Interview with Susun Weed
Vibrant, passionate, and involved, Susun Weed has garnered an international reputation for her groundbreaking lectures, teachings, and writings on health and nutrition.
One of America’s best-known authorities on herbal medicine and natural approaches to women’s health, Susun Weed’s four best-selling books are recommended by expert herbalists and well-known physicians.
Susun Weed’s television and radio show guest appearances include: National Public Radio, NBC News, CNN, and ABCNews.com. She has been quoted and interviewed in many major magazines, including Natural Health, Woman’s Day, First for Women, and Herbs for Health. She is also a contributor to the Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women’s Studies.
Susun Weed & Herbalism
Q. What is Herbalism?
A. Herbalism, the use of plants for health and healing, is as old as humanity, if not older. In hunting/gathering societies, women are naturally the herbalists. The earliest known herbalism is the Wise Woman Way: the way of our foremothers out of Africa, our ancient female ancestors. Herbalism is still used and respected in many places, especially the Orient, the mid-East, and India.
Q. Do you believe that the benefits of herbs have yet to be fully understood and accepted in our modern society?
A. More and more people are interested in herbs. When I began my studies as a herbalist, there were only four books in print in English about herbs!
Q. What do you find the most rewarding aspect of your work?
A. It thrills me to see people of all ages discovering green blessings. The look of delighted amazement on their faces when they understand that the weeds under their feet are food and medicine is priceless.
Q. What herbs do you use yourself on a daily basis?
A. I drink a quart* of nourishing herbal infusion every day. That would be either stinging nettle, or comfrey leaf, or oatstraw, or red clover, or linden flowers. I usually pick and eat a wild salad every day, also.
Yesterday I had garlic mustard, wild oregano, catnip, wild onion grass, crone (mug) wort, bergamot, and violet leaves and blossoms.
*Quart = 2 pints or 1.136 liters
Q. What is a herbal infusion?
A. An infusion is a large amount of herb brewed for a long time.
Typically, one ounce by weight (about a cup by volume) of dried herb is placed in a quart jar which is then filled to the top with boiling water, tightly lidded and allowed to steep for 4-10 hours. After straining, a cup or more is consumed, and the remainder chilled to slow spoilage. Drinking 2-4 cups a day is usual. Since the minerals and other phytochemicals in nourishing herbs are made more accessible by drying, dried herbs are considered best for infusions.
Q. What is your view on herbs as teas?
A. I don’t think teas are the best ways to use herbs. I hardly ever drink tea. A cup of nettle tea has five milligrams of calcium. A cup of nettle infusion contains 250 mg of calcium. Why waste my time with teas?
Q. When you do drink tea – how do you make tea?
A. I pour honey over aromatic herbs like mint, sage, and lemon balm and let them sit for at least six weeks. Then I use a spoonful of the herb honey to make a tea.
Q. You mention nourishing herbs. Are there different types of herbs?
|Nourishing herbs||Nourishing herbs do not contain poisons. They are safe to use in any quantity. Examples are seaweed, violet leaves, stinging nettle, comfrey leaves, oatstraw, red clover, linden, chickweed, hawthorn, rose hips, plantain, burdock, dark chocolate, and dandelion.|
|Tonifying herbs||Tonifying herbs are like exercise. They are best used regularly, but not daily. The dose is generally large. Some examples are ginseng, motherwort, dandelion root, yellow dock root, St. Joan’s (John’s) wort, skullcap, echinacea, and astragalus.|
|Stimulating/sedating herbs||Stimulating/sedating herbs are best used only when there is a specific need. When used daily they erode core energy. The dose is usually moderate. Examples include ginger, black tea, coffee, most mints, lavender, valerian, and hops.|
|Potentially poisonous herbs||Potentially poisonous herbs are drug-like and need to be used with great care. They cause powerful reactions and may interfere with drugs. The dose is usually quite small. Examples include golden seal, cayenne, lobelia, poke root, blue cohosh, senna, mistletoe.|
Q. Do you have any favourite recipes where you incorporate weeds and herbs?
A. Each of my books contains lots of recipes using weeds and herbs. Healing Wise has some especially good recipes.
excerpt from the book Healing Wise, p. 207
Tie a handful of oatmeal into a thin cloth and soak in warm water (in the tub with you is fine), squeezing now and then until the milky white oat cream appears. Use this, in a hot bath, as a cleansing rub, skin softener, complexion treatment, and itch reliever. Rub in spirals on joints. Rub on face. Leaves skin feeling marvellously nourished, cleansed, and softened.
Oatstraw Hair Rinse
Shampoo hair as usual, rinsing and applying crème rinse if wanted. Pour 1 cup/250ml strained oatstraw infusion over hair and massage in; don’t rinse out. Towel dry hair for best results.
Nourishes and rehydrates
A little something extra for sick young ones, nauseated mums, those recovering from any gastro-intestinal problems, including surgery, and those ailing from acid poisoning.
1 cup/250ml oats
1 cup/250ml water
1 teaspoon/5ml lemon juice
1 teaspoon/5ml raw honey
1 teaspoon/5ml water
Pour boiling water over oats and let stand overnight. In the morning add remaining ingredients. Mix well, then pour into cloth and wring juice out, saving it carefully. Take by the spoonful.