two remedies: honey and apple cider vinegar. Some of the many benefits of apple cider vinegar include: better digestion, reduction of cholesterol, improvements in blood pressure, prevention/care of osteoporosis, normalization of thyroid/metabolic functioning, possible reduction of cancer risk, and lessening of wrinkles and grey hair.



Notes for Herbal Vinegar Makers

  • Collect jars of different sizes for your vinegars.  I especially like baby food jars, mustard jars, olive jars, peanut butter jars and individual juice jars. Look for plastic lids.

  • The wider the mouth of the jar, the easier it will be to remove the plant material when you're done.

  • Always fill jar to the top with plant material and vinegar; never fill a jar only part way.

  • Really fill the jar. This will take far more herb or root than you would think. How much?  With leaves and stems, make a comfortable mattress for a fairy: not too tight; and not too loose. With roots, fill your jar to within a thumb's width of the top.
  • After decanting your vinegar into a beautiful jar, add a spring of whole herb. Pretty.                    


My Favorite Herbal Vinegar

Pick the needles of white pine (or pinon pine) on a sunny day. Make herbal vinegar with them. Inhale deeply the scent of the forest. I call this "homemade balsamic" vinegar.



Using Your Vinegars

Herbal vinegars taste so good; you'll want to use them frequently. Regular use boosts the nutrient level of your diet with very little effort and virtually no expense.


* Pour a spoonful or more on beans and grains as a condiment.

* Use them in salad dressings.           

* Add them to cooked greens

* Season stir-frys with them.            

* Look for soups that are vinegar friendly, like borscht.         

* Substitute herbal vinegar for plain vinegar in any recipe.           

* Put a big spoonful in a glass of water and drink it. Try it sweetened with blackstrap molasses for a real mineral jolt. Many older women swear this "coffee substitute" prevents and eases their arthritic pains.  

* Herbal vinegars in the diet have a reputation for banishing grey hair and wrinkles.

* Spray sage or lavender vinegar in the armpits as a highly-effective deodorant.

* Use rosemary or lavender vinegar as a hair rinse to add luster and eliminate split ends.

* Anything vinegar can do, including clean the kitchen, herbal vinegars can do better.



Weedy Herbal Calcium Supplement

Use one or more of the following plants to make herbal vinegar that can reverse and counter osteoporosis. Dose is 2-4 tablespoons daily.

Amaranth (Amaranthus retroflexus) leaves   
Cabbage leaves   
Chickweed (Stellaria media) whole herb    
Comfrey (Symphytum officinalis) leaves    
Cronewort/Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) young leaves  
Dandelion (Taraxacum off.) leaves and root    
Kale leaves   
Lambsquarter (Chenopodium album) leaves      
Mallow (Malva neglecta) leaves  
Mint leaves of all sorts, especially sage, motherwort, lemon balm, lavender, peppermint
Nettle (Urtica dioica) leaves
Parsley (Petroselinum sativum) leaves
Plantain (Plantago majus) leaves
Raspberry (Rubus species) leaves
Red clover (Trifolium pratense) blossoms
Violet (Viola odorata) leaves
Yellow dock (Rumex crispus) roots





the Art of Sarah SoliePlants That Make Exceptionally Good-Tasting Herbal Vinegars

Apple mint (Mentha sp.) leaves, stalks

Bee balm (Monarda didyma) flowers, leaves, stalks

Bergamot (Monarda sp.) flowers, leaves, stalks

Burdock (Arctium lappa) roots

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) leaves, stalks

Chicory (Cichorium intybus) leaves, roots

Chives and especially chive blossoms

Dandelion (Taraxacum off.) flower buds, leaves, roots

Dill (Anethum graveolens) herb, seeds

Elder (Sambucus canadensis) berries

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) herb, seeds

Garlic (Allium sativum) bulbs, greens, flowers

Garlic mustard (Alliaria officinalis) leaves and roots

Goldenrod (Solidago sp.) flowers

Ginger (Zingiber off.) and Wild ginger (Asarum canadensis) roots

Lavender (Lavendula sp.) flowers, leaves

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) new growth leaves and roots

Orange mint (Mentha sp.) leaves, stalks

Orange peel, organic only

Peppermint (Mentha piperata and etc.) leaves, stalks

Perilla (Shiso) (Agastache) leaves, stalks

Rosemary (Rosmarinus off.) leaves, stalks

Spearmint (Mentha spicata) leaves, stalks

Thyme (Thymus sp.) leaves, stalks

White pine (Pinus strobus) needles

Yarrow (Achilllea millifolium) flowers and leaves



Herbal Vinegars Where You Eat the Pickled Plants, too

Burdock (Arctium lappa) roots

Chicory (Cichorium intybus) leaves, roots

Dandelion (Taraxacum off.) flower buds, leaves, roots

Garlic bulbs

Leek tops

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) leaves and stalks

Yellow Dock  (Rumex crispus) roots

Rosehips (Rosa rugosa)




For Curious Minds

Experiment Number One     Test vinegar's ability to absorb minerals.

