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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?

07 December 2017

Gathering roots ~ giving death

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

By Judith Berger, excerpted from Herbal Rituals

When one gathers roots one is giving death. And so one must become the crone, carefully considering the effect of the act upon the environment.

One must uproot flippancy, hurry, or casualness from the ground of one’s own mind before taking trowel or spade in hand. Then one must, with certainty and clarity, be able to see as the crone sees, how this death will create the space for new life.

One must press one’s ears to the ground of mystery, listening for the voice of the plant which calls the root digger toward it to gather its flesh. Medicines made with such attentiveness often initiate healing in both the body and spirit.

28 November 2017

Squash and Sun Dried Tomato Soup

Written by Flora, Posted in Nourishing Foods

from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell
serves 6

1 butternut squash
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup sun dried tomatoes, packed in oil
1 quart chicken stock
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
sea salt or fish sauce and pepper
cream or creme fraiche

Cut squash in half lengthwise and place, cut sides down, in a glass baking pan with about 1/2 inch of water. Bake at 350 degrees until tender, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, saute onions gently in butter until tender. Add tomatoes and stock. Bring to a boil and skim. Scoop cooked squash out of skin and add to soup. Simmer about 1/2 hour. Puree soup with a handheld blender. Thin with water if necessary. Add basil and season to taste. Simmer gently about 5 minutes, ladle into heated bowls and serve with cultured cream. Enjoy!

See Sally Fallon's blog for more nourishing recipes

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

Gina Breedlove, Sound Healer & Medicine Woman

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Self Love, Sisterhood

We are delighted to bring gina Breedlove, Sound Healer and Medicine Woman, from the West Coast, to the Conference this October.

gina breedlove reachingThrough her Vibration of Grace™ sound healing, gina Breedlove invites women to know and experience the power of our own voices, in an ancient practice of healing. Using intentional sound, she invites us to harmonize within our body, focus our thoughts and ground ourselves in the present moment helping to create ease, wellness, embodiment and so much more

 

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.

13 September 2017

Hawthorn Recipes & Remedies - Part 2

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

EagleSong Evans Gardner, community herbalist, taught Hawthorn Remedies and Recipes at the 2016 Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference. Here is some of her wisdom about the plant and it's uses.

hawthorn berriesRead Part 1 for a brief overview of the properties of hawthorn as well as some delicious water-based preparations.

Fresh Hawthorn Tincture

Fill any size jar (start small) with fresh or frozen mashed hawthorn berries or whole leaves and
flowers. Add 100 proof vodka to cover, cap tightly, shake daily for 1 week, continue to macerate
for several more weeks shaking weekly. Finally, strain and bottle for future use as a tonic.

Dried Hawthorn Berry Tincture

Fill any size jar half full with dried haws. Fill jar with 100 proof vodka. Cap tightly. Shake daily
for one week. Let macerate for several weeks shaking weekly. Strain when ready. Use as a tonic.

Hawthorn Vinegar

Follow tincture directions using apple cider vinegar instead of vodka. Different menstruums used
for extraction add more options, expanding the basic staples in your culinary herbal repertoire for tending health!

04 September 2017

Standing strong with mullein

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Sisterhood

mullein mountainDriving in the mountains to the Blue Ridge Parkway the other day, my heart jumped at the sight of stand of mullein flowering out of a rocky cliff.

I thought of all you women and of the strength of community when we gather . . . In these times when the problems of patriarchy fill the newscasts, we continue to stand strong as a community of powerful, intelligent women, thriving individually and collectively.

Have you seen mullein, along the fence line or on the roadsides? This is the time we notice her, while in bloom, with her tall yellow flowering stalks. We find her everywhere, from abandoned lots to mountaintops.

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.

16 August 2017

Hawthorn Recipes & Remedies - Part 1

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

EagleSong Evans Gardner, community herbalist, taught Hawthorn Remedies and Recipes at the 2016 Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference. Here is some of her wisdom about the plant and it's uses.

hawthorn branchHawthorn, Crataegus spp. is the epitome of a common plant, proliferating around planet Earth in the temperate northern latitudes. A member of the congenial Rosaceae family, this small to medium tree takes her place in rough environments with grace and even charm. Growing 16’-­50’ with small pome fruits, haws, and often sharp, thorny branches, Crataegus are used as specimen trees in gardens, as a foundation tree in countryside hedges and as a gnarly free agent in neglected landscapes providing shelter and food for innumerable insects, birds, amphibians, small mammals and, occasionally, humans! Just for fun, check out www.theplantlist.org where you’ll find 2718 plant names for Crataegus sp. found around the world!

The name hawthorn is an old English term for hedgethorn. Crataegus oxycantha or monogyna predominate as a shrubby tree used in European hedges along with its counter part the black thorn, sloe or trnka plum! An exceptionally vigorous and adaptive tree, Crataegus occasionally resort to apomixis, a form of asexual reproduction not requiring cross fertilization to create entirely new species. Two other commonly used herbs with this capacity are Taraxacum and Alchemilla, our friends and allies, dandelion and Lady's mantle. Somehow, this just tickles my fancy!

Generally recognized as a food with special properties wherever it grows, hawthorn preparations include haw candies, juice, wine, herbal medicines, and is used fresh and dried in soups, teas, punches, jams, butters, chutneys and relishes. Although, not universally accepted as beneficial, at least one county in WA state has listed the Hawthorn as an invasive species...since this is the county where I harvest all the haw used in my practice and heart health is a major concern in our communities, the mark is being missed in engaging an ally by some!

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