Building an Herbal Library

Desiree
Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

I saw this today and thought I would share it as it has some lovely book suggestions. It has ideas for beginners to advanced and everything in between.

https://theherbalacademy.com/101-herbal-books/?fbclid=IwAR1Rb_pP00bS-wy5nidYf6B3wuVk7DQwwHmge_5CAShjJiUUSbAdGBtc_JM

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Comments

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,483 admin

    @Desiree wow that is an enormous list. To the book collectors out there, which to choose. I'd be interested to hear what others say about this list. Who are the favoured authors, etc. Thanks for posting.

  • frogvalley
    frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

    Great list! I have a lot of them, but now I have something to add to my Christmas wish list. A hunting I will go.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,456 admin
    edited October 2020

    Hmm... I have a big library....

    If I could recommend only 1 or 2 books for beginners, it would be Maria Treben's two classics. The older herbals are great, whether the old English ones or monastic medicine of the middle ages or the ancient Greeks, but they are esoteric. Some newer ones are very good Some really are not. If it claims to have forgotten or lost knowledge or spells, don't bother with it. Herbal medicine was in constant and open use into the 20th century... the "re-discovered" in the 1970s. So, anything good has usually been in use for a long time. Treben was great because she presented common sense, tried and true herbal remedies at the right time, when herbal medicine was really being stamped out by government over reach. It is also good to know the indigenous herbal medicine of your region. IF TCM or Ayurveda is your interest, that is super cool. But, I think one is better served to learn the plants that grow around them naturally. Plants and people tend to evolve together. If I lived in Bavaria, I'd be a hard core Kneipp practitioner! I live in the mountains of NC, where the plants are a mix of native and what the settlers brought with them. So, my tradition looks to the Cherokee, the English, the Celts and the German/Swiss. In all honesty, I would not buy many of those on the list.

  • ltwickey
    ltwickey Posts: 369 ✭✭✭

    Thank you for the post. I have several of the books listed in the various categories. But an avid book collector, I will also have some of these on my Christmas wish list!!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,632 admin

    @jodienancarrow I have narrowed down the list of my choices to 8. Some I have but would like to get 22, 32, 53 & 65.

    22. The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual by James Green (B) –  Authoritative yet lighthearted guide to making all kinds of herbal preparations, complete with detailed step-by-step instructions and the why and how to help it all make sense.

    29. A Modern Herbal Vol. 1 and A Modern Herbal Vol. 2 by Maud Grieve (B) – Written in 1931 and a beloved classic, presents a fascinating look at herbalism that is a blend of earlier sources like Culpeper alongside the herbal folklore of the British Isles and modern (at the time) science and botany; includes an extensive A to Z compilation of plant profiles. Also available online at Botanical.com.

    30. Culpeper’s Complete Herbal by Nicholas Culpeper (I) – Originally published in 1653 and still in print, details 411 herbs and their uses, remedies, and cautions from Culpeper’s blend of Greek medicine and astrological herbalism. Also available online at Archives.org.

    31. Kings American Dispensatory by Harvey Felter and John Lloyd (I) – The extensive materia medica of the Eclectic physicians at the Eclectic Medical Institute, first published in 1854. Also available online at Henriette’s Herbal Homepage.

    32. The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy by Finley Ellingwood and John Uri Lloyd (I) – Published in 1919, an extensive materia medica arranged by ailments of the various body systems. Also available at Henriette’s Herbal Homepage

    44. Botany in a Day by Thomas J. Elpel (B) – Teaches a novel way of identifying plants by observing their plant family patterns and characteristics, which often also give clues to their edible or medicinal usage. This is at the top of the list for a must have in any herbal library.

    53. Medicinal Mushrooms: An Exploration of Tradition, Healing, & Culture (Herbs and Health Series) by Christopher Hobbs (B) – Describes the use of fungi for food and wellness in Eastern and Western cultures and details the benefits of more than 100 species of edible fungi. 

