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Articles tagged with: healing

25 September 2015

Honoring the Grandmothers

Written by Flora, Posted in Announcements, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

Next weekend at the 11th Annual Southeast Wise Women Herbal Conference

por 2014 10 porch rocker cropped lo res 2Welcome, wonderful women! What a joy it is to be coming together again to celebrate our strength, beauty, and diversity and connect with the Earth in such a meaningful way.

This year, as always, we are honoring women of all ages and stages, but we’re particularly turning our grateful gaze to our elders—to the grandmothers—and to the traditions and insights they bring to us. The 2015 classes include themes honoring the traditional earth-based and herbal wisdom of women from Latin America and Africa, to the Appalachians; from the slavery era to the women’s movements.

10 September 2015

Hawthorn: Little Rose for the Heart

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

hawthorn flowersWhen most of us think of love, the flower that comes to mind is Rose. However, the noble Rose has a humble cousin that is such a gentle yet powerful tonic for the heart that perhaps it should be the symbol of love. This little known relative is Hawthorn (Cratageus sp.), a small tree that loves sunny and windy places. It has beautiful pinkish flowers in the spring that turn into dusky red berries by fall. Unfortunately, no one will ever send you a bouquet of Hawthorn because it is covered in thorns even bigger than the ones on roses!

Hawthorn is well known to herbalists as a restorative tonic for the heart, one that is able to revitalize the whole cardiovascular system. It has been used to regulate heart rhythm in cases of arrhythmia and tachycardia, and helps to slowly rebuild the heart in cases of degenerative heart disease. It is also a wonderful tonic for people with high blood pressure and arteriosclerosis. By helping to dilate the arteries it can improve blood flow to all parts of the body. This little shrub is a good friend to people with poor circulation.

02 September 2015

Radical Self-Care

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Nourishing Foods, Self Love

2015.4 c basket woods Life is very full these days -- preparing for the Southeast Women's Herbal Conference, harvesting, parenting my son -- just to name a few. Like most women, I wear many hats. To sustain the energy levels that my life requires, without the use of caffeine or other stimulants, I have learned that I need to practice radical self-care.

Radical self-care includes proper nourishment for the body -- good water; local, organic produce; fermented foods (like yogurt and kimchi); and healthy fats (like organic butter and coconut oil). Another important daily practice is herbal infusions -- strong, medicinal teas brewed with herbs such as nettles and oatstraw that help nourish the body with needed minerals and vitamins.

13 August 2015

All About Bees

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Local Plants, Nourishing Foods

bees honey comb vertAs we reap the harvest of what what has been sown and tended this year, we must also take a moment to honor the honey bee - an amazing arthropod that has helped make this abundance possible!

The bee is a symbol of the potency of nature. Like us, bees are attracted to a plant by its fragrant, colorful flower. In this symbiotic relationship, the flowers blossom, the world is beautified, and the bee gathers nectar from which it creates the sweet elixir of life - honey!

27 July 2015

Being a Black Herbalist

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Sisterhood, Women's Wellness

Black Community Herbology

black goddess drawingI am a black herbalist, and as such, I am required to do healing work constantly connected to the past, relevant to the communities I’m accountable to, and in service of the future I want to help co-create.

Once I’m out of bed in the morning, I look for the things I need to honor my ancestor warrior healers: singing bowl, nag champa incense, prayed over stones, orisha candles and lemon water. I call out the names of the African, Indigenous, and white blood and spiritual grandmothers whose shoulders I stand on. These are the women who birthed babies at home, cooked only food they grew or raised, knew which weeds to eat and when, and sat with the dying as they transitioned.

My herbalist praxis, as defined by Paulo Freire, is reflection and action directed at the thing that I wish to transform. I fight against the same conditions that the people who come to see me are struggling with; stress and anxiety which can lead to hormonal imbalances that cause sleep disturbances which impair your immune system and render you vulnerable to depression. These disorders are also connected to the fact that we live in a society founded on racism, patriarchy, misogyny, and capitalism.

17 July 2015

Laying on the Earth

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

2015.5.2 core bio 2 med res croppedIn the midst of the freedom and fun of summer, we also can find ourselves overwhelmed with all the fullness! One of my favorite “remedies” this time of year, is simply, to lay on the Earth.
As children, we were naturally drawn to run barefoot --to lie in the sweet summer grass, to play amid the autumn leaves, to sit on the ground. As we reclaim that joy, we actually plug in to the vast, free body of healing energy, of the Earth herself.

A large body of research has now verified what ancient people knew about “earthing”—lying on the Earth for guidance and comfort. Even just a few minutes a day of simply lying quietly in the park, in your yard or garden or in the woods benefits physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

19 May 2015

Comfrey: Symphytum officinale

Written by Flora, Posted in Herbal Medicine, Local Plants

2009.6 comfreyWe grow comfrey in every spare nook. This deep-rooted perennial comes from Europe but has naturalized here, and it is one of the first plants to come up vigorously in the spring. Its leaves are large and dark green, and the plant also boasts purple or blue flowers which nod over in clusters. It flowers from May to August and will produce four cuttings through the season.

Comfrey has long been used medicinally and is most renowned for its ability to heal wounds, stings, sprains, and inflammations of all kinds. Known commonly as “knitbone,” it is used for healing broken bones in people and animals. Probably due to its high mineral content and the phytochemical allantoin, it stimulates cell reproduction.