Put a fresh bone in a jar and completely cover it with vinegar. What happens? Does the bone become pliable and rubbery? How long does it take? Will eating vinegar dissolve your bones? Only if you take off your skin and sit in it for weeks!


Experiment Number Two     Make egg shell vinegar.

Fill a jar one-quarter full of vinegar. Drop crushed egg shell into it. What happens? Does the vinegar foam? How long does it take? Egg shells are exceptionally rich in bone-building minerals. Can you taste the calcium in this vinegar?


Experiment Number Three    Explore medicinal vinegars.

Make four or more vinegars with the same plant, using different types of vinegar, including both pasteurized and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. (For the others, use rice vinegar, malt vinegar, wine vinegar, or even white vinegar, but not umeboshi vinegar.)

Taste your vinegars daily for a week, then weekly for five more weeks. You may, if you wish, decant some of your vinegars for use after six weeks. But you may also wish to keep observing them as they age (for years, if you wish). I have some vinegars which are more than thirty years old and still in good shape. Note which stay edible the longest, and what happens to those that become inedible.


Experiment Number Four   Explore medicinal vinegars.

Buy a quart or more of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. Use two cups to make several small herbal vinegars: one with roots, one with leaves, and one with flowers. Boil the other two cups. Make one herbal vinegar with the boiling hot vinegar. Make another with the boiled vinegar after it has cooled. Continue as in experiment number three.



Chart 2: Minerals in Herbs Used As Medicinal Vinegars

             per 100 grams dry weight

  • Peppermint: calcium (1620 mg), manganese (6.1), magnesium (661 mg), phosphorus (772 mg), potassium (2260 mg), and selenium (1.1 mg)

  • Garden thyme: calcium (1350 mg), chromium (2.0 mg), iron (147 mg), magnesium (436 mg), manganese (6.4 mg), selenium (1.6 mg), silicon (20.2 mg), and zinc (1.5 mg)

  • Yellow dock root: calcium (1000 mg), magnesium (320 mg), phosphorus (757), potassium (1220 mg), selenium (2.5), and silicon (1.3 mg)

  • Garden sage: calcium (1080 mg), chromium (0.3 mg), magnesium (285 mg), manganese (3.0), potassium (2470 mg), silicon (3.1 mg), and zinc (5.9 mg)

  • Burdock root: calcium (733 mg), chromium (2.0 mg), iron (147 mg), magnesium (537 mg), manganese (537), phosphorus (437 mg), potassium (1680 mg), selenium (1.4 mg), silicon (22.5 mg), and zinc (2.2 mg)

  • Dandelion root: calcium (614 mg), chromium (0.9 mg), iron (96 mg), magnesium (157 mg), manganese (6.8), phosphorus ( 362), potassium (1200 mg), selenium (0.86 mg), silicon (4.7 mg), and zinc (1.3 mg)



Chart 3: Minerals in Herbs Used Mainly As Vegetables


  • Kelp: calcium (3040 mg), magnesium (867 mg), manganese (7.6 mg), phosphorus (249 mg),     potassium (2110 mg), selenium (1.7 mg), silica (7.6 mg), and zinc (0.6 mg)

  • Amaranth greens: calcium (1210 mg), phosphorus (324 mg), and potassium (1864 mg)

  • Dulse: calcium (632 mg), chromium (2.7 mg), magnesium (593 mg), potassium (2270 mg), selenium (3.3 mg), silicon (36.8 mg), and zinc (3.9 mg)



2007 © Susun S Weed 


Nourishing Infusions, Medicinal Vinegars - 2 CD set

Elements of Herbalism: Harvesting - 2 CD set
Susun Weed.
Green Nations Gathering 2000.

Nothing improves health faster and more firmly than regular use of nourishing herbal infusions and medicinal vinegars.

Includes information on stinging nettle, oatstraw, comfrey leaf, red clover, linden, and aromatic mints.

$22.50 plus shipping - Order click here


The Wise Woman Herbal Series

The Wise Woman Herbal Collection
Get all four of Susun S. Weed's best-selling herbal medicine books together and save $12. The total value of this offer is $76 plus shipping,
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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
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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.
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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
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Greetings from Juneau, Alaska... Susun.

I experienced one of your beginning Herbal week long intensives in June of 1991. One of the wisest choices I ever made!

Many Thanks for your Time...
Peace Be With You, Goddess of the Green,




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