Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year is a gem in its genre of herbal medicine. If you are inclined to use herbs to promote health or treat problems, I highly encourage the use of herbs. This advice comes from my own personal “good luck” with the remedies suggested here, not from my knowledge as an herbalist. I am not an herbalist and cannot speak to the accuracy or safety of the book’s recommendations. That being said, I’ll share what I like about Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, some suggestions for use, and what I know about Susun Weed’s approach to herbalism.
What I Like about Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year
I like the introduction to the safe use of herbs. Herbs are so often touted either as natural and therefore safe and gentle or preferred alternatives to pharmaceuticals OR as unregulated and dangerous. Weed brings some reason to all of this sensationalized and confusing public discourse. She classifies herbs into three general categories – health promoting and safe for extended use, helpful for healing but important to use with caution or for a limited time only, and potentially harmful even in small exposure. She has a real respect for the power of herbal medicine, both for prevention and treatment, and offers some introductory teaching that will help you know how to think about herbs, and what questions to ask when seeking to use them.
I like the index. Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year is practical and organized to use with ease.
I like the scope – the book covers an extensive array of uses relevant to the childbearing year.
I like the results! I’ve been using some of the herbs recommended in this book when applicable in my life for over 10 years now, and I’ve had great results and no adverse effects every time.
My suggestions for using Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, or any herbal medicine for that matter.
- Find a primary doctor or midwife who respects your desire to incorporate herbal medicine into your approach to health and who understands enough about herb/drug interactions to be an excellent adviser of your personal use of the herb. Always check with this provider before using any herbs for any purpose, particularly if you take or change any prescription medications.
- Anytime you undergo any surgical or other medical procedures, fully disclose your use of herbs and tell the provider when and what and how much you recently took. People do deny the use of herbs when doctors or nurses ask about their use. It’s not your fault that you may feel like you don’t want to disclose your use, but it’s important to do. It is usually not a problem! But there are interactions that can be unsafe or change the recommendations of your medical providers. It’s important they are fully informed.
- Be advised that there are many sources of knowledge. If you are only comfortable using herbs that have been proven safe or effective through scientific studies (or at least want to know what science has to say) consult with Natural Medicines for the latest available information. Note that many herbs have not been sufficiently studied to determine safety, but haven’t been found unsafe either. The same can be said for efficacy. Using only herbs that meet standards for scientific recommendation is significantly more conservative than Weed’s approach.
- Listen to your body. If the herbs are making you feel better, that’s good. If you’re not getting better, or are getting worse even, you need to continue to seek effective help. Do not continue down a road that’s not working, especially without seeking counsel from your doctor and/or other healers.
What I know about Susun Weed’s Approach to Herbalism
Honestly, I cannot completely trace the origins of everything I say here. I have read a few of Weed’s articles online over the years. I’ve seen interviews with her in other magazines. I once listened to a radio show given by one of her earnest students, and I know someone who studied with her in person.
By some confluence of these experiences, I’ve developed this basic idea of how Weed develops her herbal advice. She listens. Listens to historical accounts of use. Listens to other herbalists. Listens to her body and her clients. And listens to the plants themselves. This last part is crucial to the process. The plant’s environment, characteristics, energy, and more reveal suggestions about its use.
I love all of this about Weed’s approach – and at the same time I realize that it may frighten some people. I believe it’s important to know where information you intend to follow comes from, and to judge for yourself if the basis is valid in your own life.
Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year’s Author, Susun S. Weed
Susun S. Weed has been studying herbal medicine since 1965. Drawing from her experience with herbs, she has published several best selling herbal books that aid in the relief of many common women’s ailments. She runs the Wise Woman Center and offers many avenues to share in her experience, from workshops and and apprenticeships to online courses and blogs.