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Women's Wellness

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!

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.

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.

13 February 2018

Getting real ~ our roadmap home

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in 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?

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.”

08 October 2017

Sister Love at the Herbal Conference

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

As the Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference has grown, our Unity Village, has become the heart of the conference, which includes a gathering place for women of color as well as opportunities for all women to build bridges of understanding.

por 2013 10 smiling croppedThe conference focuses on women’s health, from a perspective of empowerment and self love, including overcoming internalized oppression for all women. For women of color, day-to-day experiences of systemic racism, micro-aggressions, and internalized oppression add up to health risk factors. Therefore, we consider dynamics of racism an important component of women’s health to address, individually and communally.

To provide a special sacred space for women of color attending the Herbal Conference, the Sister Love Deck within Unity Village was founded in 2010 by Olatakumboh Obasi. At the Sister Love Deck, women of color are welcomed to gather to honor the healing legacy of our black and brown grandmothers and ancestors . . . For many centuries the suppressed earth-based practices of People of Color went underground in order to protect and preserve knowledge for future generations. In honor of our grandmothers, we join to reclaim our ancient wisdom.

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.

17 July 2017

Becoming Health Rebels

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Do It Yourself, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

Corinna Wood interviews Dr. Aviva Romm

In preparation for the annual fall Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference, Corinna Wood interviews Aviva Romm about her work with supporting women in "overcoming overwhelm" and getting out of S.O.S. (Survival Overdrive Syndrome), as well as some of the root causes of trauma and oppression that contribute to these health issues in the first place. Aviva Romm is a midwife, herbalist, and Yale-trained MD, bridging the best of traditional medicine with good science for over three decades.

Corinna: Aviva, what is SOS, and how does it impact women you see in your practice?

Aviva Romm 400x400Aviva: SOS is a term I coined which means Survival Overdrive Syndrome, and it's based on a few things: one, it started because so many of my patients were coming in and saying things like, "Aviva, Dr. Aviva, I feel like I'm constantly in overdrive. I feel like I'm always stuck in survival mode. I feel like I'm going from one thing to the next, and I can't turn off the stress. I'm constantly overwhelmed." I started to pay attention to the words women were using and at the same time started looking at the impact of various contributors to health and imbalance on what symptoms that they were exhibiting, for example brain fog, forgetfulness, poor concentration, weight gain, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, hormonal problems, insulin resistance, anxiety, depression, fertility challenges, mood challenges.

Corinna: You seem to view sleep as a form of medicine. I love that. How has your perspective on that developed, and would you share some of your personal and/or professional experience regarding benefits of sleep for women's health?

Aviva: Sleep actually is medicine, and it's particularly important medicine for SOS because much as we like to think of ourselves as modern human creatures, and much as science likes to tell us that nature is unimportant and science can always win over nature, the reality is that as human beings we are hardwired to be in harmony and relationship with our planet, including the 24-hour cycle of the Earth around the sun. That's called our circadian rhythm. Cortisol is released on what's called a diurnal rhythm, which means it's got two 12-hour cycles. Those 12-hour cycles together make up that circadian rhythm. Cortisol should be high in the morning, decrease throughout the day and be much lower at night to where it reaches its lowest point about midnight or 1:00 AM or so and then it starts to go up again.

30 May 2017

The 9 Elements of a Sexually Empowered Life

Written by Flora, Posted in Self Love, Women's Wellness

From Amy Jo Goddard

Amy Jo Goddard taught Turning Up and Turning On Your On Fire Sexuality at the 2016 Herbal Conference. Here are some of her insightful suggestions for sexual healing and empowerment.

Element 1. VOICE

Excavate & Rewrite Your Sexual Story
You have an internal and external sexual voice. Rewriting your sexual story means looking clearly at your sexual experiences – the painful ones as well as the exciting and pleasurable ones. Examining the beliefs you carry around your sexuality, what it means to be a sexual person and the messages that you may have internalized without realizing it helps you to reorganize your beliefs about sexuality so you can claim your true voice. When you work on this step, you give yourself the gift of releasing the parts of it that no longer serve you or do not embody the sexual person you are becoming.

Element 2. RELEASE

Make Space for the Sexual Self You’ve Been Waiting For
There are many things that get in the way of you having the sexuality you truly want. This element is about making room so your true sexual self can come in. As you identify beliefs about who you need to be, your sexual shame, guilt and trauma, and the many other perspectives that have blocked your own sexual magnificence and expression, you can release what you do not need and move into your ideal sexual self.

10 May 2017

Making Motherwort Tincture

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

Motherwort goddess 450x600Open up a Wise Woman medicine chest and chances are, you will find motherwort tincture.

Easy to grow in a garden, motherwort often finds her way into the paths and new beds. She is is in the mint family—relax, though, she’s not like peppermint. Motherwort spreads by seed, and not by creeping roots.

Like all plants in the mint family, motherwort has square stems, opposite leaves and double lipped flowers. Motherwort's leaves, though, are maple shaped. And unlike most other mints, Motherwort is not aromatic and is quite bitter to the taste—some say it tastes like chocolate!

Botanically Motherwort is known as Leonurus Cardiaca which translates to lion-hearted! She is well known as an ally for the heart and circulatory system.

13 March 2017

Honoring Girls

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

2015.4.3 corinna nettles med cropLike the buds of spring, girls embody vitality, curiosity, strength and resilience. At the same time, our girls are facing serious challenges and traumas in these times. In recent months, women have been calling attention to the concerns for safety and education for women and girls around the world.