    54. Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets (B) – a fascinating and comprehensive look at mushrooms role in a healthy ecosystem and how they can (and do) support the wellness of the planet; includes medicinal and nutritional information as well as growing methods. 

    65. Food as Medicine: The Theory and Practice of Food by Todd Caldecott (B) – Using the theories of Ayurveda and modern science, offers practical nutritional guidance (and recipes) to support individual wellness

    I have some of the others on the very extensive list that the Herbal Academy has provided and they are good books but many I do not know either by title or author. That's not to say that they aren't good books. Just ones I haven't run across. Susun and Rosemary's books are very good for women's health. I am surprised that neither of Rosalee's books are on the list. Michael Moore's plant books are great but less so if you live in the Eastern part of the continent. So get a good plant identification book for the area you live in. Lone Pine is a publisher of identification books that are quite area specific. They are the books that botanists and herbalists in my area carry in the field.

    @judsoncarroll4 is right about learning what is around you and then you can branch out into other herbal traditions. Check out First Nations in your area to see if they offer any classes and sometimes you will be lucky enough to find a medicinal plant book written by elders. I have several of those and they are among my most treasured books.

    Thanks for starting the discussion @Desiree.

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm going to have to study this list. I have been paring down my herbal library because I've found a lot of books don't have great information. I started out buying every one I found, especially at yard sales or thrift stores.

    Much like my recipe books, I'm looking to keep the ones I actually use.

    I'll get back to you on the ones from this list that I have and use. And tell you the ones I love.

    I was mentored in herbal medicine by John Gallagher, of Learning Herbs and Herb Mentor, so I trust the herbalist that are frequent contributors on those sites. Rosalee de la Forêt, Maria Noel Groves, David Hoffman, 7song, Rosemary Gladstar, and a few others are my go-to. And Dr. Jones, of course!

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning I think that would be a good category! I am interested in hearing others thoughts on resources. I have been studying herbalism for two years and still feel that there is so much more to learn. I am so grateful for the community here and the willingness to share knowledge.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,456 admin

    Ph, one of my teachers learned from 7 Song, too.. I think that is something you, me and @torey all have in common! HIs name Was Tom Lightwater - he died almost 20 years ago..

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 , Cool! I love that some of us have such interesting connections!

  • dottile46
    dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭

    @monica197 oh yes I do!

  • Acequiamadre
    Acequiamadre Posts: 269 ✭✭✭

    Thanks for sharing the list--getting the book is one thing. Finding time to read them another.

    Then, spending time with each plant or herb. Enough learning to keep me busy for a lifetime!

    For me, I am working on reading and studying books specific to the Southwest. I love how a plant will show up in my life and then be the perfect plant needed.

    Thoughts on Southwest plant books?

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,456 admin
    edited October 2020
  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,456 admin
    edited October 2020

    Here is a really pretty book I got recently. It isn't super heavy on herbal formulas and such, but it is very useful for me in my area. Maria Treben's books are better on the uses for the herbs and specific formulas. But, nearly every herb that was used by the herbalists in Germany and Switzerland, etc, grows in my area of the Appalachians... either wild or introduced. The photography in this book is really spectacular and will be very helpful in helping me identify some of those that I don't use much and haven't harvested in the wild before, come next spring. BTW, I got this for less than $5 used, so it was a great purchase.


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,632 admin

    In agreement with Michael Moore. There are three on the list in the link. #45, 45 & 47.

    If you are close to the Rockies or any other mountain range for that matter, there are a couple of good Lone Pine Publishing books, "Plants of the Rocky Mountains" and "Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rockies". They don't have many others listed on their website but Amazon has a huge listing and you might find one specific to your area or state.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    I totally understand that it is difficult to find time to read every book out there, but for me it is more about having hands on resources to look things up in.

    I like to take photos of plants/trees/etc. as I walk. I have a small journal in my pocket to keep track of where I am taking the photo, a brief description of the environment and plant itself, (so I can match the photo) and then come home to identify and research if they interest me. I like the internet for some of it but I also know that there may be a time when that is not available and want it on hand. I get so excited when I can properly identify in the field after verifying at home. This encourages me to continue finding new and fascinating plants.

    I am in the Midwest and my region is so diverse geographically that a single book on Midwest flora and fauna may not be truly reflective of the part of Ohio I live in. I live in an area that was former swampland, formerly flattened by glaciers and is more agricultural use than forested. So for me, I need many difference resources.

    I love the dialogue of this thread and reading all the other ideas that people use.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,632 admin

    @Desiree Lone Pine Publishing has the following books: "Wildflowers of Tennessee, Ohio Valley and Southern Appalacians", "Mushroom of Northeast North America", "Trees of Michigan" and "Trees of Illinois". If you check out local book stores your might find others that are more specific to your area. I;m sure there are many others out there that are very good books but I personally like the Lone Pine series as do most of the herbalists and botanists that I know. They carry Lone Pine books in the field.

  • Cornelius
    Cornelius Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭

    I recommend Dr. Jones The Home Grown Herbalist. My favorite thing is that he also talks about herbs to use on animals and I personally have not seen another book that does that.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,456 admin

    Wildflowers of Tennessee, Ohio Valley and Southern Appalachians is very good!

  • MelissaLynne
    MelissaLynne Posts: 205 ✭✭✭
    edited November 2020

    Thanks @LaurieLovesLearning for the new category! I look forward to finding out about everyone’s favorite resources. 😊

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,513 admin

    @MelissaLynne Me too! I think this area will be really good.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    @LaurieLovesLearning Thanks for the new category! I think it will be a very helpful resources for all stages of learning.

  • flowerpower *
    flowerpower * Posts: 257 ✭✭✭

    Herbalism has always seemed too complicated for me. The link has the comment that it is a life time journey to learn it. I have been drawn into it bit by bit and started more seriously to make my own medicines to save money, to heal myself and to be resilient. I think the suggestion of "Botany in a Day" by Thomas J. Elpel could help me out. Plant Identification is definitely a stumbling point for me for new plants.

  • flowerpower *
    flowerpower * Posts: 257 ✭✭✭

    This book caught my eye:

    "6. Flower Power by Anne McIntyre (B) – A beautiful, insightful, and well-written book that profiles numerous flowers, covering their usage in historical traditions as well as their usage as herbal remedies, aromatherapy oils, homeopathic remedies, and flower essences in the contemporary tradition. "

    Growing up, we put our emphasis on plants that we could eat. I focused a lot on the wildflowers that grew around me. Now I find that flowers are revealing their healing potential to me.

  • flowerpower *
    flowerpower * Posts: 257 ✭✭✭

    Amazon shows a selection of books by Maria Trebens, and I imagine you are recommending the two most recent books:

    "Health From God's Garden" (1987)

    "Maria Treben's Cures" (2017)

    "Health Through God's Pharmacy" (published 1980 to 2018)

    Her books have also been translated into a variety of languages.

    (I am not recommending Amazon for buying books, but it is a lovely resource for finding and examining books.)

  • Melissa Swartz
    Melissa Swartz Posts: 270 ✭✭✭

    One of my favorite books is "10 Essential Herbs" by Lalitha Thomas. It's out of print now but copies are sometimes available. She goes into depth on 10 herbs, with a very engaging writing style. She explains the personality of each herb and provides recipes for use along with stories of her personal experiences using them. Highly recommended.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    @Melissa Swartz every herbalist I have been learning from has really said to "get to know" one plant at a time. Study it and be engaged with it and build from there. I have been trying to do just that as I identify what is growing right around me wild as well as a few that I have planted. It's about relationship building with your health allies. :)

  • SherryA
    SherryA Posts: 314 ✭✭✭
  • Angel
    Angel Posts: 61 ✭✭✭

    @judsoncarroll4 Thanks for recommending the Treben books. They sound like they would be what I need.

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