An herbal guide to support physical, mental, and spiritual health for women and their children at all stages of life–by a healer with over 40 years of experience.
Plant medicines are a woman’s ally to achieve optimal health; they bring balance and nourishment to daily life and can reduce or eliminate symptoms of physical and emotional distress. They can also provide alternatives to many pharmaceuticals. This go-to herbal sourcebook helps women thrive at every age and stage of their lives, with remedies using common herbs and plants to support a healthy body, mind, and spirit.
Organized by disease or discomfort, this book is an essential guide to help women find the herbal support they need. Treatments for sleep disorders, menstrual issues, autoimmune conditions, anxiety, fertility, post-partum recovery, skin ailments, and more, can be found and prepared with ease. Herbal guidance for rites of passage or moments of community are provided, and the inclusion of psychoactive herbs, protocol for end-of life care, and extensive resources round out the coverage–including common discomforts that affect children. Dr. Leslie Korn brings over 40 years of experience in numerous herbal traditions and healing modalities to Natural Woman, offering timeless wisdom that can be shared with friends and passed down in the family for generations.
Index of Herbs Identified in this Book
About the Author
Hiccups are a common, often serious problem during the late stages of dying. They are spasms of the diaphragm and irritation of the vagal and/or phrenic nerves and can result for a number of reasons. Hiccups can last up to forty-eight hours, two to thirty days, or longer than thirty days. Conventionally, antipsychotic convulsion medications are given, but try the following protocol first.
Kava Kava (Piper methysticum)
Kava kava, or simply kava as it is more often called, is effective as an anti-anxiety herb and can be used instead of benzodiazepines. A South Pacific island plant and member of the pepper family, kava is both medicinal and sacred. The name kava, or awa, means “bitter.” Kava contains chemicals called kavalactones, or kavapyrones, which are responsible for most of kava’s pharmacological effects, including increased gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transmission, central nervous system depression, and norepinephrine pooling. Kava also reduces fear and anxiety making it useful for PTSD. It is also a muscle relaxant, and it enhances cognitive performance and reduces menopausal anxiety.
Kava is available in an alcohol-based extract or in capsules. Doses range from 100 to 400 milligrams (60 percent kavalactone per capsule), 3 times daily. Most people can start with one 200 milligrams capsule (60 percent kavalactone) and increase it to 2 if necessary, up to 3 times a day. People who are sensitive may prefer using an extract in order to measure by drops and achieve more specifically the minimum dose required for effect.
While some individuals use kava for sleep, the stimulating effects of kava suggest that it is best used for anxiety during the day. When experiencing anxiety and insomnia, use kava during the day, and the “three sisters of sleep”—hops, valerian, and passionflower—at night.
Kava has been used in rituals for millennia with no apparent adverse reactions. The aqueous extract of kava was found to be safe, with no serious adverse effects and no clinical hepatotoxicity. Spirit Plants = 137
CAUTION: Case reports of liver damage and death associated with kava use led to warnings about the use of kava. However the World Health Organization issued a report that clinical trials and experiemtal studies reveal no hepatic toxicity from kava and the case reports of illness suggested evidence that adulterants or contaminants were the likely the culpit. After exhaustive studies, the warnings on kava were removed by many countries. As with all herbal medication, it should be used at therapeutic doses. Kava is contraindicated in people taking benzodiazepines or antipsychotic drugs and in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Kava should be discontinued at least twenty-four hours before surgery because of its possible interaction with anesthetics.
Creating a Ritual for Each Life Stage
When I create rituals, I often call upon the energies of Freya, the pre-Christian Norse volva, or shaman. She is the one who sees the future and creates reality through her ritual magic based on the strength of her intention and attention. Freya also enjoys her pleasures, so rituals that call upon Freya might include some sweets, such as wine, honey, and cake. I have organized these rituals in groups according to a progression that provides us with an opportunity and structure to recognize, honor, and celebrate our many stages of life. The following rituals are jumping off points for your own creativity and meaning making.
Creating Your Herbal Love Aid Kit and Altar
When I was thirty-five, I had a painful breakup of a long-term relationship. I knew in my heart that I would one day in the future meet someone new but that I needed time to heal and grow. The time came five years later when I told my friends that I felt that I was ready to meet a new life companion. My friend Brooke gave me a dime-store diamond ring that had been passed on to her and that she had used in her own love ritual. She suggested that I make an altar and put this on it. I also chose myrrh incense to burn, and then I wrote a list of the twenty attributes I was seeking in my partner-to-be.
