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Herbal Medicine

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!

14 October 2018

Healing the Wise Woman Way  

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

Robin Rose Bennett shared the tenets of the Wise Woman Tradition in her class at the 2017 Herbal Conference. Here's a little of the wisdom she had to offer.

act 2017 JK solo singing lo resThe  Wise Woman tradition is the oldest, continuous healing tradition on the planet. It has existed in many lands and cultures under different names, as an oral tradition over countless years, and it is still practiced using story and other Wise Woman/shamanic/witchy/magical practices such as simple rituals, along with specific, practical healing skills that the individual practitioner brings to  her healing work. This way of healing is intimately connected with the land on which the wise woman and her clients live, where she gathers and grows her herbal medicines.

The Wise Woman way provides  a framework within  which healing is understood to be more than simply physical. A Wise Woman healer can and often does focus on helping to relieve uncomfortable or painful symptoms, or on helping a person heal themselves from an underlying disease, yet healing is always understood to be holistic, including mind, body, heart and soul.

27 September 2018

Dandelion for women's health

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Women's Wellness

05 01 052 RsmGladstarThis article excerpted from the materia medica of Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Healing for Women, who we're delighted to be welcoming back to the Herbal Conference again this year!

Dandelion
Taraxacum officinale
Compositae
Parts used: root, leaf, and flowers

Though not generally considered an herb specifically for women’s problems, dandelion is high in plant estrogens and is utilized in many formulas for women. It is one of the outstanding healing herbs, and like comfrey, has been lauded through the centuries by every great herbalist.

The root is considered the herb par excellence for the liver and is used for all liver disorders, digestive upsets, and gallbladder problems. As a specific herb for the liver, it also benefits the female reproductive system by helping to regulate and normalize hormone production.

19 September 2018

Lovely lavender

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Women's Wellness

This article excerpted from the materia medica of Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Healing for Women, who we're delighted to be welcoming back to the Herbal Conference again this year!

lavender 600x400Lavender
Lavendula officinalis and related species
Labitatae
Parts used: flowers and leaves

Lavender is one of my favorite herbs for nerve stress and tension. It has a special affinity with women’s spirit. Often thought of as a delicate ornamental, lavender is not only beautiful and aromatic, but pungent and powerful. Native to the Mediterranean, where it grows wild on sun-drenched hills, it has traveled far and wide and has taken up residence in gardens everywhere. With its lovely, lavender blue flowers and fragrant pungent odor, it as entwined itself into the hearts of women everywhere and is a very useful herb if we open to its strengthening and empowering qualities.

Lavender has long been valued for its ability to bring courage and strength to the user. Traditionally, sprigs of lavender were tied in bundles and placed in the hands of women in labor. Squeezing the fragrant bundles was believed to give them added strength and courage during childbirth. Lavender has long been used to calm nervous stress and is especially useful during menopause and menstrual difficulties. During the Middle Ages it was a valued remedy for hysteria. I’ve found it can be very healing to women undergoing their periods of intense stress to place sprigs of lavender and lavender oil in the rooms of their home. Its essence brings calmness and inner strength to the user.

22 August 2018

Herbs for women, an ancient tradition worldwide

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Women's Wellness

by Rosemary Gladstar

pepperming harvest 600x450In every culture throughout the world you will find a great body of folklore concerning the indigenous plants of that region and the wise women who used them. For thousands of years women collected plants from meadows and woodlands and used them to create healing medicines. They gathered herbs by the waning and the waxing moon, artfully created preparations, and developed herbal formulas.

Through an intuitive communication with the plants, women learned the healing powers of these green allies. Their wisdom developed over countless years as remedies were tried, proven, and passed on. The best of these remedies were added to the lore, and the wisdom was transferred from mother to daughter, from wise woman to apprentice for countless generations.

This is the legacy we have inherited. Healers, wise women, simplers—these women were the center and source of medicine and healing for their communities. They understood the cycles of the seasons, the ebb and flow of the universe, the sun, the moon, the stars, and the natural rhythms of their bodies.

18 July 2018

Herbal uses of raspberry leaf

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Women's Wellness

This article excerpted from the materia medica of Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Healing for Women, who we're delighted to be welcoming back to the Herbal Conference again this year!

raspberries 400x600Raspberry Leaf
Rubus idaeus, R. strigosus
Rosaceae
Parts used: primarily the leaf, but often the whole plant for medicinal purposes

For centuries raspberry leaf was recognized as a powerful uterine tonic by indigenous people throughout the world, but the herb’s uses as an aid in childbirth were largely ignored in the West until the 1940s. At that time, several reports were published in prestigious medical journals extolling raspberry leaf’s extraordinary effects on the uterus and pelvic region, and the herb quickly became famous in the United States and Europe. Such scientific studies and the traditional uses of raspberry leaf both confirm its role as an exceptional aid in pregnancy and childbirth.

The presence of fragarine, an alkaloid found in rich concentrations in the leaf, contributes to the plant’s potency as a pregnancy tonic. Fragarine, in combination with several other of the plant’s constituents, serves to tone and relax the pelvic and uterine muscles. It is a rich source of many vitamins and minerals and is particularly high in calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins B, C, and E.

