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Corinna's Corner

05 June 2019

Making Herbal Vinegars

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

bowl of red cloverThis is the time of year I love to stock up my kitchen cabinet with herbal vinegars. Not only are they tasty, they are also rich with minerals. Homemade wild herb vinegars are delicious in salad dressing, on cooked greens, in marinades, or in sauces.

My most recent harvest for herbal vinegar making, is a big beautiful bowl of red clover blossoms, volunteering in great abundance in my garden paths . . .

27 March 2019

Favorite Wild and Weedy Spring Greens

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

The fruit trees are blooming, the sun is rising earlier each day, and it's time to start clearing a space for this year's garden. I'm always delighted to see that the edible weeds are already up, ready to harvest for the salad bowl!

violet and ground ivyLike mine, your yard may blossom purple in March, with some combination of two common wild weedy edibles: violet and ground ivy. I love making salad with the violet leaves and flowers, adding small bits of leaves from the aromatic ground ivy, daughter of the mint family.

I also pick dandelion leaves for my stir fries and wild salads, breaking up the young leaves to distribute their strong flavor. Keep an eye out for the dandelion flowers which are just beginning to bloom, to top off dishes with her sweet flower heads.

05 March 2019

Tarana started MeToo~ a movement not a moment

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Self Love, Sisterhood

Tarana Burke, founder of the Me Too Movement, is a personal folk hero of mine—or "shero," as I prefer to say. I was thrilled to hear that she was speaking nearby in Asheville, NC  for an Our VOICE benefit for survivors.

Tarana Burke's movement, which was founded more than 10 years ago, has inspired survivors of sexual violence from all over the world to find pathways to healing—including myself.

TaranaBurkeTedXTalk

01 February 2019

Journey to Moon-opause

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Self Love, Women's Wellness

13 Moons of Menopause

For years I have looked forward to and celebrated the sacredness of my bleeding. In my mid-40’s, as my moontimes started becoming further apart, I occasionally missed one all together . . . and they became even more precious to me, knowing that any one could be my last.

Throughout last year, I watched the calendar, waiting for another moontime to return—once the 13th moon passed, I would no longer expect them to return. Indeed, as of early this month, I find myself standing at that 13th moon crossroads, my next step on the journey I fondly call “moon-opause,” as my mooncycles have paused.

For me, it started subtly; I didn’t even recognize it. Looking back, I can now see the signs. Internally I felt a calling to tend old wounds, to shift out of difficult patterns, to break the rules.

22 October 2018

We loved Kanuga Lake!~

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods, Self Love, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

Herbal Conference 2018

land 2018 KS lake tents loresI'm savoring the herbal conference weekend with the web of women gathering, connecting, and celebrating. Seeing over a thousand women moving about the land, I fell in love with Kanuga even more! As the women arrived on Friday, the sight of the land coming to life with their colorful tents popping up in the grassy field and along the lovely lake shores, brought tears to my eyes.

Women gathered in nooks everywhere, from cottage porches to laying down to soak in the sun on the grass beside the glorious lake. Maple Tree Center was truly the center of the community--some women browsing the teacher resources and scholarship raffle, while others played the piano in the center of the room!

29 September 2018

Rage is a natural and healthy response, sisters

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Self Love, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

Women respond to rape culture


Rape Culture v4This is a hard time, sisters. How are you feeling? Are you grieving, or remembering/reliving old traumas? Feeling confused, or enraged?  

These responses are all healthy and natural. We are standing with and among the survivors. 

Like all of the staff, I am working long days preparing for the conference. In the background, I have been tracking the stories of women in the wake of the senate judiciary committee hearings and the testimony of Christine Basley Ford.  I see rape culture everywhere.

For at least a week,  I have been feeling a low level of rage stirring in my body. At times it intensifies and I pause to allow the emotions to surge through me. A furious bike ride Tuesday morning. Home alone for 15 minutes on Thursday evening, I yell, hitting the bed, and collapse into sobs. Why am I so enraged?

