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    Be Your Own herbal Expert – Part 8 Healing sweets: herbal honeys, syrups, and cough drops – Part 1 HONEY Honey has been regarded as a healing substance for thousands of years. Greek healers relied on honey water, vinegar water, and honey/vinegar water as their primary cures. An Egyptian medical text dated to about 2600 BCE mentions honey 500 times in 900 remedies. What makes honey so special? First, honey is antibacterial. It counters infections on the skin, in the intestines, in the respiratory system, or throughout the body. Second, honey is hydroscopic, a long word meaning “water loving”. Honey holds moisture in the place where it is put; it…

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    Wise Woman Ways to Boost Your Energy   Almost every woman has, at one time or another, felt so fatigued she wanted to cry. But for some women, and for a variety of reasons — including menopause, caring for a new-born, working odd hours, chronic anxiety, and poverty, to name only a few — fatigue is a constant, not an occasional, problem. Stimulants don’t really give us more energy, though they are what many women turn to when they feel too tired. Stimulants create false energy, leaving us more exhausted at deeper levels. One more cup of coffee, one more soft drink, one more jolt of fear increases energy, to…

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    HERBAL PHARMACY Picking and Drying Herbs    In your herbal pharmacy you transform fresh and dried plants into herbal medicines. Learning to identify and use the common plants around you is easy and exciting, beneficial and safe. Making your own medicines saves you money if you follow the Wise Woman tradition of using local herbs, free for the taking. Even one day’s work in field, forest, and kitchen can provide you with many years’ worth of medicines. When you make your own, you know for sure what’s in it, where it came from, when and how it was harvested, and how fresh and potent it is. Dried herbs are best…

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    Ease Those Bug Bites with Easy Herbs     Summertime means insect bites and stings. Ouch! Take a leaf from Susun S. Weed’s storehouse of natural remedies: Soothe, heal, and prevent bites with safe herbal remedies that grow right where you live, north or south, east or west, city or country. The best natural remedies for insect bites are right underfoot.   Plantain, also called ribwort, pig’s ear, and the band-aid plant, is a common weed of lawns, driveways, parks, and playgrounds. Identify it by the five parallel veins running the length of each leaf. (Most leaves have a central vein with smaller ones branching out from it.) You may…

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    WiseWoman Traditions

    herbal smoking mixtures – Part 2 Let’s expand our range of plants activated by fire. Some sources say that more than a hundred different herbs were utilized in Native American smoking mixes. What would your smoking mix be? Would you have several, for different tasks? Let your imagination play with the plants you most often use. What do they smell like when they burn? Are you tempted to inhale deeply? Give yourself free rein to try them out. So far as I know, the only plants that may cause you harm if you inhale their smoke are: Commercially grown tobacco, which is considered addictive. The Toxicodendron sisters – poison ivy,…

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    herbal smoking mixtures   Let’s work with the mint family, by making an herbal smoking mix. Any dried mint-family plants you have on hand can be used make a great healing smoke, especially if mixed with some mullein, and perhaps a few other herbs. Smoking can be good for the health of your lungs and your being. Careful application of hot smoke and burning herbs, near the body (smudges), on the body (moxibustion), and through inhalation (smoking) are healing techniques that have been used for thousands of years in myriad cultures around the world. If you choose not to smoke these herbs, you may still wish to try them out…

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    THE WISE WOMAN TRADITION EMPOWERS WOMEN   The Wise Woman Tradition is the oldest known healing tradition on our planet. It offers a unique view of health that is woman-centered and deeply empowering to women. This is in stark contrast to orthodox – and most alternative – healing traditions, which are based on male viewpoints which disempower women. The medicine I learned in school was based on a linear, scientific, male worldview whose truth I did not question. When this medicine failed me, as a woman and a mother, I sought alternatives. Herbs helped me take care of myself and my family, simply and safely, but I questioned the assumptions…

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    Healing Wise: The Spirit of Simples What is a Simple? A “simple” is one herb used at a time. A “simpler” is an herbalist who generally uses herbs one at a time, rather than in combinations. Why Use Simples? Most herbalists I have met — whether from China or Japan, Eastern or Western Europe, Australia or North America — use herbs in combinations. Simplers, like myself, don’t. Why? Because I believe that herbal medicine is people’s medicine, I seek to make herbal medicine simple: as simple as one herb at a time. Because people worry about interactions between the drugs they take and herbs, I keep it simple: with simples,…

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    WiseWoman Traditions

    Is There an ‘All Natural’ Alternative to Antibiotics? There are good reasons to use antibiotic drugs. That said, most physicians and healthcare professionals agree that they are often overused. The overuse of antibiotics has created “superbugs” that are immune to the most common antibiotics. But on a more personal level, antibiotics can wreak havoc on your own immune system and gastrointestinal tract. The good news is that there is an all-natural alternative to antibiotics that I’ve found to be very effective. If your infection is not life threatening, you may wish to try herbs instead of, or in addition to, regular antibiotics. Of the most-often used herbal anti-infectives—calendula, chaparral, echinacea,…

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    Hairy Problems “Dearest granddaughter, come close and look into my eyes.” Grandmother Growth beckons and her voice grows deeper and more resonant. “Look deep into my eyes and acknowledge the beauty there. “Yes, my skin is wrinkled. My face is the face of age, and to many, that is fearful. But my beauty, like my wise blood, now resides inside of me. Can you see it? Can you feel it? Can you look beyond the hair on my chin?” she says grinning, flicking her fingers under her chin in a most unladylike manner. “Can you forgive the places where my scalp shines through? Can you find the truth of my…