Iconic Herbalist, Healer and Wise Woman
Growing up in rural Canada, I took the use of herbs and other plants as both food source and healing tonic for granted. When I moved to the States as a young woman, I left that that part of me behind. My life in Chicago was exiting and as far away from my rural roots as I could get. However, it didn’t take too many years living in the concrete canyons to start missing my connection to the earth. I realized how easily I could forget how my mum and grandmothers so casually integrated the healing power of herbs into our everyday life; and was probably one of the few print production managers on Michigan Avenue that read Mother Earth news while riding the ‘El’ to the office. Where I once had fields and gardens, I now had wee pots and jars of herbs in apartment windows and stacks of herb books piled on counters. When I moved to Colorado I had more dirt to play with and my collection of herbal reference books grew exponentially. A friend in Boulder introduced me to the work of SuSun Weed. I was an immediate and devoted fan.
Loved and honored for her work in women’s health and herbal medicine, Susun Weed is an Iconic Woman. She is known for her writing and teaching of what she describes as the “Wise Woman Way” of herbalism that offers simple, safe alternative, complementary medicines. In her Wise Woman Herbal Series, she describes Herbal Medicine as the People’s Medicine. Susun S. Weed is the voice of the Wise Woman Tradition, an extraordinary teacher with a joyous spirit, a powerful presence, with an extensive knowledge of herbs and health dedicated to empowering women worldwide to reclaim their health and wellbeing through knowledge, simply and safely. She is the founding grandmother of the herbal renaissance and the originator of the concept of complementary medicine, and the director of the Wise Woman Center located near Woodstock in New York State.
Susun’s official biography opens with the straightforward statement, “Susun S. Weed has no official diplomas of any kind,” noting simply that she left college in her junior year to pursue life. Based on the body of her work, her pursuit of life has been very providential indeed.
In 1965, while pregnant with her daughter, and still living in Manhattan, Susun began studying herbal medicine. In 1989 she published her first book, Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. This classic text, now in its 29th printing, offers clear, comforting, simple, and safe remedies for pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, and newborns. It is a timeless favorite with pregnant women, midwives, childbirth educators, and new parents.
Her next book, and my personal, dog-eared favorite, was Healing Wise, published in 1989. Wise Woman energy moves through this book like the breath of life. In this book I found the reconnection to the natural knowledge of my mum and Grandmothers I had been seeking since leaving home. In many ways Healing Wise was the start of the journey that led me to join Leslie C. Botha, in her hormone health work as her writing and research partner. Noted herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar, an Iconic woman in her own right, credits SuSun Weed’s Healing Wise with drawing women into ancient wisdom in a clear and refreshing way, setting forth the foundations of the Wise Woman Tradition, contrasting them with the Heroic and Scientific views of healing. Over the years I have gifted many of my fiends with SuSun’s books, and they have always been appreciated. I’ve included a complete list of her books at the end of this post.
In addition to her writing, SuSun trains apprentices, oversees the work of more than 300 correspondence course students, coordinates the activities of the Wise Woman Center, and is a High Priestess of Dianic Wicca, a member of the Sisterhood of the Shields, and a Peace Elder. Susun Weed is a contributor to the Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women’s Studies, peer- reviewed journals, and popular magazines, including a regular column in Sagewoman.
Her worldwide teaching schedule encompasses herbal medicine, ethnobotany, pharmacognosy, psychology of healing, ecoherbalism, nutrition, and women’s health issues and her venues include medical schools, hospital wellness centers, breast cancer centers, midwifery schools, naturopathic colleges, and shamanic training centers, as well as many conferences.
Books By Susun Weed
Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Publishing. ISBN 0-9614620-0-0.
Healing Wise. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Publishing. ISBN 0-9614620-2-7.
New Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Publishing. ISBN 1-888123-03-6.
Breast Cancer? Breast Health! The Wise Woman Way. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Publishing. ISBN 0-9614620-7-8.
Down There: Sexual and Reproductive Health the Wise Woman Way. Woodstock, NY: Ash Tree Publishing. ISBN 978-1-888123-13-5