black & white illustrations are by Durga Bernhard from Susun Weed's Healing Wise the second Wise Woman Herbal
Susun Weed Herbal Medicine Help

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  black & white illustrations are by Durga Bernhard from Susun Weed's Healing Wise the second Wise Woman Herbal
Bone health - Cook your food for optimum nourishiment

Ms. Weed,

What's your opinion of BarleyGreen and eating all raw food? I have been making my infusions -switching between nettle, oatstraw and red clover. I bought comfrey leaf but have not gotten up enough nerve to try that one yet because of the controversy over it's safety. I've been drinking them most every day for a couple of weeks now. I really enjoy them.

I'm trusting that with my infusions, better eating habits and exercise I will be able to keep my bones as healthy as possible (without taking the Estrace).

Thank you, Linda

                     Susun's Response: Nourish yourself with cooked foods!

You get more nutrition from nourishing herbal infusions or eating cooked greens than from pills of barley green. Your body cannot use raw food, with the exception of raw milk and raw meat. In order to absorb nutrients from food we have to break the cell wall. Cooking is the easiest way to break that cell wall. You can tell the cell wall is broken because the color and the texture of the food changes.

Dehydration is another way to break cell walls, that's why the herbs used in the infusions must be dried, not fresh, not raw. Fermentation and freezing also break the cell wall.

Hydrochloric acid in the stomach cooks our food, but its strength diminishes as we age. Why do we feed babies and old folks cooked foods? Because they are easier to digest and utilize than uncooked foods.

Virtually no animals eat raw food. One great ape does, but only dead ripe fruit, and they eat for 16-18 hours a day to get enough to survive on. My goats have a cooking vat, called a rumen, that they use to process the apparently raw food they eat. Only after cooking their food do they even bother to chew it.

In my experience of more than 30 years of listening to people who claim they eat only raw food: (1) most actually cook their food by dehydration, fermentation, or other non-heat methods (2) a significant amount lie about what they are eating (3) no one sticks to such a strict diet for long.

All problems with comfrey are with the root, not the leaves. Would you stop eating rhubarb if you knew that the root can kill? (it can!), stop eating apples because the seeds contain a poison? (they do and a man killed himself by eating a quart of apple seeds just a few years ago), avoid cherries and peaches and almonds because they contain cyanide? All plants contain poisons! We have learned how to deal with them. When we concentrate plants or isolate parts of them we run the risk of harming ourselves, but it is rare indeed to find any harm caused by using plants in forms where we actually taste them and use them a whole foods. So stop being silly and drink your comfrey . . . leaf, not root. . .and not in pills, ok.

Yes, those nourishing infusions, and yogurt, and whole foods, and good exercise habits will keep your bones strong. You are doing great. Keep up the good work.

Green Blessings,
Susun Weed

Dear Ms. Weed, Thank you so much for your reply. Okay, tonight my infusion will be made with my comfrey leaf. :-) I deeply appreciate you sharing your knowledge and experience with me so freely. Bless you!

                                              black & white illustrations are by Durga Bernhard from Susun Weed's Healing Wise the second Wise Woman Herbalback to LIST

                                              Raw Goats Milk

Good Morning Susun,

It seems an answer to my prayers. A local farmer is raising goats and selling their nectar! He is hesitant to sell it to me raw because of fear of the "health" authorities closing him down. The only thing I could tell him is what I learned from you...I am purchasing it for my animal friends (and that is true, the cats and hens adore it), anyone he sells raw milk to must state that it is for non-human consumption.

I would like to watch him and his farm thrive. With everything being developed here so terribly rapidly and becoming a sterile environment, his efforts at organic farming and goat rearing is a welcome sight and gift to the community.

My question is, can you send me further advice that I can forward to him on how to keep raw milk available and stay free of the officials? Also, what is the deal on human consumption of raw milk? What should I be aware of, if consuming and what is it we are being "protected" from by the pasteurization laws? So far, I am feeling mighty and fine plus I've got this great cream mustache!

