Susun Weed is a teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge of herbs and health. She is the voice of the Wise Woman Way--where common "weeds," simple ceremony, and compassionate listening support and nourish health--and the author of four books on herbal medicine. She will be in the Asheville area this October teaching at the Southeast Women's Herbal Conference.
NLJ: Please describe the Wise Woman Tradition in your own words.
SW: The Wise Woman Tradition nourishes wholeness and honors female ways of knowing. All women and all men need to love and honor their female selves. The Wise Woman Tradition invites everyone to weave themselves into greater wholeness. By contrast, the heroic tradition, or alternative medicine, believes that toxins cause disease and must be vigorously removed with colon cleansing and "detoxifying" treatments.
All traditions--the Scientific, the Heroic and the Wise Woman--agree that the health of the individual is only as good as the health of their intestines. The Heroic Tradition focuses on cleansing parasites and "sludge" from the intestines. The Wise Woman Tradition reminds us that we're not meant to live alone and that we live in symbiotic relationship with microorganisms. Some bacteria and other microorganisms can cause disease, but others are the foundation of health. There are more beneficial bacteria (gut flora) in a healthy person's intestines than there are cells in that person's body. To nourish gut flora, we need fermented foods such as yogurt, miso, sauerkraut and beer; we also need mushrooms, yeasts and moldy cheeses, such as Brie, blue and Camembert.
The Wise Woman Tradition says we're already perfect and whole. The goal is neither to eliminate disease nor prevent death, but simply to nourish the wholeness of each unique individual so that when they die, as we all must, they die whole rather than in parts.
NLJ: How can NLJ readers incorporate the Wise Woman Tradition into their lives?
SW: Start by drinking nourishing herbal infusions. These powerhouses of nourishment help us regain and maintain optimum health. I am fiercely anti-supplement, but I do understand how difficult it can be to get adequate nutrition, especially the minerals we need, from our meals. Nourishing herbal infusions provide lavish amounts of minerals, as well as huge amounts of vitamins. They are also rich in proteins and other important phytonutrients, such as polyphenols and phytoestrogens. Most people notice improvements in energy, skin and general well-being within a week of drinking at least two cups of nourishing herbal infusion a day.
A nourishing herbal infusion uses a large amount of dried herb and steeps it for a...