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Healing Wise ...
with Susun Weed


Green Blessings of the Thunderstorm Season

One of the great delights of autumn in the Catskills is the emergence of mushrooms.

All colors, all forms, all shapes, in profusion or singly, on the ground and on the trees. Mushrooms are springing up everywhere.

Mushrooms are magical. No wonder they feature in so many fairy tale illustrations. Like the tiny mushroom here, they have an ethereal quality that sends our imaginations journeying. . . just by looking at them.

Let me repeat the warning that plants, and mushrooms especially, are not reliably identified by photos. The smell and the texture and the environment are all important in identification. Please don't eat any mushroom without checking at least three sources. I have been finding and preparing wild mushrooms for over forty years and I still follow that rule when I am contemplating eating a new find. Unlike plants, mushrooms that smell and look lovely can be deadly. After all, dealing with death is the work of the mushrooms.

All mushrooms help prevent cancer. Some actively counter it. Check out the photo gallery for some of the most interesting specimens of this week. (Mentor students, look for your upcoming tutorial on the latest, greatest anti-cancer mushroom: turkey tails.)

Take the time this week to go for a walk in the forest and see what mushrooms have paid a visit to your neck of the woods. No need to identify them or eat them or do anything at all except sit and enjoy them.

Next week I will report on my trip to the First International Goddess Fest in Malibu. Mushrooms? Flowers? Beautiful goddesses and incredible rituals? I am sure I will find all these and more. And coming up really soon is the Southeast Women's Herbal Conference. Come if you can; it is an experience you will never forget.

And don't forget to join me every Tuesday evening at my new blogtalk show. Call or email questions and I will answer them.

Here are some photos of some amazing mushrooms that I found this week in the forest.

Cauliflower Mushroom (Sparassis radicata)
I could hardly believe my eyes when I came upon this lovely mushroom. I have never before seen it in the flesh, only in photos. Despite my warning about photos being an unreliable way to identify plants and mushrooms, there is no way to mistake the cauliflower mushroom for anything else. Nonetheless, I checked in three books before cooking it slowly (for about two hours at low heat) in butter and eating it. The texture stayed crunchy, but the taste was quite nice. It was not, as one book claimed "one of the best of the edible species," I vastly prefer the complex taste of black chanterelles.

Black Chanterelle
(Cantharellus cornucopioides)
These mushrooms are small, but like wild strawberries, their taste is huge. All chanterelles are funnel shaped and all of them are edible and tasty, no matter what color they are: white, orange, yellow, tan, or black. Chanterelles are distinguished by their lack of gills and their lack of pores. Instead they have wrinkle-like folds. I gently pulled one from the moss and turned up so you could get a good look at those folds. Again, there is no look-alike spoiler to confuse us. If it looks like a black chanterelle, it is a black chanterelle. I cook them briefly on a low heat in butter, then spread them on toast. The taste is deep and dark and rich with nuance.

Spreading Hedgehog (Hydnum repandum)
Coral Hedgehog (Hericium coralloides)

I have only seen hedgehog mushrooms twice in the half century I have been foraging, not counting the three I saw this week! That more than doubles my lifetime count. The spreading hedgehog provides a handy resting spot for this red eft. The coral hedgehog reminds me that icicles will be decorating my eaves in a few months. One of my guidebooks says: "Hedgehog mushroom are one of the most beautiful sights in the woodland. They are edible, if that is your consideration." I agree. I have never eaten a hedgehog mushroom. Perhaps the next time I find one . . .

Spreading Hedgehog                                         Coral Hedgehog

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.
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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.
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NEW Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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