I look forward to seeing you in the spring and hope your winter sparkles.

Love and Peace,

Susun's Response: Re: goats love you


It is great to hear from you. Let me see if I can answer your questions.

In general the authorities are not going around trying to find people selling raw milk. (They are going around trying to find people selling cigarettes to minors. they just closed down two local small stores by entrapping them)

If this farmer tried to market raw milk or to sell it in stores he would be in trouble, but he isn't doing that, so he won't be in trouble. I have bought raw milk from both the farms near me for over 30 years and they have never once had a problem. One of the farms is pretty big and has signs that proclaim that they sell eggs and carrots and corn and so on and even they have had no problem at all about selling their milk (note that it is not on their sign).

I did know one woman who got in raw milk trouble. She lived in California. Her punishment was that she had to promise not to ever sell, or even give away, raw milk ever again. And if she broke her promise, they said she would have to pay a $1000 fine. Either way, they did not "close her down." (Methinks your farmer is a little paranoid.)

A form of TB called brucellosis can be passed from cows and goats to humans in their milk. But the last case of brucellosis in goats in the USA was more than 50 years ago! So, little to worry about there. Goat milk is naturally high in bacteria and if you are taking immune suppressing drugs then raw milk could be a problem. But you aren't.

Needless to say, I have been drinking it for decades with no problems at all. And I have seen people with severe health problems thrive on raw milk.

If you want to know why pasteurization came to be used, consider the circumstances of getting milk to people in the city 100 years ago. Still not a bad idea for the general public, of which you are not!

May the return of the sun at solstice bring you great joy.

Much love and many Green Blessings,
Susun Weed

                                  black & white illustrations are by Durga Bernhard from Susun Weed's Healing Wise the second Wise Woman Herbal      back to LIST    black & white illustrations are by Durga Bernhard from Susun Weed's Healing Wise the second Wise Woman Herbal

                                           Too Much Yeast?

Greetings Soul Sister!

My 20 year old daughter has been told her body produces too much yeast, which leads to "tinea versicolor", which show up as white spots (places where her skin doesn't tan). What can she do to balance the yeast in her system? What other health issues might too much yeast be connected with?


                Susun's Response: yeast overgrowth in the intestines is a myth

Donna, Who told her this? Sounds non-medical to me. tinnea versicolor is an odd problem that has no known cause and no known cure. All digestive systems contain yeasts, without them we would die. Some of the herbalists and old women doctors I have visited in Europe use a tablespoon of yeast taken orally as a cure all!! There is no such thing as a yeast overgrowth in the intestines, despite the prevalence of this myth.

Love to you Green Blessings,
Susun Weed
                                                     black & white illustrations are by Durga Bernhard from Susun Weed's Healing Wise the second Wise Woman Herbal back to LIST

   Oatstraw soothed my rage

Hello Justine,

I received my book and have been reading and applying some of the information from the book. I made up an infusion of seaweed broth, which I add to a variety of soups.

I was feeling pretty bad before I received the book. My bones were just aching and I was really exhausted, really feeling run down. I decided to make up some seaweed broth, which I added to a vegetable broth. The second day my bones stopped aching and I could feel my body gaining more energy.

I still felt depressed and was ready to fly off the handle to quickly, I live in an area that is very isolated, so I don't have access to a lot of these herbs. I have to rely on the net or a co-op for most of my products.

I read the information on oat straw and how soothing it would be for me. That's when I decided to try rolled oats. My rage is finally under control and I feel great.

After reading the book I knew what was wrong with me, menopause! I knew what the problem was, but didn't know how to control it. Now I'll learn through your mother's wonderful book how to nourish my body and maintain optimum health.

I won't have that constant fear of what is wrong with me. Of course you always think the worse, that too will free my mind in getting well.

My daughter came for a visit over the holidays and she was sick. I quickly got her on the seaweed broth, flaxseed, plus I made her oat infusions, and yogurt, within a couple of days she was feeling great. Before she went home, she ordered the book.