In the early days of my herb shop, if anyone walked in to purchase raspberry leaf, they were either pregnant or buying the herb for someone who was. This wonderful tonic herbs was largely ignored by everyone else. Fortunately, things have changed. Raspberry leaf is now recognized not only for its value during pregnancy, but also as a woman’s herb in general. (It’s also a great herb for men.) Its astringent properties make it a good remedy for excessive menstruation. The high concentration of vitamins and minerals, especially calcium and iron, make raspberry a wonderful nutritive tonic for use during all the cycles of womanhood.

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.

18 April 2018

Conference registration is now open

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

Welcome, wonderful women ~

rosemary new 1We invite you to join us this fall as we gather once again in sisterhood—celebrating plants, the Earth, and one another. 

For this year's 14th annual conference, we have another powerful group of presenters who will be sharing their gifts with us.

We are thrilled to have internationally acclaimed herbalist, author, and teacher Rosemary Gladstar returning, of the Northeast Women's Herbal Conference—our foremother herbal event.

And we are delighted to welcome for the first time Ubaka Hill, performer, artist, inspirational speaker, drummer, and master drum teacher for over 30 years.

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.

07 December 2017

Gathering roots ~ giving death

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

By Judith Berger, excerpted from Herbal Rituals

When one gathers roots one is giving death. And so one must become the crone, carefully considering the effect of the act upon the environment.

One must uproot flippancy, hurry, or casualness from the ground of one’s own mind before taking trowel or spade in hand. Then one must, with certainty and clarity, be able to see as the crone sees, how this death will create the space for new life.

One must press one’s ears to the ground of mystery, listening for the voice of the plant which calls the root digger toward it to gather its flesh. Medicines made with such attentiveness often initiate healing in both the body and spirit.

30 October 2017

Herbal Conference Reflections

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

act 2017 JK dancingWomen of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life gathered this October, to learn, teach, and grow together . . . 

We gather each fall to nurture ourselves with a shared sense of reality, to remember our own strength, beauty, and power, and to lift one another up.

At the doors to Opening Ceremony, those entering each infused a pinch of wool with her hopes for women and the Earth. As the ceremony and the weekend progressed, spinners among us actually spun that wool into yarn, and then wove it into a powerful creation (below) for the closing circle. 

gina corinna weaving 600x450

At home and during the weekend, we all are experiencing, practicing, and carrying on the Wise Woman Tradition. This work is not always easy. We must begin by getting un-confused, seeing and naming clearly what we know, who we are, what we see, and how we heal. And we continue the work of untangling ourselves from the web of messaging that is internalized day after day--messages of sexism, racism, ageism, heterosexism, all the -isms.

As Director Corinna Wood shared, “We are here this weekend as strong women, standing on the shoulders of generations of brilliant women, surrounding our circle! If it were not for the devotion of the women of my mother’s generation, to civil rights and to feminism, we would not be here like this today.”

13 September 2017

Hawthorn Recipes & Remedies - Part 2

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

EagleSong Evans Gardner, community herbalist, taught Hawthorn Remedies and Recipes at the 2016 Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference. Here is some of her wisdom about the plant and it's uses.

hawthorn berriesRead Part 1 for a brief overview of the properties of hawthorn as well as some delicious water-based preparations.

Fresh Hawthorn Tincture

Fill any size jar (start small) with fresh or frozen mashed hawthorn berries or whole leaves and
flowers. Add 100 proof vodka to cover, cap tightly, shake daily for 1 week, continue to macerate
for several more weeks shaking weekly. Finally, strain and bottle for future use as a tonic.

Dried Hawthorn Berry Tincture

Fill any size jar half full with dried haws. Fill jar with 100 proof vodka. Cap tightly. Shake daily
for one week. Let macerate for several weeks shaking weekly. Strain when ready. Use as a tonic.

Hawthorn Vinegar

Follow tincture directions using apple cider vinegar instead of vodka. Different menstruums used
for extraction add more options, expanding the basic staples in your culinary herbal repertoire for tending health!

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.

28 August 2017

Women's Professional Training Course with Dr. Aviva Romm

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Women's Wellness

As you may know, we are very proud to bring Dr. Aviva Romm to the herbal conference this year.  Throughout our mothering years, our staff have personally relied on Aviva’s work, including classics such as The Natural Pregnancy Book and Naturally Healthy Babies & Children. She is also the author of one of the leading natural medicine textbooks for women, Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health.

Aviva ad for newsletter smallAfter over two decades as a herbalist and home birth midwife, Aviva was called to go to Yale medical school to build upon that Wise Woman foundation.  Now, after years in medical practice, she is equipped to change the way women’s health is being approached in modern medicine. 

If you are a practitioner of women’s health, you may be interested in a new extensive professional training that Aviva is offering.  She has created an in-depth program for health professionals that synthesizes traditional women’s healing wisdom with the best of what conventional medicine has to offer.  This professional training presents her wealth of knowledge and experience to us as health practitioners who want to also help women take back their health - wisely, effectively, safely - and transformationally.

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