Like many mothers, I am deeply concerned about the environment for girls growing up today, starting with the their relationship with food and their own bodies. Media images and messaging suggest there is something wrong with girls’ bodies, or that they have to be a certain way to be accepted. The pressure to fit in or please others teaches girls that it is not safe to be too much, too loud, or too smart.  

Patterns learned during girlhood, often continue into our lives as adult women. In my own journey towards physical health and healing, I am becoming more and more aware of the impact of systemic sexism and emotional trauma on women’s bodies.

The women’s herbal community recognizes that adrenal fatigue is an important issue for women and an underlying source of many common women’s health problems.

I have also come to understand that when trauma happens over a long period of time in an environment where we see no way out, as is often the case for daughters subject to abuse and neglect, it can have lasting impacts on our identity, personality, brain and neurological development, creating false belief systems that undermine our emotional and physical health.

31 January 2017

Racial Justice Work

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

kifukristenKifu Faruq and Kristin Wilson have been offering their invaluable racial justice dialogue and training at the Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference for several years. We are delighted that they are now offering their combined services to the broader community through Solutionary Apothecary.

Solutionary Apothecary offers a number of services for the important work of supporting people in dismantling white supremacy culture, in their lives, work, and communities.

Their four part video series called "Race Talk" provides the building blocks for racial justice education and community work. 

The last video of the series, What To Do In The Next 100 Days, includes a step by step on how to hold space for yourself and friends/family for healing (to grieve, feel, share vulnerabilities), resources to educate and grow together, reflect and then strategize together post-election. There is a video specifically for White folks by Kristin, and another for People of Color by Kifu. Their Race Talk video series is full of great information including more resources.

Kristin also just taught a class on Dismantling White Supremacy in Amy Jo Goddard's virtual series, "Calling In White Women." And she is now preparing a curriculum for White folks to join her in Dismantling White Supremacy.

24 January 2017

How are the women of our tribe responding?

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

2016 snow ballJanuary blessings. We just had our first snow here in North Carolina, a big treat! I've been savoring the sparkling and stunning beauty of Mother Earth blanketed in winter. And getting out for snowball fights, has also been an opportunity to let loose some of the righteous anger that's been up for me these days!

Many of us have been processing a lot internally and with those around us in relation to the recent political turn of events. Racism and misogyny, which have been less apparent to some in recent years, and are now glaring. Perhaps as a result, November exit polls showed a growing feminist majority: voters who now self-identify as feminists have grown to 59% of women, and 33% of men.

Our collective gathering this October was truly a source of deep inspiration and wisdom for all of us, a taste of the world that we want to see. When women gather, in small groups and large, we not only nourish ourselves, but also raise our consciousness and build our capacity as change agents, both personal and planetary.

The focus this year of our October Conference and May Immersion programs is, more than ever, on creating an environment and a knowledge base where all women are valued and celebrated. As we develop our skills and knowledge--and recognize, respect, and validate our unique and varied experiences as women--we overcome both societal and internalized oppression of women and girls. Together, we create empowering and inspiring spaces for women to come home to ourselves.

How are women of our wise woman tribe responding? You're invited to listen to some of our women's conference teachers share in their own words, below. As we continue to weave our web, we draw strength from one another. As Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, "My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times."

Eaglesong Evans GardenerEagleSong Gardener - Gathering with sisters in NC was a well of inspiration and wisdom for me and others with whom I connected. This is the first winter in many moons that I have truly enjoyed the simple natural rhythm of the season. And, this is my theme for the coming year. Simple natural rhythms . . . the ones that lie below the skin, even below the flesh.

The rhythms running through me this winter are rhythms from the very bones of earth, our ancestors and all of those who have walked before us. And, rhythms from the stars . . . the tiny lights above reminding us of vastness, possibility, navigational guides in times of darkness. Rhythms that dance the future alive . . . Now, the path is clearer! Keeping herbal medicine local and accessible in an earth-centered, woman-honoring context/container. Self-care with community support will grow new coalitions we have never before seen.

 

por 2016 SP lucretiaLucretia VanDyke - Last year was a rebirth period for myself. My focus is shifting more to my sacred purpose of helping others reignite their own light. In 2017, I will be working to build holistic wellness programs within communities of people of color. Focusing on conscious eating, skincare, women's herbal health, and holding deep sacred space for self-healing . . .

Each year when I sit in the beautiful women of color space with my sisters, I feel something so sacred, a passion I have long held within my heart to finally have a healthy space to heal in support of people who understand and will hear and hold me up in my story. It brings magic to our soul and creates a vibrational safe-haven for us long after the conference is over. "I know I'm not my sisters keeper, I am my sister!"

05 December 2016

Harvesting your dream wisdom

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

Winter Maiden Tree smallLike many of you, I have been struggling with staying in my body this last moon. With the help of my dreams, I am beginning to integrate the various layers that have come up for me.

I'm still in process with separating the threads, recognizing that I've been feeling traumatized by the recent events—and re-traumatized around past experiences, especially sexual trauma. I know other women have similar feelings. And I imagine this is compounded for people of color and other groups across the nation and the world.

And here we are at the turn of the wheel. At this time between Halloween and Winter Solstice, we are entering the shortest days and longest nights of the year, a time when our bodies are called to sleep and rest. Even the moon is dark now.

As the veils thin at this time of year, we have increased access to other realms, including dream worlds . . . our intuition . . . our inner guidance.

Dreams are by nature ephemeral; they tend to melt away with morning light. In order to fully engage them and receive their gifts, a bit of discipline is necessary. I have found it well worth the effort. Through remembering our dreams—cultivating them and exercising the muscles of recollection—we are able to link our subconscious and conscious minds. In doing this, we strengthen the connection and dialogue between the two and even have greater access to our intuition during our waking hours.

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