My hair is just beautiful. I have such a sheen on my hair. It must be the seaweed, oats, and ground flaxseed. I have spent scads of money on shampoo, conditioners and so forth to attain a sheen such as I have now. I never did attain it. I have dark auburn hair, which always looked dull.

I now realize that I wasn't getting enough usable calcium, plus all the other foods I mention earlier, into my diet. What a difference they have made already. My calcium was coming from a bottle. How many women are there, who are not aware of this?

I really feel sorry for these women who are suffering and not knowing where to turn for help. I just stumbled across your site on the net, through Mountain Rose. I'm so grateful for this information and it makes me shudder to think if I hadn't, how miserable the rest of my life would be. It's to bad doctors couldn't be more useful in this field.

Forever Grateful,

Susun's Response: I am touched.. more than words can say

Your letter brought tears to my eyes...had to read it aloud to my husband....really makes me feel all we do is so worthwhile. Thanks for sharing. Susun will feel so good....

Would you allow me to use your letter as testimonial?...I feel the urge to share it.... Love, Justine

Hello again Justine, Yes you may use my letter, and my closing (Forever Grateful Cesca).

                                             black & white illustrations are by Durga Bernhard from Susun Weed's Healing Wise the second Wise Woman Herbal back to LIST  

                Allergic to Dairy? Yogurt and Cooked Stuff

I need a little help. I'm allergic to dairy products, except for mozzarella cheese and feta cheese, made from goat milk or lamb. I did give the yogurt a try, and immediately I went down hill. It robbed me of all my vital energy and created inflammation through out my body. I stopped eating the yogurt and all symptoms disappeared.

I do great using the seaweed broth, drinking the oat infusion, drinking chia seeds which are high in calcium and boron, plus flaxseed. What would your mother suggest for a substitute for women who are allergic to dairy products. I am very concerned about this, for your dear mother says calcium from green sources alone is not enough. And to add at least a quart of yogurt a week to my diet to have healthy bones.

One more question. For extracting calcium and nutrients from fruits and vegetables, your mother says they have to be cooked a long time. You wouldn't use the same process as you're making an infusion, by pouring boiling water over the fruit or vegetables packed in a jar and letting it brew over night on the kitchen counter. We are talking about simmering for a long period of time until they completely break down.

Broccoli is high in calcium, so if I steam the broccoli I will not be able to draw as much calcium and other nutrients. But if I cook the broccoli until it breaks down then I will draw more usable calcium. Am I right? And the same would apply to fruit like making applesauce, I would cook it until it also breaks down.

Would the key to drawing more usable calcium and nutrients from fruits and vegetables, be a slow process of cooking and simmering these foods, until they break down? Your Mother makes mention of eating prunes, so to draw more calcium I would slowly cook the prunes until they break down, or would I pour hot boiling water over them and let them brew over night. Here we go again.

Would appreciate some help on my thoughts.

Susun's Response: There is no such thing as lactose intolerance.

dear Lois,
I suspect the yogurt you ate had dried milk in it. Try Dannon plain: it should contain only milk and culture. Or, make you own from goat's milk. I have never found anyone who is really allergic to milk. It is the easiest food to digest, so long as it is not pasteurized. That's why babies eat it!! But dried milk is impossible to digest. There is no such thing as lactose intolerance. Everyone in the world can easily digest up to half a cup of milk at a time.

Minerals become available from fruits and vegetables when the cell walls are broken down. We can tell when that has happened because there is color change and texture change. You could steam your broccoli, but you need to cook it until it is soft. Hope this helps.

Thanks so much for letting us use your letter. Your words of praise brought a smile to my face and my heart.

Green Blessings,
Susun Weed

                                              black & white illustrations are by Durga Bernhard from Susun Weed's Healing Wise the second Wise Woman Herbal back to LIST

         How do I make calcium-rich herbal Infusion?


