Tag Archives: wise woman ways

what i did on my summer vacation

drove to the catskills
drank infusions
ate wild salads
tasted lobelia
was cured by minerva
listened to a celtic harpist
held a day old bunny named thumper
painted women’s bodies
sang beautiful chants badly and didn’t care
danced topless in the woods
was named by a heron
swam naked in duckweed
got bit by a goose
drove home with a great green toenail

getting ready to go…

getting my stuff together for my 4 days with susun weed. i’m very nervous and excited about the whole thing. i’m also upset that i have come down with a full-blown ear infection. the side of my head is numb and the ear hurts and so does my throat. i’m taking echinacea and lemon balm tincture every couple hours and i’m even dropping echinacea in my ear.


i have my flashlight, batteries, toiletries (such as they are), first aid kit stocked with lavender eo, arnica, apis, rhu tox, rescue remedy, bandaids and benadryl. i have a tent (just in case i hate sleeping inside with other people), sleeping bag, pillows and blanket for no matter where i end up sleeping, wildflower field guide, a book to read and a book to draw and write in. i think i’m all set. o! and bug repellent!

went to barnes & noble and got maps of new york state, a special one just for the catskills and a PA one just in case i get lost on this side. brni thinks i should go thru new jersey, but i don’t want to. also went to the chiropractor and had another yoga therapy session for my poor aching back.

i may take my drum.

i hope i don’t get hopelessly lost.

my first salve

as soon as the dandelions burst into golden blooms, i scooped them up, drowned them in olive oil and made a dreamy-scented infusion for a breast and massage oil. Six weeks ago, i picked all the new, vibrant spring growth of lemon balm, packed it in a jar and poured 100 proof vodka over it. a couple weeks later, i went out in the yard and picked a bunch of plantain. i picked only the greenest, healthiest leaves that had not yet made it to an animal or insect’s dinner plate. i chopped them up, put them to simmer in olive oil for 3 hours, and from this lovely, deep green infusion i made a salve using beeswax and a touch of vitamin E.

brni and jesse are getting used to seeing towels with leaves and flowers of weeds wilting on the dinning room table, but they still roll their eyes as comment on the nasty things i’m brewing and turning into stuff that they will later be pressed to try out. these are the same weeds our neighbors struggle to rid their lawns of — pulling and poisoning without a thought to the great (and free!) food and medicine they could be making from them.

last week i gave my plantain salve to my sister. she’s been having a difficult time treating a skin condition on her hands. the steroid creams and antibiotics have been minimally helpful and her healing has been slow. today she told me that this salve made from my lowly lawn weed has helped soothe and heal better than any of the medications she’s tried to date.

so, ha! it works! maybe this herbal path i’ve chosen is truly pointing me in the right direction? maybe it isn’t so far-fetched to use local, common plants to heal? this ain’t just wavy gravy alternative hoo-ha. it is down-to-earth, *from* the earth, and sensible.

my lemon balm tincture will be decanted and bottled tonight. it will be stored in the cupboard, ready for the next bout of family congestion or nervous tension. but i have no illusions…brni and jesse will still roll their eyes when i press a plant remedy on them and grumble about smelly, witchy brews and how they’d rather have real drugs.

here’s the plain old plantain, otherwise known as Plantago major L. or “the bandaid plant.”

dandelions vs. the FDA

Quoted from a poster on the weedforum

Gee…’modern heroic chemical medicine’ finally waking up? I wonder if the next step is that they take over what we do anyway, make access to herbs illegal unless prescribed by the ‘born again’ medical field…

…oyeah, moves are in the works, to be sure.

One of the problems with complimentary/alternative modalities (except wise woman ways) is that they are expensive and until recently none of them were covered by insurance. So, only wealthier people could avail themselves of alternative therapies. Now, the insurance co’s are waking up to this potential gold mine and are beginning to cover practices such as acupuncture, chiropractic, etc. Even massage therapy is covered if a doctor writes a script for it. It’s the old adage…follow the money. On first look, this seems to be a good thing….but wait…there’s more.

Along with this comes licensing, quality control, standardization and regulation. Welcome the FDA (unofficial arm of the pharmaceutical co’s.). If this sort of regulation is enacted, we could well see vitamins, tinctures, and herbs become controlled substances, taking yet more of our health care choices out of our hands and putting them in the hands of big daddy doctor. After all, we can’t be trusted to care for ourselves. We must be protected from ourselves for we are but poor, ignorant children.

Not even our weeds are safe. Aside from outlawing cannabis, peyote, opium poppies, etc., less controversial plants are in danger of regulation. They’ve already outlawed sassafras as a tea/ingredient, and in some areas it’s illegal to grow comfrey in your own back yard. Excuse me? Who’s concern is it but my own if I drink comfrey infusions? Even though pyrrolizidine alkaloids are found in the roots, it is not found throughout the whole plant, which is quite nutritious, and anyway, it’s MY liver.

One of the reasons I am studying the Wise Woman Tradition is because I am appalled by what is going on with the health care industry in this country and the amount of government intrusion in our lives. I don’t want to be told what is good for me. I don’t want to feed my family by industry standards. It’s hard, but we must overcome years of conditioning and realize that we know better than the “experts” what our bodies need to be healthy. We need to snatch back the power to control our nutritional and medicinal choices from the grubby hands of the pharmaceutical companies. We need to stop the insurance companies from practicing medicine without a license and then remind doctors of that oath to do no harm. But most importantly, we need to oust the government and their agents from our kitchens and backyards, and replace our chem-lawns with tasty weeds. It’s time to clear the drugs and vitamins from our medicine cabinets and replace them with homemade tinctures, vinegars and infusions.

In this way, we learn to trust our ancient, collective memory to care for ourselves; to be self-reliant and responsible for our health and wellbeing; to trust the wisdom of the weeds.

…and we may even save a few bucks by picking our own medicines out of our own backyards, always remembering to thank the plants for their giveaway.

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