JUNE 2016
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Healing Wise ...
with Susun Weed

Grasses, Reeds, Sedges ...

Green and grassy greetings from the verdant leas of the Catskills.

Mid-summer is just passed, and the harvest is beginning. Everywhere the grasses are proclaiming themselves. I am here. Look at how beautiful I am. Eat me. Eat me.

Those allergic to grass pollen will be celebrating the ripening of the grass seeds, as it signals an end to pollen release from the grass flowers. Most of us don't think of grasses as having flowers at all. But they do, though the flowers are small, inconspicuous, practically nothing but the pistil and the stamen. Those profligate stamen, releasing great exhalations of pollen into the air.  Since grasses are pollinated by the wind, not by bees, they don't need colorful, enticing flowers. Alas, eating bee pollen or raw honey to counter "hay fever" won't work, since bees don't collect grass pollen.
Amber waves of grain. The seeds of grasses are grains: corn, wheat, rice, rye, spelt, sorghum, millet, oats. Every grass seed is edible. And humans have been eating grass seeds for at least 30,000 years according to archeological evidence. My first classes – the ones I taught years before I taught herbal medicine – were called: The Best Bread You Ever Ate; You Make It Yourself with Love. And the first class we made a simple whole wheat loaf and I rhapsodized about wheat.

I love grains, whole grains, unrefined and minimally-processed grains. They are the backbone of civilization. And the pole star of a great diet. There is always a pot of brown rice in my fridge and a loaf of whole wheat bread on the counter.

Come with me on a walk through the wild field around the pond I had dug some years ago. There is such a variety of grasses, sedges, and rushes that I was able to take all these pictures in less than fifteen minutes.

The goats are settling in and learning the wild ways of Laughing Rock Farm. They are going with us into the woods and taking long walks with us, though they are still most at ease behind a fence. They love the goat tower, but are frightened of the tarp that covers the wooden roof which is awaiting its covering of copper. We located several local builders who can put copper on our tower roof, but, so far, we can't pin anyone down as to when they will do it. Stay tuned. We are!

We enjoyed ourselves this past weekend harvesting weeds and peas and herbs at our CSA farm. We made thyme vinegar, sage blossom vinegar, and calendula oil, as well as collecting 15-20 pounds of primo, tender lamb's quarter and amaranth.

What are you harvesting these days?

Green blessings are everywhere.

Herbal Help for Poison Ivy/Oak Rashes

Oh my! The poison ivy/oak is getting high, and I don't mean it is smoking grass. Poison ivy/oak loves the extra carbon dioxide we are adding to the atmosphere and responds by growing higher and lusher. There is more poison ivy – and her sister poison oak – than ever, and they are causing more trouble than ever.

Don't let the oozy, itchy rashes they cause can spoil your summertime fun. Here are my favorite ways to avoid – and treat – poison ivy/oak rash.

Eat it?   
If you are especially sensitive to poison ivy, you may want to consider eating it in the spring. The dose is one three-part, young, red leaf, dipped in honey and swallowed whole for 7-10 days. Like a homeopathic remedy, eating poison ivy changes your relationship with the plant from the inside out.

Wash Promptly

The irritating part of poison ivy is urushiol, an oily substance. Urushiol is found in all parts of the poison ivy vine, including the leaves, the roots, the vine, the flowers and the berries. When your skin reacts to urushiol, it blisters and itches. The sooner you wash – with cool water and mild soap – after contact with poison ivy, the less likely you are to get a rash.

That's the idea behind using jewel weed (Impatiens pallida) against poison ivy. Jewel weed is very moist. Crushed, it can be used to wipe urushiol off the skin. But Jewel weed really shines when it comes to treating poison ivy rash. Look for my special recipes at the end of this article.

Witch hazel towelettes/wipes, available in drugstores, are an excellent way to remove urushiol when no water is at hand. Be sure to discard with care, so you don't transfer the urushiol to your hands.

Since ivy rash is caused by urushiol, you can it without touching the plant. Urushiol clings to skin, clothing, shoes, and animal's fur, and spreads from there. So you can get a rash from contact with something , like your dog or your pants, that contacted urushiol and then spread it to you.

Poison Ivy/Poison Oak Facts

It can take up to seven days after contact with urushiol for a rash to erupt.
Urushiol retains its irritating power for decades, even on old clothing.
Poison ivy/oak rashes don't spread, and they are not contagious. Sensitive skin will react before thicker skin, and more sensitive people will react more quickly than others, making it seem that the rash is spreading from one place or one person to another, but it isn't.