I hope it's okay to ask you a question. I make an infusion everyday that includes oatstraw, horsetail, and nettles for calcium. I place a heaping tablespoon of each in a quart jar and let it sit for 12 hours before drinking, this is correct? I've been using your menopause book as reference for 3-4 years, but since I've never discussed making the infusions with anyone I sometimes wonder if I'm doing this correctly?

Thank you so much for offering us an alternative way of approaching this chapter in life.

Thanks again and best for the New Year,

Susun's Response: making infusions is easy!
Bethany, No, you are not doing it correctly. Please reread the instructions: it says to use a full ounce of herb, that's about one cup by volume, or 8-10 times more herb than you are using. If a cup of nettle infusion made with an ounce of herb contains 500 milligrams of calcium, then what you are making contains only 50 milligrams. Not so good. Use more herb!!!

Green Blessings,
Susun Weed
                                               black & white illustrations are by Durga Bernhard from Susun Weed's Healing Wise the second Wise Woman Herbal     back to LIST

Instructions for making herbal infusion, please!

I'm 51, almost 52 (2/28/50). Reread the infusion stuff in your old menopause book. I'm not sure I have the where-with-all to make infusions-mainly getting a hold of the herbs at Whole foods but I could ask.
I think my breasts are becoming less fibrocystic (vitex?) I'm just a 32A and decided to stop wearing a bra. What if I just brewed the (Nettle-Raspberry) teas longer and drank 2-3 cups a day?

Isn't it fascinating that everybody fabulous I've run into lately is into the same thing?: Mind-Body-Spirit?! (I've never taken drugs) I'm really noticing the electromagnetic vibes or is that just menopause?


              Susun's Response: Drink nourishing herbal infusion every day!

Like anything in life, making infusions is easy once you establish a routine. Here's what I suggest. Go to your store (whole foods is fine) and buy one ounce each of comfrey leaf, stinging nettle, oatstraw, and red clover. Get a quart canning jar. When you are ready for bed, put up a quart of water to boil and go brush your teeth. When the water is boiling, put your one ounce of herb in the jar, add boiling water, cap tightly, turn off stove and go to bed. In the morning strain the plant material out of the liquid and drink it. Or, just grab the jar and go; strain as needed. Refrigerate what you don't drink right away. It stays good for only a day or two so you will be making it every day or two. The four ounces you bought will last you about a week. For the first few weeks, don't drink tea or coffee. That makes a space in your life for the infusion.

After the first week you will know which herbs you like best. Then you can buy them really in bulk: that is, a pound or half a pound at a time. If you drink four quarts of infusion a week, a pound of herb will last you only a month. It seems like a lot of herb, but it isn't and the price should be a lot less. The store may have to special order them for you. I of course buy five pounds at a time!!

Minerals take up space. By using a full ounce of herb we are able to get massive amounts of minerals. Brewing a little bit of herb for longer will extract the small amount of minerals present, but it is not the same as an infusion, even if you brew it overnight. Using an ounce of dried herb is critical. Don't stint on this. Hope this helps.

Green Blessings,
Susun Weed

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                                             Is Soy Safe?

I have your book "Breast Cancer Breast Health". I had breast cancer in 1996 and took your advise by turning down tamoxifen and taking soy life with the genistine and also red clover. Have you changed your opinion on taking the soy isoflavones?

                Susun's Response: Soy is not a wonder-drug

     Susun has changed her view on Soy as the years present new research and the corporations have pushed soy into the mainstream as a wonder-drug, rather than a good food to use with other foods..

She is away for some time, so I will send you an excerpt from her new book NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way, Alternative Approaches for Women 30-90, available from www.wisewomanbookshop.com.

If, after reading the section (sent to you in the next email), you have any further questions please do send us a message.

Sending love,
Justine (Susun's daughter)

Excerpt from NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way, Alternative Approaches for Women 30-90 available at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com

EXCERPT: Soy Glycine max
"The highly processed soy foods of today are perpetuating . . . nutrient deficiencies all over the world."6 - Sally Fallon

Like red clover, soy is a member of the bean family. All beans contain generous amounts of phytoestrogens, those wonderful substances that help menopausal women take heart, stand tall, and stay gutsy. Since I wrote the first edition of Menopausal Years, the world seems to have become saturated with articles and ads advising all menopausal women to eat soy.