It was fun and meaningful to create my altar, but the part about it that was most powerful was to sit down and actually define who it was that I wanted to have join me on my life path. What did I have to offer someone? What did I want someone to offer me? So I made a list with three columns: (1) requirements, (2) nice attributes to have but not essential, and (3) deal breakers. I thus created my altar, adding the ring, three bowls of water, peony flowers, and myrrh, and I made a commitment to sit at it every day for a few minutes, breathing and contemplating on the nature of love. The bowls of water represented the flow of life and also my lack of attachment to the outcome. On the one hand I was placing my intention and focus on the outcome, and on the other I was allowing for no outcome. This is an ideal frame of mind. I burned myrrh incense because engaging self-love is an important requisite for finding the love of another. Once I had finished my “list of twenty,” I added it to the altar, placing it under a small beeswax votive candle that I burned each time I sat. I left the altar in place, and I put it all aside in my mind.
During this time, I had also been thinking for a while of going back for my doctorate, and a few months after making my altar I signed up for graduate school. The first entry conference was in New York in August, but at the last moment I had to cancel that start date because of work. I then signed up to begin three months later in November, in Washington D.C., but the night before I was to begin I had to cancel because of a wave of uncharacteristic and overwhelming panic. I couldn’t figure it out, so I decided to honor it and cancel my start date again. I then decided to sign up to begin, now, two months later in January, in San Diego, and this time I kept the date.
Upon arrival I entered the conference room to start my class, and a man walked up to me and was very engaging. As a somewhat reserved Bostonian, I thought, “Whoa, he is much too friendly,” and I ignored him. He came up to me again at the break and again I thought, “What does this buster want anyway?” The next day he approached me again, and again and again over the ensuing days, and each time I gave him a gentle brush off. Then one day he came up to me and this time I paid attention to him, and truly for the first time looked into his eyes and realized that this man was someone with whom I should talk. We began by talking about our studies and our writing and work lives, and it was clear we had a lot to share and we were simpatico. Near the end of the ten-day conference, he shared with me about how he had decided to go to graduate school at this middle-aged time in his life. He told me that he had first planned to start in New York in August, but then had to cancel due to work. And then he had rescheduled for Washington D.C. in November, but again at the last minute, work caused a delay. So then he settled on starting at this moment in San Diego—all just exactly as I had done. This is how I met my future husband, who by the way, turned out to have all the attributes (and none of the deal breakers) on my “list of twenty,” which was still sitting on my altar.
You can create a love altar that means something to you using dime-store rings, herbs, flowers, candles, rocks, and incense, along with your all-important “list of 20.” But remember, when your loved one appears before you, you must open your eyes and recognize that what you have been asking for has indeed arrived!
Spices tickle our tongue, grab our breath, sting our fingers, and make our food come alive as they bring us pleasure and reveal hidden stories from the world’s cultures. As you explore these recipes, throw yourself into the unknown, pick a sensory response that you seek or a medicine you need, and take a long afternoon to immerse your hands in a mixing bowl of powdered gems and crooked roots that promise to delight, as they bring you health and well-being.
This is quick and easy recipe to make for any meal of the day, and yet it provides complex flavors worthy of brunch festivities. Building on the foundation of smoked paprika, Shakshouka originated in Tunisia and is now enjoyed the world over. I have adapted it a bit to add additional medicinal spices. It’s similar to the Mexican dish chilaquiles though instead of an oregano red sauce, we emphasize a paprika and cumin flavored profile.
Serves 4 to 6
In a deep sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and sauté the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. When the onions are translucent, add all the tomatoes, stir, and then add all the spices and let simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Make small indentations in the sauce for each egg and then gently pour an egg into each one. Sprinkle with feta cheese, if using, cover, and cook for 5 minutes on low or until the eggs are fully cooked. When you are ready to serve, add 1 or 2 eggs to a plate with plenty of sauce and top with fresh cilantro or parsley.
Bhang lassi is a traditional beverage that is made by grinding cannabis flowers into a paste and mixing the paste with milk, honey, and spices. This lassi uses CBD oil (not THC) to ease the pain of menstrual cramps, manage chronic pain, or induce sleep. Test out the effects of the lassi before you need it and when you are not required at work or an event. Consider a dose range of 2.5 to 20 milligrams for chronic pain and a range of 40 to 160 milligrams for sleep disorders. I always suggest starting out at 5 milligrams CBD oil and slowly increasing it until an effect is felt. Digesting cannabis with food takes longer than other forms of consumption, but its effects last longer as well.
Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until combined. Add ice if desired.
Make enough café de capomo in advance and keep it in the fridge so you can use it daily. A substitute for capomo is a shot of coffee but remember too much coffee will exhaust where a small amount provides a boost.
Makes 1 serving
Add the ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth. You can also add 2 to 3 ice cubes if you like. Drink daily.