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Web Interview with Susun Weed
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.

website: www.susunweed.com


Susun Weed & Herbalism

Q. Do you believe that the benefits of herbs have yet to be fully understood and accepted in our modern society?
. 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 is Herbalism?
. 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. What do you find the most rewarding aspect of your work?
. 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?
. 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

Susun Weed Teaching

Q. You run the Wise Woman Center. Can you explain the concept and what women can expect from a visit?
The Wise Woman Center is created to reweave the healing cloak of the Ancients. It is a safe space for women. It is my home. I invite women to visit with me and my goats and learn how to use plants for health.

The Wise Woman Center is a place where women reclaim their power and reawaken their Goddess selves.

Herbal Infusion

Q. What is a herbal infusion?
. 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?
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?
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.

Types of Herbs

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.
Brief introduction to 5 Common Herbs
Botanical name

Urtica dioica


  • Standard infusion
  • Soup
  • Hair rinse

Calcium, chlorophyll, chromium, cobalt, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, riboflavin, selenium, thiamine, zinc, vitamins A, C, E, K

  • Energy
  • Healthy hair and skin
  • Adrenal, kidney, or urinary tract problems
  • Rich soils
  • Streamsides
  • Gardens
  • Stores
  • Nutritive
  • Tonic
  • Antiseptic
  • Diuretic
  • Astringent

Standard Infusion...

Raspberry Leaf
Rubus ideaus

  • Standard infusion
  • Tea

Calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, protein, selenium,
vitamins A and C

  • Tonifying uterus
  • Stopping nausea
  • Promoting lactation
  • Pregnancy helper 
  • Open fields
  • Gardens
  • Vacant lots
  • Stores
  • Nutritive
  • Tonic
  • Astringent
  • Antidiarrheal
  • Antispasmodic


Avena sativa

  • Standard infusion


Calcium, chromium, magnesium, protein, silicon

  • Longevity
  • Heart health
  • Strengthening nerves
  • Cultivated fields
  • Stores
  • Nutritive
  • Tonic
  • Calmative
  • Heart helper

Oatstraw Hair rinse...

Matricaria cham.

  • Tea only
  • Hair rinse

Magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, riboflavin; *Volatile oils can harm kidneys and liver.

  • Relieving upset
  • Aiding sleep
  • Glowing hair
  • Gardens
  • Stores
  • Grow indoors
  • Mild sedative
  • Mild poison*
  • Hair brightener

Hair Rinse:
Pour over hair; leave in or rinse out.

Mentha pipperata

  • Tea only
  • Mouth wash

Calcium, iron, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potas-sium, protein, ribo-flavin, thiamine, vitamin A; *Volatile oils can harm kidneys and liver.

  • Help with digestion
  • Relieving gas
  • Lifting your mood
  • Moist places
  • Stores
  • Grow indoors
  • Mild stimulant
  • Digestive
  • Antispasmodic
  • Anitmicrobial
  • Mild poison*

Mouth wash:
Rinse mouth with cold tea.

Urtica dioica
Standard Infusion:
Pour 4 cups boiling water over 1 ounce dried herb and steep for 4 hours.
Raspberry Leaf
Rubus ideaus
Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 tea-spoonful of herb; steep for 3-5 minutes.
Growing Herbs

Q. Can you advise any natural ways to counter common pest problems with herbs? 
Weeds rarely get pests. They don’t need rich soil. They grow in vacant lots. Weeds don’t need much water, either; they are drought proof! Any plant bothered by pests is growing in a place that is not right for it. Move it! Most people give their herbs too much water and too much fertility. The best remedy I know of for pests on plants is to blend the pests themselves up in a cup of plain water. Dilute that in a quart of water with a drop of dish soap and spray on your plants. Natural pathogens in the bugs guts will kill the rest of the bugs. Ha!


Q. Can you recommend herbs that are suitable for growing indoors if access to a garden or open area is not available?
. If you want to experiment with growing herbs for tea, I would suggest;
Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis.), Shiso (Perilla frutescens)
Mint (Mentha). In my opinion cultivated plants don’t have the nourishment or the spiritual power of wild plants and weeds.

Childbearing Years

Q. You advocate the use of herbs during, pre and post pregnancy to assist with many different aspects of the process.
Can you give a few examples where herbs can help in pregnancy and also clear up any concerns that pregnant women may have with the use of herbs at that time? 

I think it best to refer to my book, Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, where I have the space to set out all the considerations. But, let me say, that nourishing herbal infusions are superb for all women, especially when pregnant or lactating. Raspberry leaf infusion is considered one of the most important, but nettle is also important. For older women, I like the way comfrey helps the tissues stretch during birth.

For more information about this topic click here...

Herb Recipes

Q. Do you have any favourite recipes where you incorporate weeds and herbs?
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

Skin Soother
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.

Oat Tonic
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.

More information about Susun Weed

website: www.susunweed.com

Books by Susun Weed

  • Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year (now in its 29th printing)
  • Healing Wise (1989)
  • New Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way (1992 and revised in 2002)
  • Breast Cancer? Breast Health! The Wise Woman Way (1996)


Corrsepondence Courses Courses by Susun Weed

Susun Weed offers four different correspondence courses (ABC of Herbalism, Green Witch, Green Allies, Spirit & Practice of the Wise Woman Tradition) each of which explores a different aspect of herbal medicine. Each course includes a project booklet with experiences, experiments, and assignments that you complete in your own time. Plus, you receive your choice of books from a specialised list, your choice of audio/visual materials (DVDs, CDs, and audio tapes), three hours of talk/write time with Susun, gifts particular to your course, half-off coupon good for three days of workshops with Susun, erratic mailings, and personal guidance in all aspects of the course. Learn more at www.susunweed.com

**Disclaimer: The above answers are the personal views of Susun Weed and are displayed on PureCalma.com for informational purposes. Each individual should consult a herbal practioner and/or health practitioner before undertaking any form of herb related treatment/application. Terms & Conditions...


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