Is there something wrong with this picture? I think so. Soy has a dark side. It all has to do with how seeds protect themselves. All seeds (beans are seeds) contain substances - such as phytates and trypsin inhibitors - that interfere with our ability to liberate, utilize, or create key nutrients, such as calcium, zinc, vitamin B12, and thyroid hormone. These substances are known collectively as anti-nutritional factors.
In most instances, soaking and cooking are sufficient to remove the anti-nutritional factors, making beans generally safe to eat. But not always. Some types of beans retain their anti-nutritional factors unless treated in severe ways. Soy is one such bean.

Fermentation destroys soy's anti-nutritional factors and increases its mineral availability. Miso, tamari, tempeh, and natto are fermented. Tofu, soy beverage, soy nuts, soy granules, and fake soy foods (hamburgers, hot dogs, cheese, and so on) are not.

Tofu is the only unfermented soy used in the Orient.  Traditionally tofu is eaten with seaweed (to offset its thyroid- damaging effects), fermented soy (to offset its B12-disrupting effects), and, when possible, fish/meat (to offset its mineral-depleting effects). When unfermented soy is eaten frequently in a diet low or lacking in animal protein (as is the case for many vegetarian and all vegan women) the anti-nutritional factors can create havoc: brittle bones, thyroid problems, memory loss, vision impairment, irregular heartbeat, depression, and vulnerability to infections.

Unfermented soy is high in hemoglutin, which causes clumping of red blood cells and may increase risk of stroke. It is also impressively rich in aluminum (up to 100 times more than is found in the same amount of real milk).

What can soy do during your menopausal years?

o Reduce hot flashes?
So true, so true. Up your intake of plant hormones and you will have fewer hot flashes. Study after study has looked at this effect and it is quite strong.

o Protect against breast cancer?
Simple soy foods in the diet clearly protect against breast cancer. But much of that help may come from exposing young breast tissues to the extra estrogens in beans, which may increase breast cancer risk for menopausal and postmenopausal women. And when we don't even eat soy, but just take the hormones isolated from it, the risk may increase even more.

Eating soy all your life is vastly different than eating a normal American diet for fifty years and then supplementing with isolated isoflavones. To protect your breasts, use miso and tamari, both proven anti-cancer champions, lavishly.

o Prevent heart disease?
Soy lowers total cholesterol and increases HDL. In monkeys without ovaries, soy isoflavones dilated blood vessels as much as estrogen did. While we know that lower cholesterol and more relaxed blood vessels are signs of health, we don't know that soy actually prevents heart attacks or stroke.

o Help your bones?
Rats without ovaries who eat soy have thicker bones. Real-life women with their ovaries find the opposite to be true. Soy is not a good source of calcium. Tofu and soy beverages are supplemented with bone-brittling calcium carbonate.

o Improve your memory?
I don't think so. Soy is deficient in fats needed for healthy brain/memory functioning. Soy oil, soy protein isolate, texturized vegetable protein - processed soy foods come in more forms than I can list. I eat miso and tamari freely, tofu and tempeh occasionally, and other soy products not at all.

Dosage: 50-200 grams of isoflavones per day, preferably from food.

CAUTIONS: Excess soy can cause liver damage and is said to feminize men. Soy may be difficult to digest, may cause allergic reactions.

Excerpt from Susun Weed's NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way

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                         Soy, rickets. and the vegetarian diet

Dear Susan,

I saw the article "How Safe is Soy" on your website.

I live in a communal household and we have raised 12 children as vegetarians. It has recently been discovered, that some children have shown signs of rickets and bone demineralization. We have seen other information on possible negative effects of unfermented soy but nothing was as specific or seemed so relevant to our situation as your article.

