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TheMostImportantHerbsEveryWomanShouldKnow Women;webringhomethebacon,fryitupinapan.yesandyouknowtherest.Wedoitall;raise thechildren,preparethemeals,fillingtheroleofhomemakerandmanagingthehouseholdoften whileholdingpositionsoutsidethehome.Orwearetheprimarybreadwinners,eitherassingle women,marriedorindomesticpartnershipandeventhoughmanyofushavebustedoutofthe traditionalroles,westilltendtobetheonescaretaking.Wetakecareofthechildren,theaging parents,thespouse,thedomesticpartner,thehome,thepetsandeveryotherdetailourmultitasking selvesmanagetosqueezeintoouroverflowing,overburdenedandoftenoverbearingschedules.With alltheresponsibilitymanagementandcaretakingthatsgoingonitsnowonderthatweareoftendead lastonthatlistofthingsneedingtobetakencareofbutladies,Imusttellyou,thatissomethingthat needstochange.Everyoneknowsthesageadvicethatifyoueverfindyourselfonaplaneinan emergency,itsyouroxygenmaskthatneedstogoonfirstbecauseletsfaceit,ifyoureoutcoldhow areyougoingpossiblybeoftohelpanyoneelse?Nowhereisthat,truism,moreevidentthanin everydayliving.Butinthemorassweoftenfindourselvesinhowonearthdowemanagetofitinyet onemorething?

Learningafewhelpfulhealingherbscanbeaneasyanduncomplicatedwaytobegin.Tomakeuseof thehealingpowerofmedicinalplants,youneedntknowcomplicatedformulasorworkwithherbsyou cantpronounceletalonehaveanyideafromwhereonearththeyoriginate.Allittakesisaworking knowledgeofafewhealingherbsthatcanhelptorestoresomeofthatohsoabsentbalance.Lets takealookatafewofthose: TraditionalWomensHerbs Therearemorethanafewherbsthataregenerallyrecognizedasbeinghelpfulforwomenscycles; thoseplantsthathaveanaffinityforhelpingwithphysicalissuesuniquetowomenandtheir reproductiveandlifecycles.Herearejustafewofthosehealingplants: RedRaspberryLeaf HandsdownoneofthesafestandmosteffectiveplantsformenstrualdifficultiesisRedRaspberry (Rubusidaeus)inparticulartheleavesofthefirstyear plant.Ateamadefromthisplantandtakenatleasttwo weeksbeforetheonsetofthemenstrualcyclecanhelp toreducethepainofmenstrualcramping,irritabilityand overallsymptomsofPMS.Highincalcium,magnesium, vitaminC,carotenesandothertraceminerals,Raspberry leafisapowerfultonicforanyoneregardlessofgender butmostespeciallyforwomenaswetendtoputour nutritionalneedsonthebackburneraswell.Raspberry leaf,withitsabilitytostrengthentheuterinemuscles andpelvisistonifyingtotheuterusforwomeninmany stagesoftheirlives.DuringthechildbearingyearsRedRaspberryisadeptatrestoringandmaintaining themenstrualflowandrhythmaswellasaftergivingbirthwhentoningtotheuteruscanbemost helpfultooverworkeduterinemuscles.Raspberryhaslongbeenconsideredafertilityherbandhas

assistedwomenwhowerelookingtogetpregnant.Additionally,raspberryshighcalciumandvitamin contentmakeitahelpfulherbforwomenpassingintothemenopausalorcronesstageoftheirlives. StingingNettle ThewildStingingNettle(Urticadioica)plantoftenmakesherself knowntouswhenweleastexpectit.Manyanunsuspectinggardener orhikerhasbrushedupagainstthisinconspicuousplantunawareonly tobesharplywokenupbyherstingandremindedtopayattention totheprofoundbeautyofthenaturalworldallaroundusandtoour owninternalworkings.ThetinyhairsoftheStingingNettlecontain histaminesandformicacid,thestingofwhichhasbeenfoundtobe helpfulforarthritissufferers.Nettlesarehighiniron,Bvitamins, calcium,magnesium,vitaminKandchlorophyllthatmakethisanother