14 May 2015

Fermentation Basics: Ginger-Garlic Sauerkraut

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

Lindsay Wilson brought so many yummy fermentation recipes to her class at the Fall Conference 2014. We're going to post them here in a series, so come back and look for more! For our third installment, here's a standard favorite with a twist:

kraut 600x600Ginger-garlic Sauerkraut Recipe
Makes 1-2 quarts

1 medium cabbage head, cored and shredded
2” chunk grated ginger
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T sea salt
4 T whey (if not available, 1 more T sea salt)

In a bowl, mix cabbage, garlic, ginger, sea salt and whey. Squeeze with hands for about 10 min to release juices.

Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down firmly you’re your fist (or a wooden pounder) until juices come to the top of the cabbage (add a little water if needed).The top of the cabbage should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.

27 April 2015

How to Make an Herbal Infusion

Written by Flora, Posted in Do It Yourself, Herbal Medicine, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

An infusion is a potent, powerful, medicinal tea. To make an infusion, the plant material must be steeped for a long time. We find the easiest way to do this is to prepare before going to bed and drink in the morning. Instructions gathered from Susun Weed.
quart infusion

To prepare an infusion:
1. Put one ounce (approximately a cup) of dried herb into a quart jar.
2. Fill with boiling water and cover (this traps the important volatile oils).
3. Steep for 4-10 hours.
4. Strain and drink.
5. Refrigerate the remainder to prevent spoilage.

 

23 April 2015

Rainbow of Flavonoids

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

Juliet Blankespoor explains all the delicious benefits of a flavonoid-rich diet in this highly informative handout from the Southeast Women’s Herbal Conference 2014.

raspberries 400x600Imagine a bowl overflowing with color: garnet cherries aside crimson and golden raspberries, blueberries the color of a summer sky, resting against the blush of rose petals. Juicy and alluring, tempting you with vibrancy that promises fresh sweetness. Our intuition is fine-tuned to spot vitality and nutritional density. Humans are naturally drawn to bright colors in our food—the invention of food coloring testifies to this phenomenon. There are a wide variety of compounds lending their color to food; flavonoids are some of the most researched and widely represented colorful phytochemicals in the plant world. It is refreshing to dive deep into the well of tradition and science, both of which describe the medicinal virtues of these tasty treats.

15 April 2015

Honoring Women's Moontime

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

corinna-ivyDuring menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, our emotions and perceptions are heightened. There is a primal urge to remove ourselves from the daily routine and allow these feelings to move through our bodies and our spirits. We crave the Moon Lodge.

In traditional societies where the natural order of things was revered, the Moon Lodge offered a retreat, or cradle to receive women when they felt most vulnerable. Women gathered there during their bleeding time. Not an exile imposed upon the ‘unclean,’ rather the Moon Lodge offered a sacred space—tangible or otherwise—that enables those who acknowledge and accept it to feel reverence and connection with the spiritual, to be immersed in reflection, to be still and truly be.

24 February 2015

Bone Broths

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods

2013.11 corinna  dylan at linville gorgeIn the winter, I always have some stock simmering on the stove. There’s something so comforting about that the delightful aroma and the simple, flavorful goodness of a hearty broth. It’s such a primal pleasure during these cold, cloistered months. It’s almost magical. My son came down the stairs one chilly morning recently, noted that I had three pots of stock going at once—chicken, beef and fish—and exclaimed, “Great! Let’s make some potato leek soup!”

Anything that can motivate a teen-aged boy to help chop vegetables has some serious mojo, indeed.

09 December 2014

Cooking Greens

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Do It Yourself, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

cw headbandWhen I cook greens, my technique tends towards the traditional Southern style. I use just about any dark, leafy greens, whether they’re cultivated—spinach, collards or kale—or gathered wild—dandelion, lamb’s quarter, yellow dock, sochan or nettle. When I say "Southern style," I mean chopped greens in a long, slow sauté (30 minutes or more) at low heat with olive oil, coconut oil, butter or ghee along with onions, garlic, a generous splash of vinegar and a dash of salt. When I’m feeling really daring, I’ll even add a little fatback. I cook those greens until the leaves are soft and limp (and yummy).

04 July 2013

Minerals

Written by Corinna Wood, Posted in Corinna's Corner, Nourishing Foods, Women's Wellness

CW with ox-eye daisyLike many women, I love feeling full of vitality, strength, and energy for the many projects that I am called to. When I was in my early twenties, achieving this level of vitality was not easy. Eventually, after discovering I was deficient in minerals, I found one of the keys to restoring my health and energy lay in building a foundation of nutrition through nourishing traditional foods and wild plants. 

In order for our bodies to function optimally, we must ingest a broad spectrum of minerals that nourish our nervous, immune, and hormonal systems. Many of us don't get the amount of minerals we need, leading to a deficiency in our bodies. Large-scale, industrial farming has stripped the soils and washed the minerals out to sea, so much so that even our organic foods has less mineral content than the food of our ancestors.

06 June 2013

Loving My Body

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

2015.4.3 corinna nettles med cropWhen I was in my teens and early twenties, I was like many women seeking affirmation and direction.  In this seeking, I was also receiving messages from both mainstream and alternative nutrition sources reinforcing the cultural construct about how women's bodies are supposed to be thin. At that time, I became so thin I only menstruated every few months.

Later, through deeper study and life experience, I learned about the dangers of low body weight and loss of menstruation (amenorrhea). Without adequate protein and fat, women’s bodies don’t regulate hormones properly, which can lead to loss of calcium and other minerals from their bones, adrenal and kidney depletion, and exhaustion. I succeeded in having the skinny model body type, but I found my health declining rapidly.

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