If poison ivy is burned, there is urushiol is in the smoke. If inhaled, it causes a serious rash in the lungs.

Eating poison ivy does not cause a rash in the mouth or the digestive tract.

Help for Ivy Rashes

Once you have a poison ivy rash, there are a number of ways to ease the itching and pain, keep the outbreak limited, and protect your skin.

Plantain (Plantago) is a champion at countering itches. In the early oozy stages of an ivy rash, poultices of are best. Chew the fresh leaves – or smash with a rolling pin – and apply. Once the blisters are gone, infused oil of plantain can be used instead. (Never put an essential oil on a rash.)
Yarrow (Achillea) is amazing for relieving pain. A poultice of the chewed or smashed fresh leaves (or tincture of the flowering tops sprayed on), acts as a local anesthetic, reduces swelling and checks oozing.

Witch hazel
(Hammamelis) as sold in the drugstore – be sure to get plain witch hazel – is an astringent used to counter the itching, swelling, and weeping of poison ivy rashes. Splash it on, spray it on, or wipe it on. Let it dry on the skin.

Hot water – really, really, really hot water – turns off the sensation of pain for several hours at least. Run hot water from the tap directly over the area of the rash.

Chlorine (bleach) in water is incredibly effective against the itching, oozing, and pain of ivy rashes. Up to half a cup of bleach in full bath tub of hot water; or visit a nearby Y and swim in their (chlorinated) pool.
Clay dries out the poison ivy rash and helps ease itching and counter swelling. Any kind of clay will do, but white clays are kindest to the skin. Buy powdered clay and add water (or witch hazel) little by little until you achieve a thin paste, or a thick slurry. Gently spread the slurry over the rashy area. Let it dry and fall off of its own accord. Repeat as often as you desire.

Jewel Weed Broth
is an incredible ally for those dealing with extensive areas of ivy rash. Make it by boiling fresh jewel weed, roots and all, in water to cover until it turns orange. The broth, drunk freely, swiftly counters swelling and eases pain.

Jewel Weed Witch Hazel Spray
is my ultimate ivy rash treatment. Make it by boiling fresh jewel weed, roots and all, in witch hazel to cover until it turns orange. Let cool in the pot, then strain into a sprayer and apply. Store in the refrigerator or freezer for really cool relief.

Green blessings are everywhere.

Susun Weed’s books:

Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year
Author: Susun S. Weed.
Simple, safe remedies for pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, and newborns. Includes herbs for fertility and birth control. Foreword by Jeannine Parvati Baker. 196 pages, index, illustrations.
Retails for $14.95
Order at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com

Healing Wise
Author: Susun S. Weed.
Superb herbal in the feminine-intuitive mode. Complete instructions for using common plants for food, beauty, medicine, and longevity. Introduction by Jean Houston. 312 pages, index, illustrations.
Retails for $21.95
at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com

NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way

Author: Susun S. Weed.
The best book on menopause is now better. Completely revised with 100 new pages. All the remedies women know and trust plus hundreds of new ones. New sections on thyroid health, fibromyalgia, hairy problems, male menopause, and herbs for women taking hormones. Recommended by Susan Love MD and Christiane Northrup MD. Introduction by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. 304 pages, index, illustrations.
Retails for $22.95
at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com
For excerpts visit: www.menopause-metamorphosis.com

Breast Cancer? Breast Health!

Author: Susun S. Weed.
Foods, exercises, and attitudes to keep your breasts healthy. Supportive complimentary medicines to ease side-effects of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or tamoxifen. Foreword by Christiane Northrup, M.D. 380 pages, index, illustrations.
Retails for $21.95
at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com

Down There: Sexual and Reproductive Health the Wise Woman Way
Publication date: June 21, 2011
Author: Susun S. Weed
Simple, successful, strategies cover the entire range of options -- from mainstream to radical -- to help you choose the best, and the safest, ways to optimize sexual and reproductive health. Foreword: Aviva Romm, MD, midwife, 484 pages, Index, illustrations.
Retails for $29.95
Order at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com

Abundantly Well - Seven Medicines The Complementary Integrated Medical Revolution
Publication date: December 2019
Author: Susun S. Weed
Seven Medicines build foundational health and guide you to the best health care when problems arise. Includes case studies, recipes, exentsive references and resources. Introduction by Patch Adams illustrated by Durga Yael Bernhard 352 pages, index, illustrations
Retails for $24.95
Order at: www.wisewomanbookshop.com



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