greatherbforwomenduringthechildbearingyearsandbeyond.With itsbloodbuildingabilities,StingingNettleisanherbveryefficientat replacingthebloodlostduringthemenstrualcycleandforthose womenwhostrugglewithanemia.HistoricallyNativeAmerican womenwhowerepregnantwoulddrinkateamadefromNettlestostrengthenthegrowingchildand easechildbirth.NativeAmericanwomenalsofoundtheplanttobebeautifyingtothehair,skinand nails.Nettlesarerebuildingtotheadrenalsandcanbeavaluableaidtowomenexhaustedbyover doingornervousexhaustion.Thisvaluableplanthasaverypositiveeffectontheurinarysystem,is rebuildingtothekidneysandhelpfulforweakbladdersandchroniccystitisoftenexperiencedbythose intheirmenopausalyears. Motherwort AsthenameimpliesMotherwort(Leonuruscaridaca)isanherbthat joyouslyembraceswomenwithcherishingarmssurroundinguslikea loving,nurturing,protectiveMother.Anotheruterinetonic, Motherwortisveryeffectiveintreatingpainfulmenstrualcyclesand restoringtheflowwhenitisabsent.Itisespeciallyeffectivefor scantyperiodsandisanotherherbconsideredeffectiveinsolving fertilityissues.Asthebotanicalspeciesnameindicates,Motherwort healstheheartbothphysicallyandemotionally.Tonifyingtothe heart,itrelaxestheheartcellsandcantemporarilylowerblood pressure.Ithasbeenusedtohealheartpalpitationsespeciallythose associatedwithanxiety.Likeadevotedandcaringmother, Motherworthaslongbeenutilizedforcalmingtheanxietyaftergiving birthandtheanxietythatisoftenexperiencedduringthe perimenopausalandmenopausalyears.Thisherbshouldnotbe takenduringpregnancyorifyouexperienceaheavymenstrualflow. Angelica Consideredtheherboftheangels,Angelica(Angelicaatropurpurea,A.archangelica,A.sinensis)isa genusconsistingof60speciesworldwideandisfoundacrossEurope,AsiaandNorthAmerica.

Angelicaroothasbeenusedandcontinuestobeusedbymanycultures.Warmingandstrengthening tothesexualorgans,Angelicabringsneededheattouterinestagnationandcanbringonanabsent menstrualcycleaswellasfireupalagginglibido.Angelicaisutilizedthroughoutthefemale reproductivecycle,tobalancemenstruationaswellashormonalfluctuationsduringmenopause.As theChineseDongQuai,Angelicarootisconsideredapotentfemaletonic.Angelicaisverygoodfor increasingcirculationtotheextremitiesespeciallyinthewinter,andincreasesheattothedigestion whichcanbeveryhelpfulasweagewhenourdigestivefirescanbegintowane.Angelicaisusefulfor menstrualirregularitiesandincreasescirculationtothefemaleorgans.Asitcanstimulateuterine contractions,thisherbshouldnotbeusedduringpregnancy. OtherNurturingandHelpfulHerbs Whilemanyherbsarenotexclusivelyrelatedtowomensissues,theyarenonethelessextremely valuableintheirabilitytonurtureandhealtheissuesthatwomenface.Hereisalookatsomeofthose nurturingandhealingplants: Hawthorn Whilemuchattentionispaidtobreastandothercancers,significantlylessattentionispaidtoheart issuesinwomen.Thisisanunfortunateironybecausemorewomendieofheartdiseasethandieofall cancerscombined.AccordingtotheAmericanHeartAssociation,anastounding90%ofwomenhave oneormoreriskfactorsforheartdisease.Thegoodnewsisthatmanyoftheseriskfactorswewomen dohavecontrolover.Gettingregularexercise,eatingahearthealthydietandconsistentlypracticing stressreductiontechniquesarecertainlynottheleastofthese.Inadditiontotakingthesecommon sensestepsaddinghearthealthyherbscanprovideadditionalsupport.Hawthorn(Crategus