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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.

29 September 2018

Rage is a natural and healthy response, sisters

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

Women respond to rape culture


Rape Culture v4This is a hard time, sisters. How are you feeling? Are you grieving, or remembering/reliving old traumas? Feeling confused, or enraged?  

These responses are all healthy and natural. We are standing with and among the survivors. 

Like all of the staff, I am working long days preparing for the conference. In the background, I have been tracking the stories of women in the wake of the senate judiciary committee hearings and the testimony of Christine Basley Ford.  I see rape culture everywhere.

For at least a week,  I have been feeling a low level of rage stirring in my body. At times it intensifies and I pause to allow the emotions to surge through me. A furious bike ride Tuesday morning. Home alone for 15 minutes on Thursday evening, I yell, hitting the bed, and collapse into sobs. Why am I so enraged?

I draw from my needs-based language training, remembering that my feelingsin this case anger and griefpoint me to underlying needs. I ask myself, what needs are not met, by this current display of rape culture? Many needs are not met. Respect. Safety. Valuing. Integrity. Honesty. A shared sense of reality. These are all basic human needs.

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.

05 September 2018

Forest Bathing

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

Holli Richey offered a forest bathing class at the 2017 Herbal Conference, here's some of what she had to share.

2014 06 15 waterfall 450x600FOREST BATHING is a  mindful practice of opening  the senses to become more aware while walking in the forest. The  practice originated in 1982 in Japan  where it is called shinrin-­‐yoku; however, the practice of Forest Bathing borrows from ancient Shinto and Buddhist practices of being  present with nature and mindfulness meditation. Continued scientific research is proving the therapeutic benefits of Forest Bathing through its impact on biomarkers associated with stress—reduction  of heartrate, blood pressure, cortisol, sympathetic nervous system activity and blood glucose, and increase in parasympathetic nervous system activity and  natural killer immune cells—and even its improvement of individual and social well‐being  measures, such as empathy, depression and anxiety.

Mindfulness is the practice of intentionally paying attention without judgment.

Direct your awareness to how you are right now in the moment, noticing your ordinary awareness—how you’re standing, where your mind is, what expectations you might  have about this practice, what physical sensations you notice. Bring your attention to your breath, and then escort  your attention to your feet touching the ground. Take a moment to center yourself in your awareness of your breath as you stand firmly on the earth.

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.

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.

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.

14 March 2018

Chickweed dishes

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Do It Yourself, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

chickweed 001Have you been joyfully nibbling on chickweed sprouts already? She thrives in the cool, wet weather of early spring. A favorite salad green around here, she can be used as the base of a wild salad, or to garnish your bowl of fresh lettuce leaves.

When this versatile green is in season, chickweed rice salad is always a big hit. Just mix equal parts chopped chickweed and cooked rice, then stir in some olive oil, minced garlic and salt to taste. It's even more delightful with chopped walnuts and crumbled feta cheese. 

Another delicious way to introduce your friends and family to chickweed is the BCT (bacon, chickweed and tomato sandwich). Chickweed also works well in pasta salads, omelets and potato salads.

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?

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