An Evening with Susan Weed

Herbal Infusions


Infusions are the thing. My new enthusiasm. {caveat: the enthusiasm didn't last, as you will later see} They are different from simple herb teas. A hundred fold different. They have a hundred times the minerals, a hundred times the vitamins, says Susan Weed.

To make an infusion you take a clean one liter bottle, put in an ounce (28 grams) of dried herb (to start with we are going to use nettles), add boiling water right to the top. Close the jar and leave it stand for at least four hours, or over night. This is an infusion. Susan says that infusions are the elixir of life.

Susan Weed is a middle-aged hippy and she is vibrant. She sounds like she comes from New York. She's a clown, but she's no nonsense and she takes no prisoners. She can be quite abrasive. "I don't answer 'what about…' questions," she says. "What about that orange jersey? What about it? And I don't know what to make of 'What's good for…' questions. What's good for parasites? Food, blood, is good for parasites, and warm bodies." Susan Weed, of the wise woman's ways, is lots of wind: a summer's breeze, a winter's gale. She blew me away.

I've bought the package with a lot of enthusiasm, at least enough to try it: to try her infusions. (I haven't been this enthused about a panacea since I blew $30,000 on a state of the art darkfield microscope and dipped my toes in charlatanism.)

Susan Weed's elixir is almost a complete nutrient - it is a total nutrient, she says, if you add fermented raw milk products to your diet (yogurt, cheese). "Anyone who is an enemy of milk, hates mother!" she adds. The elixir, though, is a plant, or one of several plants. Susan Weed is into "simples". Simples are one plant at a time, instead of formulas.

Susan comes in to the seminar… she comes onto the stage and sings; "The spirits of the plants have come to be in the image of a beautiful green woman…"

Susan Weed is dancing with her litre bottle of nettle infusion. It's dark. Opaque. (Now mine, now that I've started making them, isn't opaque. Just dark.) And it's all you'll need to cure most of what ails you, says Susan. It's the answer to Chronic Fatigue, and it is as simple as grandmother's pantry.

Infusions are the secret and, as we've said, they are not teas. They are a hundred times richer then teas. All the minerals you could every need. All the vitamins (except B12).

Let's repeat the formula. Take a clean liter bottle. Add one ounce or 28 grams or fill the bottle about a fifth to a quarter full with dry herbs (nettle, in the first instances). Top it with boiling water and leave it stand for 4 hours or over night. Once you open it, refrigerate it. And most important, says Susan, do not throw the used herb in the trash. Put it on the soil, on the earth (or in the compost). ("If you don't treat the plant with respect," says Susan, "it will not honour you.")

"Why dried herb? Why not fresh?" I asked. Because the fresh herb is three parts water. Four ounces of fresh herb will dry to one ounce. (So, firstly, it will fill the jar, and secondly, you've got that much tepid water in there.)

Stinging nettles. Susan says nettles rebuild the adrenals and the kidneys.

When you tire of nettle, which Susan says is when you are ready for a change, you can switch to:
~ red clover, or
~ comfrey leaf, or
~ "oat straw" (green oats as a herb).

Susan says you will get everything you need from green infusions and raw dairy. (Where can one find raw milk? You can ask a farmer for raw milk for your sick dog.) Weed says supplements are deadly.

Can you get too much iron from nettles? No, Weed says. With the infusions the body just takes what it needs.

And Susan says you can't get any nutrition from raw food (except, of course, raw fish, raw meat, raw milk), or very little, because of the cells walls. You have to break down the cell's walls by "cooking" in one way or another. So she cooks her vegetable, cooks them well. "Doesn't cooking kill the enzymes?" Yes, but so does stomach acid and digestion. So what? With salads, she says, it is the oil in the dressing that breaks down the cell wall. She talked about how herbivores have microbes in their guts that cook their greens and grass for them before they, actually, re-eat them. And fruit: fruit, she says, is only good for you when ripe! Otherwise it is raw and useless.

There are five foods on Susan's table with every meal:
~ a whole grain (freshly milled!),
~ a green (avoid oxalic acid, though, in spinach, beet greens, collards, chard - if in doubt stick to the cabbage family),
~ a protein (cheese, beans, meat),
~ a fermented food (miso, tamari, yogurt, cheese, sour kraut), and
~ fresh wild salad, unwashed!

She is asked, if you eat unwashed salad, won't you get parasites? Parasites, she says, are part of our natural heritage, our natural environment. Without them our immune systems turn in on ourselves and we get ulcerative colitis (with reference to gut parasite. Without germs, in general, we get asthma or the autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.). "Too clean is mean," she says.

Other of Susan's axioms included: "They say 'No pain, no gain', but the wise woman says, "No pleasure, no treasure.' "

I found Susan Weed inspiring - I've started infusing and order in bulk supply of nettles to see if I can shake off my fatigue - but Weed is not without a little nonsense. Milk, she says, is the mother of civilization. Milking beasts were the first animals domesticated and they were the beginning of horticulture in general. It was for their milk animals that humans first started cultivating plants, and building shelters. "And the opposable thumbs," she crows, triumphantly miming milking. Ah, but Susan, we don't really use our thumbs to milk. We just squeeze the fingers in a fist.

Infusions. I'm going to try them on a regular basis and see what gives. I'll get back to you.   16th May 2002

Update: now, I've not done it every day, but I'm still feeling tired as of 25th July 2002.

2007: Saw no change. Abandoned Weed's "infusions" (though I still make a simple tea, a simple infusion, of Hawthorne, Motherwort, Willow bark each morning. 2010 - went on, just anecdotally) to have a heart attack. Survived through high tech med. Maybe I should have persisted with the infusions, and not eaten so many omelet and homefries).