spathulata,C.oxyacantha)isanextraordinarilyvaluableherbfortheheartandcirculationthathas beenusedforcenturiesbytheCherokeeIndiansasavaluableherbtoaidingoodcirculationandinhas alsolongbeenusedforthesamepurposesinChinesemedicine.Theflowershavebeenshownto improvetheoverallhealthofanagingheartwhiletheberriescontainflavonoidsthatdilatethe coronaryandperipheralarteriestherebyreducinghighbloodpressurecausedbyhardeningofthe arteries.Quiteamazinglythoughisthisplantsabilitytoalsorestorelowbloodpressuretonormal. Dandelion Whilenotconsideredanherbspecifictowomen,Dandelion(Taraxacumofficinale)hasqualitiesthat areworthwhileenoughforwomentoconsidermakingitaregularpartoftheirherbalrepertoire. NativetoGreece,the humbleDandelionhas gottenatersereputation ofbeingagarden nuisance.Farfrombeinga nuisance,Dandelionis packedwithnutritional andhealingattributes. Theleavesareaneffective bitterencouragingthe gallbladdertoreleasebile necessaryinthe digestionoffatsandaiding intheoveralldigestive process.Theleavesare alsodiureticandcanaid inreleasingexcessbloat butunlikeoverthe counterdiureticsthatrob thebodyofpotassium, Dandelionleavesarehigh inpotassium.

Dandelionleavesalsocontaingenerousamountsofiron,calcium,vitaminA,CandDmakingita nutritionalpowerhouseworthyofaplaceateverytable.TherootoftheDandelionisavaluableliver cleanserandally,arealtreasurewhensomanyofusareexposedtotoxinsineverythingfromour foods,toourwaterandpersonalcareproductsthatallmustbeprocessedbyouroverworkedlivers. Burdock Burdock(Arctiumlappa),generallyconsideredanoxiousweedbymanyintheU.S.isanotherhighly valuablenutritiveandrestorativeherb.CalledGobobytheJapaneseandoftenincludedintraditional dishes,Burdockrootisconsideredapowerfuldetoxificationherbbringingclearskinandbrighteyesto anyonewillingtotakethetimetogettoknowthishealinggiant.Burdocksreputationasablood cleanserismainlyduetoitspowerfuldetoxificationactionontheliverbutBurdockisoneofthefew herbsthatiscleansingtothelymphaticsystemaswell.Burdockseedsareanallytotheurinarytract reducinginflammationandresolvingirritationtotheurethraaswellanothercommonissueforwomen inthemenopausalyears. InConclusion Thesearesomeofaveryfewofthevaluablehealingplantsthatcanaidusateverystageofourlives, nourishingourbodies,reproductivesystemsandprovidingneededhealingthroughoutourlives.As women,itwoulddouswelltogettoknowafewoftheseamazinghealingwondersoftheplantworld.
Karine Gordineer is a Certified Plant Spirit Healing Practitioner, Native American Herbalist, Shamanic Practitioner, a Certified Reiki Master and Educator, offering individual healing sessions and classes. Her work is based on the belief that living apart from our divine connection with the Creator, the Earth and the Spirit Beings of nature, forms a split in our souls that must be healed in order to restore balance to ourselves, our communities and our Planet. Combining her Native American (Mahican) and Ukrainian lineages and many years of training and practice, Karine seeks to assist individuals to align with their Soul purpose, restoring health and vitality through healing sessions and herb consultations. To contact Karine or learn more about her work, you can view her website at www.greengirlherbs.com To schedule a healing session call (845) 592-4609 or (845) 489-2671. All photographs by Karine Gordineer 2010-2013