Copyright Statement
All articles are copyright Julene Tripp Weaver. If you are an individual, you may download the article for your personal use. Please contact author directly for permission to quote or any other usage.. Find contact info here:

Herbal Corner
By Julene Tripp Weaver

A Day With Susun Weed and A Group of HIV Positive Women on the East Coast

I have been doing a herbal correspondence course with herbalist Susun Weed. I am focusing my studies on Immune Health, or Living Healthy With HIV. Susun was approached by a group of HIV positive women in her area to do a presentation on Immune Health; Susun asked me to come to her farm, in upstate New York, to be part of this day and share what I have been studying and learning. She also invited me to stay at her farm and use her library. I eagerly planned my vacation around this invitation.

In anticipation I sent out a letter introducing myself to this group. I enclosed back issues of the Babes Newsletter. On October 19th at Susun's farm I met eight women from the Albany New York area who have a similar program to Babes. Their name is "By Women For Women." Like Babes they meet socially and have educational outings. They do not have the kind of funding Babes has been able to get so there is no central employee or office space. They work out of their homes and do some fundraising.

Susun prepared a simple agenda focusing on basic information. The agenda was: Infusions, Vinegars and The Soup we had for lunch! As usual in any of Susun's workshops we started with a talking stick so each woman can ask questions, say what they want out of the day or state any needs.

Susun sees the immune system, the nervous system and the hormonal system as a braid. It is important for us to maintain each of these as they are crucial to immune health. She addressed how important it is for us to be in a positive mind frame and to lower stress levels. Cells are made in our body all the time, we are constantly in regeneration, and it is vital that we express ourselves fully in a healthy way. When we feel positive the cells are made in this healthy vibration. This caused a lot of discussion, questions such as, "When I'm sad is this bad for new cells being made," Susun's answer was if you feel good about being sad, if you are truly in your sadness and okay with it then the vibratory level of the cells being made is healthy. If you are not okay with how you are feeling, whether it be sadness, anger, or any emotion, then the cells being made pick up this negative energy. She cited scientific studies done by Dr. Candace Pert who was featured on the Bill Moyers special, Healing & Mind.


An infusion is the easiest way of ingesting minerals. Minerals are small rocks that sit inside cell walls, they have been absorbed from the soil. Cell walls break down when the plant is dried and when infused in the hot water for at least 4 hours osmosis happens; the minerals dissolve into the water. So your body assimilates the minerals from this rich plant water supplying your body with the minerals you need. An infusions will last up to 2 days if you keep it in the refrigerator, if you don't use up your infusion in a day you can use it in cooking (in a soup base or to make rice).

How to make an infusion:
1) take one ounce of a dried herb put it into a quart jar, 2) cover it with boiling water,
3) let it sit for at least four hours up to overnight.
The next day you drain it and drink it throughout the day. Examples of herbs you can do this with are: nettles leaves -- builds energy, rebuilds adrenals, kidneys, liver, and immune system, also rich in carotenes, oatstraw -- balances the nervous system if it is too nervous or too slow it will work to "rewire" your system, blue violet leaves -- excellent for the lungs and intestines, red clover flower and leaves -- anti cancer and a strong blood builder, raspberry leaves -- a good hormonal herb for women.

A question came up of whether St. John's Wort or Hypericum could be used as an infusion. In a previous article (Using St. John's Wort as an Anti-Viral) I talked about the best way to use St. John's wort as a medicinal plant, either as an oil transdermally on the skin or in a tincture form. The infusions and vinegars are nutritional building blocks supplying our body with minerals and fortification necessary to build up, stay strong and protect against invasions and it could be used this way, but to get the best medicinal properties of St. John's Wort use it as a oil or as a tincture. Susun brought out some of her St. John's oil to pass around. This plant acts as an anti-viral as well as a anti-depressant.


Next she focused on making herbal vinegars. Vinegar extracts have high amounts of minerals and trace nutrients from fresh herbs. For example one tablespoon of a vinegar that has been made with a fresh wild plant is equal to 300 mg calcium (same as a glass of milk).

How to make vinegars:
1) pack a jar full with fresh plant material (pick it yourself or fresh from a friend's garden).
2) cover to top with pasteurized organic apple cider vinegar.
3) put a piece of plastic between the top and the lid, cover and let sit for 6 weeks before using.

Wild foods and herbs you can use include: fresh springtime nettles leaves, motherwort leaves, catnip or any of the mints, dandelion (leaves and root), burdock root (a yang tonic - diabetic, skin problems, cold sores), yellow dock (1), goldenrod (Susun explained people are not allergic to goldenrod despite popular opinion because it is insect pollinated and no one is allergic to plants that are insect pollinated), and the stalks of shaiitake mushrooms. A special concoction can be made using daikon (a radish/vegetable that is a tonic for immune system, a strengthener, and also builds resistance to cancer), or burdock root, using half vinegar and half tamari. Steam them mildly then add, in thirds, the steaming water, nurtritional vinegar and tamari. You can use the vinegar tamari liquid as well as eat the marinated vegetables.

Our Lunch

The wild food salad is important in Susun's life, wild greens supply the enzymes we need. Susun claims if we eat two fresh dandelion leaves per day we will get all the enzymes and vitamins we need for that day. Every day she eats a salad of wild greens with her main meal.

The salad we had for lunch included: sheep sorrel, lamb's quarter (rich in iron, for anemia), purslane (rich in Essential Fatty Acid's good for immune and circulatory system), garlic mustard, mustard greens (for immune system), mint (such as hyssop), nasturtium leaves and flowers (an immune strengthener), and chickweed. Many of these plants can be harvested locally, for example chickweed is abundant locally and grows through most of the winter season, in fact it prefers the colder weather. It is a good wild food to add to your regular salads.

Immune Boosting Soup
Ingredients in the Immune Boosting Soup included:
Orange and lemon peel (removes grease and is an antiseptic). Where do you get your citrus peel? Buy organic fruit and after you eat it dry the peels and save them. They can be dried in the oven on low, or just sitting out, do not put in the sun or they will loose their volatile oil which is what you want. Add the dried peel when you cook soups and beans. They are strengthening for kidneys and are a mild acting estrogen.
Seaweed - Kelp - bullwhip kelp - Algin is a constituent of kelp that acts like a glue; it swells up and draws to itself radioactivity, lead, heavy metals, cadmium and carries them out with your bowel movement. It has the quality of absorption. Algin is in ice cream, face creams, and yogurt as a thickener.
Orange vegetables & dark green vegetables which are full of carotenes. Carotenes are difficult to digest from raw foods.
Astragulus is a Chinese herb that is a mild nutritive, it builds stress resistance into body. Much research has been done on this herb and its immune building properties. It has been specifically recommended to fight HIV. Susun put about twelve dried sliced roots into a big pot of soup.
Shiitake mushrooms are cure all mushrooms and have been specifically recommended to fight HIV.
Mints have antiseptic oils that counter Opportunistic Infections and are rich in antioxidants. Examples: thyme and rosemary.

(1) Dandelion, burdock root and yellow dock root have starch so the vinegar will turn milky, this starch is good for you and you should mix it into the vinegar you use on your food.

Disclaimer: Please be advised this is a sharing of information that is not meant to be used to replace medical treatment and your own intuitive sense of your body and what it needs. Please see your medical provider (Dr., Naturopath, Acupuncturist, etc.) to follow up on suggestions.