Monday, July 12, 2010

Sage Advice

This afternoon, I clipped six leaves off my sage plants and made an herbal tea for me and Patsy and Claire. I poured  hot (not boiling) water into the teacups (two leaves a piece) and left the mixture to steep for ten minutes. The drink turned out to be a soothing minty-flavored tea and we all enjoyed it. The tea idea came from some sage advice found in the book, "New Menopausal Years: the Wise Woman Way" by Susun S. Weed.

I went kind of crazy on Amazon, recently, with one-click shopping and bought enough books on menopause that it should take me into the next decade to read all of them. But the most appealing one so far is Weed's. She didn't start off first with a patronizing sermon about losing weight and starting an exercise program like one silly book did. It didn't start off, either, listing all the symptoms in a terrifying sort of mantra of doom and gloom as another did. And it didn't ask you to purchase a confusing and likely toxic recipe of expensive bottled nutritional supplements.

Instead, Weed's Wise Woman Way appealed to my inner goddess, or rather my strong woman credo. Her sensible advise and soothing words explained that this path is just like any other of life's hardships, one to face bravely and to conquer, but to do it with acceptance, grace and commitment. (Alice must slew the Jabberwocky! Me, I've already done that. Bring on Menopause!) And really it went straight to my heart with a rather appealing idea that any gardener would appreciate. Weed's approach is to enlist "herbal allies," common plants found in most backyard gardens.

"When we consume phytoestrogen-rich plants we allow our individual bodies to create precisely the hormones we need," says Weed. Phytoestrogen plants are those that contain an estrogen that is similar in chemical structure to human estrogen: seaweeds; roots of dandelion, carrot and yam; seeds like nuts, grains and beans; buds like artichokes and berries. Women who consume these estrogen-rich plants in their diets "don't need to adjust their hormone dosages the way women on pills and patches do," says Weed.

Well, I'm down for that. I'm not taking any more pills. I'm already a tamoxifen junkie, who has to pop an aspirin every other day so that the darn tamoxifen doesn't cause me to stroke.

I'm going to carefully study each of the ten herbs that the Wise Woman recommends. Today, I went to Weed's sage page (p.159). I'm growing sage (Salvia officinalis) in my container garden on the deck just outside my kitchen door. An old wives' tale says that "where sage doth grow well and vigorous, therein rules a strong woman." Huzzah!

According to Weed, it will prevent and regulate night sweats, reduce mood swings, calm your crazy side, ease inflammation, aid with digestion (be gone flatulence I trounce you with sage!), help with headaches, strengthen your liver (Woo Hoo,  Margaritas?), vanquish joint pain. 

And for you still youthful ladies, it will sooth menstrual cramps, too.

Let's hear it for the sage old sage plant! How about you come over and we mix up a pot of sage tea? The Putterer

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