May 29, 2009

Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year

by Susun S. Weed

I loved this book. It really appealed to my emotional roots in the semi-counter-culture of the 80's, where I spent a lot of time as a child absorbing the cool differentness of my parents and their friends.

It's also actually a useful resource :-) It describes the properties and uses of a variety of herbs in a variety of forms for a variety of problems and/or needs during the time just before, during, and just after pregnancy. While I have read other books which include herbal remedies for childbearing, I felt this book gave me a better sense of herbs as medicine and how to use them as such in a way that respects their potency and potential for benefit . . . and harm. I also appreciated the detailed instructions on how to find, prepare, and store herbs for medicinal use.

One thing I did notice was that there is not a lot of explanation of why herbs work. That is a little off-putting to the scholar-huntress in me. I want to understand why and how things work, and I like it when people experiment and find empirical evidence for what they think and what they think works. That is not the place the author of this book is coming from. The herbalist tradition, at least as she presents it, is one of inherited wisdom which can be added to by an herbalist's personal experience, but which does not really need to be skeptically verified. I respect this perspective, but it's not one I choose for myself very often.

No comments: