Really fun and inspiring herbal books

When people want to start learning about something, the first thing they do is often buy a book on the subject.

There are lots of great herbal books out there, which ones should you buy?

Is there a good herbal book to start with?

It is this question that had me create the Herbal Medicine Making Kit.

I know a lot of people who bought lots of herbal books, but don’t do much with them. The Kit allowed me to offer an experience where people could “do first” and “read later.”

I noticed once people had a little experience, the herbal books became much more accessible.

If you feel ready to build an herbal library, I have assembled this list of some of my favorite herbal books. Of course I don't have ALL my favorite herbal books listed, but this is a great place to start...

My Favorite Herbal Books

Healing Wise (Wise Woman Herbal Series), by Susun Weed

Healing Wise gives you a wonderful foundation in understanding the various traditions of healing and seeing where herbalism fits into them. It includes entire chapters on the most common, nourishing, and useful herbs. Most books give a couple pages at most. Susun goes into depth to really help you understand the plants. Rather than dizzy readers with her arsenal of knowledge, Susun chose to present the herbs in the best way to learn. She covers just a handful of herbs, BUT they are the most common of plants that have a multitude of uses. Susun engages you in actually touching and making something with the plant, rather than to just be a reference.

From Earth to Herbalist: An Earth-Conscious Guide to Medicinal Plants, by Gregory Tilford

Finally, someone wrote a book about how to approach the ethical and safe harvesting of herbs. This book has a great introduction to herbal wildcrafting (harvesting plants in the wild) and wonderful monographs of dozens of medicinal herbs. This lesser known title has become one of my most prized references, and I’ll teach you how to use it in Roots and Branches. I am an herbalist that likes to learn about the plants growing around me, how to pick them, process them and use them. I am not sure how I would have learned how to harvest some plants I regularly do without this valuable mentor.


Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs, by Gail Faith Edwards

Like From Earth to Herbalist and Healing Wise, this looks at the herbs from an earth-based perspective. Gail covers dozens of herbs, weaving in traditional stories and uses with her own experience. The herbals I trust the most are the ones written by people who use the herbs themselves and write from their own personal experiences. Opening our Hearts to the Healing Herbs is ALWAYS in my top 3 books I reference when learning about a plant. Always. This could very well qualify as a good “first book” to buy.

 

Home Remedy Herbal Books

These great herbal books talk about herbs from a remedy or ailment perspective...

Rosemary Gladstar's Family Herbal: A Guide to Living Life with Energy, Health, and Vitality

Prevention is the best medicine. And THIS is the very best “life style” book you’ll find. It’s also beautiful to look at. I don’t think there’s any general health topic for living a healthy life not covered here. And of course, you’ll learn about loads of herbs. There are tons of simple recipes in Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal, and all are made from herbs that are easy to grow, pick or find. Every family should have this book.

 

1001 Natural Remedies (Natural Health Magazine), Laurel Vukovic

This is a COOL book. You look up a rememdy section, such as “high cholesterol,” “back aches,” or “nausea,” and it lists a page or two of the simplest and most effective remedies you’ll come across. It’s totally realistic, because when you have a condition, you just want something quick and simple. Most likely, this will be the first book you grab when something happens. There’s also a ton of lifestyle information… from cleaning with herbs, natural pest control, the natural kitchen, and so on and so forth. I LOVE this book.


Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria (Storey Medicinal Herb Guide), Stephen Harrod Buhner

The books listed above are teaching you about the plants, and not through a particular health concern. This book should really be called “Herbs for you immune system.” Not only will this book help with bacterial issues, but also viruses such as cold and flus. You learn all about different kinds of bacteria, and all about the key herbs you should know about. You learn about how to strengthen your immune system with all sorts of great recipes and remedies. It’s the best “small” herb book ever written. Since everyone gets colds and flus and the occasional bacterial infection, I think it’s a good one for everyone to get. I am always looking up stuff in Herbal Antibiotics.

 



Best book for finding your way as an herbalist in the world

The Herbalist's Way: The Art and Practice of Healing with Plant Medicines, by Nancy & Michael Phillips

(Recommended for Roots and Branches)

If you want to know the possibilties for you becoming an herbalist and fitting your skills into your community, this is THE book.

  • Roles and responsibilities of herbalists in their communities

  • Herbal workshops, conferences, and education centers

  • Growing, drying, and preparing medicinal herbs

  • Learning to listen to clients and recommend holistic treatments for healing and continued wellness

  • Licensing, marketing, and other legal and business issues facing modern herbalists

  • Comprehensive resources and suggestions for building your herbal library


Gardening

Growing 101 Herbs that Heal: Gardening Techniques, Recipes, and Remedies, by Tammi Hartung

There are many gardening books and many herbal books, and this is the best one that actually teaches you how to grow the most useful medicinal herbs. What more is there to say?

 

Kids

A Kid's Herb Book, by Lesley Tierra

This book is subtitles “For children of all ages,” and she is right. Maybe THIS should be your first herbal book…seriously. It’s presented in a graphical child like way, but it’s really for adults to use with kids…TONS and TONS of remedies AND activities you can do to teach your kids about herbs. But you know? Pretty much everything you need to know is in this book. We really love this book. Truly magical.



Pregnant or just have a baby?

Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, by Susun Weed

When we were pregnant with both our kids, it was the ONLY book we used and the ONLY book we needed. Face it, everyone is trying to give you information and it is overwhelming, right? Susun cuts to the chase. Enough said…

 

Botany Books

If you want to learn how to learn about plants, these will help…

Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification, by Tom Elpel

If you are serious about learning the plants of your area, you MUST have this. It is crucial to learn about plant families when learning all that grows around you. It makes learning a LOT easier. Now, this used to be a painful process, until Tom Elpel came to town with this incredible resource. He just gives you the botany you need to know and that’s it. No fluff or dry academic stuff. You’ll be amazed as you explore the world of plant families. Like, did you know cashews and mangos are in the same family as poison ivy? Yup…


Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids Ages 9-99, by Tom Elpel

This is the kids version of Botany in a Day...but NOT really. It’s for ages 9-99. It’s presented as a children’s book, and is FULL of information. I recommend reading this first, and then using Botany in a Day. It’s REALLY beautiful and kids LOVE it, well, at least mine did. It’s like Wildcraft!, in that the adults get to learn while playing with their kids.


 




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