We are in urgent need of an expert in this field to help us design a healthy vegetarian diet and to help us analyze what dynamics may have caused this in our children.

A reply as soon as possible would be greatly appreciated. Jon

                  Susun's Response: Oatstraw will help you.

dear Jon,
Susun would say that a complete vegetarian diet would everyday include a wide variety of whole grains and beans, (not just rice but also oats, quinoa, barley, kasha, lentils, adzuki, black beans, etc..), lots of leafy greens (kale, collards, etc), orange and yellow vegetables (squash, carrots, turnips, etc), cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, etc), onions, garlic, seaweeds (kelp, dulse, hijiki, etc), miso, nuts (esp walnuts and almonds), fresh fruits, dried fruits (unsulfured of course), some sweet treats made from honey or maple syrup....and other good nutritious foods...found at your local coop or grown in your gardens. Eat as widely as possible. Be sure to include lots of foods that are high in Magnesium as well as Calcium. AVOID vitamin and mineral supplements.

Susun does believe that all humans benefit from eating homegrown animals as well. She raises goats and rabbits at her farm. When I was a child (I am her daughter) we were vegetarian for many years, but gradually she started including humane animal meats (not mass produced and ignorantly killed) into her diet as she learned more about health and well being. You may not be ready or willing to incorporate any animal meat into you vegetarian diet, which is you choice of course.

You have not indicated if your community is ovo lacto as well....Susun definitely recommends yogurt and homemade cheese as a regular part of a healthy diet. Farm raised eggs could also add a good source of protein and nutrient to your diet.

Start your selves and your children on nourishing herbal infusions that are high in calcium and magnesium...Alternating between a single herb infusion of oatstraw and of nettles would be very good. Make infusion, not tea!

Susun refers to rickets twice in her book Healing Wise, once on page 120:

"Those in debilitated conditions, anemic, malnourished, with rickets or scurvy, gain strength quickly when allowed to eat freely of chickweed" .......She notes that chickweed is high in many minerals and vitamins including magnesium and calcium...

On page 202 she writes:

"Oatstraw baths once or twice a week, in combination with oatstraw infusion taken by the quart/liter, is part of a wise woman's way of healing those with osteoporosis, rickets, bone cancer, and broken bones." She adds: "If you want a daily calcium supplement, try a cup of oatstraw infusion brewed with a pinch of shave grass (horse tail herb)."

You may consider ordering Susun's book Healing Wise for good recipes, herbal solutions, and how-to's including infusion preparation and so much more.... www.wisewomanbookshop.com

Write back soon to let us know how your children are doing and we have been helpful to you in your time of need.

One more book I could recommend would be Juliette de Bairacli Levy's book, Nature's Children. This classic includes good recipes (she is a vegetarian too) plus many natural remedies and helpful hints for natural childrearing. This book is also available from www.wisewomanbookshop.com

Justine (Susun's daughter)

                                                 black & white illustrations are by Durga Bernhard from Susun Weed's Healing Wise the second Wise Woman Herbal back to LIST    black & white illustrations are by Durga Bernhard from Susun Weed's Healing Wise the second Wise Woman Herbal

     This site is sponsored by Susun Weed and Ash Tree Publishing.

to Wise Woman Herbal BooksHealing Wise, the second Wise Woman Herbal
by Susun S. Weed, author of the Wise Woman Herbal Series
Introduction by Jean Houston. Illustrations by Durga Bernhard
Paperback - 312 pages (1989) Published by Ash Tree Publishing
Superb herbal in the feminine-intuitive mode. Complete instructions for using common plants for food, beauty, medicine, and longevity.

"One of the most powerful spokespersons of the herbal movement, Susun Weed introduces a marvelous sense of vitality and originality to herbalism. A poet, artist, and visionary, Weed draws us into ancient wisdom in a way that is clear and refreshing. I recommend Healing Wise highly - there is good medicine in these teachings." Rosemary Gladstar, founder California School of Herbal Studies

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