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Healing Wise ...
with Susun Weed

Weed Walk on the Burned Barn Site
Look at all the beauty, food, and medicine growing from the charred remains of the barn. One could live long and well on pumpkin, game, fish, and amaranth and lamb's quarter seeds and greens, most of which are growing right here, gifts of the abundant Earth. Though I still grieve the loss of what I loved so well for so long, I am cheered and heartened by these gifts of green blessings. Please allow me to share them with you as we walk.  

Frozen Amaranth Seeds and Greens

Amaranth Plant

Amaranth Seed Head

Amaranth (Amaranthus retroflexus)
This excellent plant provides both edible greens and seeds. The cooked greens freeze well; we have several bags in the freezer to enjoy this winter. The small black seeds shake out of the plants easily, but must then be winnowed to remove the unpleasant chaff. We have started to harvest them and will continue to do so every day or so for several weeks. I add amaranth (and lamb's quarter) seeds to all cooked grains, cereals, and baked goods for an extra hit of protein and wildness. Amaranth is a nutrition powerhouse that is well worth the effort to get to know and love.

Lamb's Quarter (Chenopodium album)
Everything said about amaranth is true for this common weed, too. Like amaranth, it provides exceptionally nutritious greens and seeds. Unlike amaranth, the leaves are good in salads. Lamb's quarter is related to chard and spinach and beets/beet greens. We have harvested enough leaves from this patch for numerous salads, and for one meal of cooked greens. We are getting ready to harvest seed, which does not have to be winnowed. Ahhh.

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca
Such a delight to see motherwort sprouting and growing here amid the blackened and burned bits of lumber. She brings us calm acceptance of what is, without interfering with our desire to make it better. Motherwort was my ally during the weeks immediately after the tragedy.  And, I am certain, she will continue to soothe me – and keep my heart healthy – during times of stress and distress for as long as we live.

Wild Oats (Avena sativa)

Springing right out of the blackened rocks and bits of burned wood, oats reaches out, heart to heart, to remind us that renewal is an unopposable force. I associate oats, with their drooping panicles, with weeping and the deep peace that comes after a needed cry.

In addition to feeling our oats, which means being frisky, we also recognize oats as a calmative. Oats baths are certain cure for nerves that are "strung too tight," and "always on edge." Oatstraw infusion, made of the whole plant, stalk and all, dried and brewed overnight, brings ease to jangled nerves and calms those who are often anxious.

Pumpkin flower

Pumpkin vine

Pumpkin (Curcurbita pepo)

To the Iroquois, pumpkin is the gift of hospitality and it was common for newcomers to an area to be greeted by gifts of pumpkins. Pumpkin vines were growing by the rabbit hutches before the fire, but none of them survived. New ones sprouted immediately, grew fiercely, and produced one very nice pumpkin. Now more vines are spreading across the area. Are they also pumpkins? Or perhaps a cucumber vine? Or some winter squash? Maybe even a cantaloupe? It matters not, alas, for it is too late in the year for any new fruits to mature.

Mallow (Malva neglecta) also known as "cheeses"

The soft caress of a mallows is just what we need when our guts are knotted with grief, when our lungs are flooded with unexpressed (and over expressed) mourning, and when the heart itself feels shredded. This lovely little mallow patch, is probably the one that grew by the barn at the edge of the rabbit area. Mallows have very long roots that go deep into rocky, dry soil and find the moisture. The sight of them brings a smile to my heart.

Physalis Flowers

black nightshade flowers

Black nightshade berries

Nightshades: ground cherry (Physalis) and  black nightshade (Solanum nigrum) 

And least we forget that the dark is gathering, the nightshades bring their sinister touch and their pretty flowers. The slightly psychoactive green fruits of the black nightshade become a pie-worthy fruit under the name "garden huckleberry." I wonder if the husk tomato will actually bear fruit; it might, so I am going to keep an eye on it.

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:

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

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
For excerpts visit:

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

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
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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
Retails for $24.95
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