Although each woman walks her own unique
journey, the one thing we all seem to have in common is the need to care for
others. Women have traditionally been the healers, nurturers and caregivers,
and as such, spend much of their time flowing their energy outward in service
to others and to the Earth. This outward flow of energy can be very draining. This
is one of the many places that herbs enter our lives with their grace and
beauty. Herbs fuel women’s bodies, minds and spirits so they can continue in
that service to others.
These beautiful plant teachers have been
healing and refueling us from the beginning of time. Plants openly and lovingly
share their gifts of healing and love with and for humanity and all creatures
of the Earth. Sharing this herbal wisdom with those we love and our communities
not only helps us to be better caretakers but also nourishes us personally so
we can continue on our unique journey with strength and courage.
We will look at some herbs traditionally used
to support women’s bodies, minds and spirits—herbs that increase vitality,
stabilize energy and moods, balance hormones, increase libido, and so much more.
Some herbs that immediately
come to mind are nettle, red raspberry leaf, chaste tree berry (vitex), ashwagandha,
motherwort and maca root. Let’s explore a few of these in more detail.
Nettle leaf – Many herbalists say, “If you are not sure what to do, give nettle.”
Let’s start by looking at the plethora of nutrients in nettle: It contains the minerals
iron, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, boron and
strontium; the vitamins A, C, K and B; and the phytonutrients chlorophyll,
beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and quercetin. This alkalizing, mineral-rich,
chlorophyll-rich blood purifier is used in myriad ways for women, such as in
formulas for bladder and urinary infections, fatigue (thyroid balancer), reducing
bleeding (so it’s useful for heavy periods) and diarrhea. Nettle is also used
as an energy restorer, allergy reliever, and mucus cleanser for asthma and lung
congestion. It is also rich in absorbable iron, so it’s great for anemia—and
the list goes on and on.
One of the simplest ways to
experience nettle is to make a strong infusion. This is a “ramped-up” formula
to kick-start your health. In a 1-quart jar, put 1 ounce of dried nettle leaf.
Then cover with boiling water and put your lid on. Give it a good shake. Let
this sit on your kitchen counter overnight. In the morning, strain out the herb
and start drinking small doses several times a day. This quart should last
about two days. The flavor is strong and green, so small shots throughout the
day make it easy to enjoy. You will quickly notice increased energy and a sense
of well-being. Do this for two or three times (six to seven days), or as long
as you feel the need. Your body will let you know when you are replenished with
the key nutrients nettle provides.
Motherwort – Leonurus cardiaca is sometimes called common motherwort.
But there is nothing common about its health benefits. From heart health to an
overactive thyroid, and all forms of anxiety or panic, motherwort is the
perfect helper. A simple cup of tea or a single dose of an extract can calm a
racing heart caused by anxiety and can help with menstrual cramping, due to its
anti-spasmodic properties. It is beautifully paired with hawthorn (another herb
for women) to strengthen the heart and for its relaxing nature.
known as Peruvian ginseng) – Commonly found in powder form or capsules and
tinctures, this is a tonic herb that can be used daily. The powder can be added
to your morning smoothie, oatmeal or just about anything that you ingest. It
has a history of increasing libido; reduces menopausal symptoms, such as hot
flashes and sleeplessness; and contains flavonoids, which can improve mood,
increase blood flow, and may increase athletic performance and reduce recovery
time. Give it a try for a week or two and see the results. You won’t want to be
another day without it. Try these easy-to-make Energy Balls for an afternoon
pick-me-up and sweet treat.
1 cup almond butter (or any
nut butter you like)
6-7 pitted dates
1 tsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp powdered maca
1 Tbsp coconut
Blend all the ingredients in a
food processor. Add more honey if necessary to make into a firm ball. Roll into
small balls, and roll in additional coconut or maca powder (or maybe cocoa
powder). Place in fridge for one week, but there likely won’t be any left in a
With plants so readily
available, women can be assured there is one (or 10) just right for them. Start
experimenting and experience their loving and healing nature. They are here to raise
Madalyn Johnson (left) and Kathleen Gould (right)
registered herbalist, and Madalyn Johnson are proprietors of SW Herb Shop and Gathering Place. Gould has been an herbalist for 30-plus years and has
extensive experience in herbal medicine. For more information, call
480-694-9931, or visit SWHerb.com or Store.SWHerb.com.