I draw from my needs-based language training, remembering that my feelingsin this case anger and griefpoint me to underlying needs. I ask myself, what needs are not met, by this current display of rape culture? Many needs are not met. Respect. Safety. Valuing. Integrity. Honesty. A shared sense of reality. These are all basic human needs.

09 August 2018

Delicious nutritious coconut oil fudge

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

2018.7 cutting fudge 2 600x450As you may know, nourishment is one of the main tenets of the Wise Woman Tradition, right up there with local plants and self-love.

Unlike the "heroic tradition" which focuses on denial and cleansing (therefore inherently viewing our bodies as dirty), we prefer to nourish our bodies to health and wholeness. For example, rather than doing a liver fast/cleanse, we use herbs like dandelion to support our liver. Because when the liver receives optimum nourishment, it is able to effectively perform its function of filtering the blood!

When I arrived at Susun Weed's home as a young apprentice, I had been very much caught up in the heroic tradition. I fasted regularly and ate a very low-fat vegetarian/vegan diet, unwittingly contributing to nutritional deficiencies that had already begun to manifest in a variety of health issues in my early twenties. Susun helped me recognize that I had been denying myself some of the basic nutrients my body needed—most importantly, the healthy fats.

Around the same time, I discovered Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and the work of the Price Foundation identifying common elements of traditional diets worldwide.

It turns out that across the globe, traditional people received 30-80% of their calories from fats, almost all as saturated fats! This was shocking for me to learn since both mainstream and alternative nutritionists were touting low fat / no fat diets as well as polyunsaturated vegetable oils like canola.

Nowadays, I am relieved to see that more and more people are getting turned on to the healthy fats—including organic butter, olive oil, and coconut oil—as a central food group. And we still have a lot of questions pop up!

03 July 2018

Anise hyssop ~ a family favorite

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

2016.8 annise hyssop planter lo resI wish I could insert a “scratch and sniff” here . . one fragrant whiff, and you would swoon! Outside the Southeast Wise Women offices, the purple double-lipped flowers of anise hyssop are blooming this June. She belongs in the mint family, with the characteristic square stem with opposite leaves. I love to pick a leaf for visitors to taste and wait for their exclamation of surprise that an herb can be so delicious! As the name suggests, her leaves are aromatic, with the sweet flavor of anise.

15 May 2018

Spring woodland wildflowers

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

at Joyce Kilmer

trillium squareWhat a treat to visit the Joyce Kilmer old growth forest near the Smoky Mountain National Park recently . . . Seeing the spring wildflowers in bloom among trees hundreds of years old was like stepping into a fairy land!

Walking along the forest paths, we saw trillium emerging, with her signature triple leaf and flower pattern. Also known as “birth root,” trillium has long been valued by indigenous women. An endangered woodland wildflower, she is one that I only admire, rather than harvest . . .

chickweed squareAnd I loved seeing star chickweed, Stellaria pubera. She is the larger cousin to the common garden chickweed we often eat in salads at home. Star chickweed’s flower is more defined, embodying her name, Stellaria: star flower. 

Like her common cousin, she is edible and delicious. While hiking in the forest, I occasionally nibble a bit as a trailside snack.

06 March 2018

Exciting Conference News

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Women's Wellness

I am delighted that an amazing opportunity has opened up for our gathering . . . we have been busy this winter working behind the scenes on a major shift for the conference.  And we are eager to share the big news with you . . . 

The Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference has a new home!

2013 SummerScenic Lake1 Edited WEB 600x430

In seeking a site that could better meet our growing needs, we knew that it had to be a very special and sacred place for our wild and wonderful web of women . . . a location steeped in natural beauty and honoring of the land. Truly, it is a tall order for a venue that can welcome our group of a thousand women of the "Wonder Woman Island of Happy Herbalists" (so named by Lucretia VanDyke last year)!

We found that place when we explored Kanuga Conference & Retreat Center—flanked by two youth camps at the pristine 30-acre Kanuga Lake—right here in our mountains near Asheville. 

Amid mountain vistas, crisp streams and towering pines, Kanuga is nestled on 1,400 peaceful acres of biodiverse woodlands. Appreciating our focus on ecological stewardship and empowerment for a diverse group of women and girls, Kanuga is eager to collaborate with our women’s herbal event.

13 February 2018

Getting real ~ our roadmap home

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Self Love, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

This winter, like many of you, I’ve been moved to tears at the growing movement of women speaking out in outrage around sexual abuse, no longer willing to tolerate in silence.

As a survivor myself of childhood sexual abuse by a grown man, my young girl inside cheers every time I hear these stories of women rising up collectively to speak our truth in these courageous ways. Me too!

I am ever aware of the countless girls today who continue to face all-too-common sexual traumas and abuses. My heart longs that they may glimpse a glimmer of hope and shared sense of reality when they hear these women’s voices of truth and sanity.  

Hearing about the intense emotions that seem to be coursing through our nation of women, I am relieved that we are getting real. Some say that we are “too emotional.” Seriously?

04 September 2017

Standing strong with mullein

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Sisterhood

mullein mountainDriving in the mountains to the Blue Ridge Parkway the other day, my heart jumped at the sight of stand of mullein flowering out of a rocky cliff.

I thought of all you women and of the strength of community when we gather . . . In these times when the problems of patriarchy fill the newscasts, we continue to stand strong as a community of powerful, intelligent women, thriving individually and collectively.

Have you seen mullein, along the fence line or on the roadsides? This is the time we notice her, while in bloom, with her tall yellow flowering stalks. We find her everywhere, from abandoned lots to mountaintops.

07 August 2017

Evergreen Medicine in Summer

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

hemlock 450x600At the height of summer, it seems the whole world is lush and verdant. This is a good time to think about evergreens. Yes, evergreens. We tend to pay attention to them only during the winter, as we decorate our homes for the holidays. But evergreens are year-round allies; they are edible and can be used for medicine.

It may sound odd that you can eat your Christmas tree, but you actually can. The idea of eating evergreens may also sound odd because the hemlock tree is an evergreen, and most of us have heard of “poison hemlock”. This is one of those instances where the common name is misleading; the two are completely unrelated botanically.

28 April 2017

Rich Russian Nettle Tonic

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

nettle tonic on squash 500xI first fell in love with nettles after discovering a lush patch near my house when I was in college studying plants and eating wild greens.

During that time, I cooked nettles in as many ways as I could imagine. One year before apprenticing with Susun Weed, I read her book, Healing Wise, and found my all-time favorite nettle recipe, Rich Russian Nettle Tonic. These days I have a constant supply since it is the peak time of year to harvest nettles.

Is nettles one of your favorites too? Have you felt her sting when reaching for her? If you have nettles near you, it takes just a few minutes (feel free to get your gloves!) to snip a basket of nettle tops. Bring them into the kitchen and then cook down—which removes the sting—for this delicious, nutritious dish . . .

22 March 2017

Spring equinox greens

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

Dandelion & nettles are popping up

Are you feeling the stirring of springtime? Sensing the plants calling you? We are now at equinox!

nettle dandy low resIt’s been a challenging winter--recently we've seen nature’s elements freezing back tender plant shoots (or burying them in snow, depending on where you live). The herbs and flowers are looking a bit ruffled, with dead leaves around their shoulders as they are emerging from the underground time of year.

And we may feel the same way, gazing around in wonder at the world beginning to blossom around us. We may also be surprised by our own strength and resilience--like the plants, finding the stamina to survive through challenging times.

Dandelion and nettles are two favorite early spring greens for wise woman herbalists to bring into the kitchen.

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