22 August 2018
Herbs for women, an ancient tradition worldwide
by Rosemary Gladstar
In 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.
I had the good fortune to grow up with a woman who never forgot that tradition. My grandmother Mary was born in Armenia and came to this country during the Turkish invasion of her country. She and my grandfather escaped the death march and the almost complete annihilation of the Armenian people.
She always credited the plants and her belief in God with saving her, and she passed her beliefs on to her children and grandchildren. We were instructed at an early age which plants were good for food and which for illnesses. Her teachings were without fuss, strong and powerful like herself. The lore she taught me in the garden of my childhood has stayed with me throughout my life.
Excerpted with permission from "Herbal Healing for Women"