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About Hilary Jacobson
While still in her teens, Hilary Jacobson studied music abroad in Switzerland. After becoming a mother, she changed her career path and dedicated her life to the reclamation of forgotten but crucial areas of women's medicine. She was certified as a Holistic Lactation Consultant in Switzerland and, over a span of fifteen years, wrote and published the tome: Mother Food.
Jacobson's three books for breastfeeding mothers each address areas of holistic knowledge that are critical for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. They are frequently recommended by healthcare professionals to mothers with specific struggles.
Most recently, Hilary Jacobson co-authored a work of metaphysical fiction that interweaves women's herbalism with spiritual practices and cultural insights: Red Madder Root, Tales of Initiation: A Novel of Fairytales and Forgotten Histories.
In 2013, Jacobson was certified in mindfulness and somatic-based hypnotherapy. Her practice supports parents and healthcare professionals.
Today she is preparing a new edition of Mother Food. She holds online classes and is a guest speaker at medical conferences and summits.
Find her at motheringinnovations.com and hilaryjacobson.com
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Titles By Hilary Jacobson
An illuminating novel of women's forgotten history, medicine, and spirituality, Red Madder Root takes us on a visionary time-traveling quest through millennia and across dimensions, revealing sacred truths that are encoded in the tales we tell our children.
The shamanic apprentice, Mayana, is deemed ready to learn the "Old Ways." The stories she hears are our traditional fairytales but re-told as the true stories of future times. In these tales, Mayana witnesses the hardships of (mostly) women who strive to pass on crucial medical knowledge that can protect the lives of women and children. All herbs having to do with pregnancy, birth, and milk production are forbidden by the Catholic Church because women are supposedly condemned to suffer in childbirth by the Old Testament God, as punishment for Eve's sin.
Mayana beholds the heroic journeys of girls, parents, rulers, and leaders who join together to forge a better future for humanity. Yet the suppression of women and of the common people continues, into modern times.
The tales are also initiations. They reveal a system of knowledge in which spirituality, sexuality, and a connection to the natural world is encoded in the body as lived experiences of joy, focus, calm, and true sight. Because the Initiations are forbidden by the Church, they are encoded into the tales we tell our daughters as symbols, so as not to be entirely forgotten: wolf and grandmother, tree and well, tower, mirror, golden orb.
The future well-being of her people depends on Mayana’s final initiation. She must pass through the portal of death and assist future generations. Only then can she wear the sacred cloak that is dyed red with the madder root.
"Red Madder Root is a great read and an invaluable contribution to women’s literature that provides hints about the "Old Ways" before women’s knowledge of biological and spiritual experience was suppressed. It interweaves knowledge about female sexuality and the healing power of herbs into several reframed traditional “girls' stories,” while taking us on a journey towards the resolution of our conscious and unconscious desires and conflicts. The overarching theme is one of positive transformation, even during the darkest of times."
— Dr. Diane Hennacy MD, author of The ESP Enigma: The Scientific Case for Psychic Phenomena
About the Uses of the Red Madder Root
The red root of the madder plant is used to dye fabric, wool, and fur into beautiful shades of red. This use has been practiced from prehistoric times to today.
The plant has many medicinal uses, including for women: it will hasten a stalled childbirth and stimulate menstruation, as a so-called "emmenagogue."
An emmenagogue is a plant or food that “encourages” menstruation, either by stimulating the release of the blood, or by increasing blood flow.
In medieval times, the Catholic Church forbade growing or using plants that might cause the end of a pregnancy. Their use was severely punished, even by death.
Emmenagogues are not meant to end an established pregnancy. Rather, their use just before and during the expected menstrual flow might possibly prevent a pregnancy from taking hold.
In societies where women are subject to repeated pregnancies, childbirth exhaustion, and untimely death, the preventative use of a gentle emmenagogue such as Red Madder Root saves the lives of millions of women and children.
Jacobson describes ways to grow galactagogues in containers, on windowsills, shelves and kitchen counters. She encourages mothers to start small—sprouting seeds or legumes or growing microgreens. A dedicated container on a balcony or porch, a patch of the yard that is reserved for dandelions and other lactogenic weeds, vegetables and flowers make growing galactagogues doable in most living situations.
Years ago, Jacobson noticed that her milk supply increased dramatically when eating garden-fresh plants, and her fascination with living-medicine was born. This book honors the fact that over hundreds of thousands of years, humans have enjoyed an intimate and intuitive relationship with the living medicine of plants. Women have identified specific plants that support their milk production—plants that grow in our gardens, meadows, fields, and even in the cracks of our sidewalks, plants that are free for the taking, are the gifts of nature for us all.
The chemistry of lactation is the same the world over for all women. As well, women the world over use the same plants or the same plant families to support milk supply: whether in South or North America, Africa, the Middle-East, Europe and Asia, the plants and foods are largely the same.
Western-based medical institutions, developed primarily by men, have enforced a medical paradigm that separates humans from our healing food traditions. Hospitals and birthing clinics must provide lactogenic meals and beverages to women after childbirth. As we attempt to recover and heal from the overbearing influence of patriarchal attitudes in medicine, integrating holistic frames will help us heal our birth and breastfeeding traumas.
In March 2020, when the US population was instructed to stay indoors because of the pandemic, Jacobson began to focus on writing this book. She asked herself, “What would happen if the supply chain of food and medicine were to break down? If mothers had problems accessing formula? Would mothers know which of the grasses, herbs, flowers, and “weeds” that grow in the yards and fields, and even in sidewalk cracks, are strong milk-boosters?
Jacobson believes that this information must be available, known, and implemented, as we do not know what challenges lie ahead. But while written to serve as a guide to mothers in an emergency, it also serves as a guide for mothers with low milk supply or with an interest in women’s medicine.Get in touch with your ancient past and your human creativity and versatility by interacting with plants. Protect your health and the wellbeing of your community. This is the heart of Jacobson’s message.
Be initiated into the secret knowledge that is encoded in the Grimm's Girls' Tales by listening to Mayana's shamanic Grandmother re-tell these stories in line with women's history from Stone Age through the Dark Ages and Middle Ages, and up to the Enlightenment. We hear the story of Red Riding Hood as the quintessential conflict of women's self-identity; Rapunzel's Tale as a path to healing knowledge, Snow White's tale as a struggle to change laws and culture, to prevent violence and increase prosperity and well-being; Cinderella's tale as a path to enlightenment; and the Frog Princess tale as a rebellion against the suppression of humanity, and the joining together of generations under the "enlightenment" of love.
Fall in love with Grandmother and Mayana as they share future visions and seek the purpose of life and the courage to "carry on" with personal integrity and fervor, even in the face of unrelenting darkness.