Trusted Books of our Herbalist Practitioner Members

LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,375 admin

I would like this thread to be available to our Certified/Registered Natural Health Practioner members only, so that we have a solid list of books & authors to easily reference as we build our library.

There are so many resources that claim to be safe & trustworthy, yet may not be. It is easy to be fooled and so, we need to be very careful. This subcategory was suggested with safety in mind.

*TGN is not necessarily endorsing any of the suggestions to follow, but is making them available for your consideration.*

Thank you in advance for your contributions. We all appreciate you and your willingness to share your knowledge & resources with us. 🌱


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,517 admin

    The following books are ones that I have in my library or ones that I am familiar with. I look forward to lists that others are recommending, particularly those on Ayurvedic medicine or TCM. And aromatherapists with their recommendations, too. Any suggestions on holistic nutrition books?

    Historical Books:

    Historical books are lovely to have in a library to see where our foundations lie, but not necessarily books to be using as a daily reference.

    King’s American Dispensatory.  John King, Harvey Felter

    You can get a reproduction of this19th century volume at Amazon. An online version is available at:

    Culpepper’s Complete Herbal. Nicholas Culpepper

    A listing of over 400 herbs. Almost 400 years old.

    Gerard’s Herball (aka The General Historie of Plantes). John Gerard

    400 years old.


    Elders. Some First Nations have published books on traditional medicines and plant uses. These are some of the most valuable books in my library. Check with a local Nation to see if they have published anything.

    Dr. Nancy J. Turner. Dr. Turner has spent over 50 years with First Nations of the Pacific Northwest. She is one of the foremost ethnobotanists in North America, having written over 20 books. All are excellent reference works as well as insight into the local cultures.

    Aboriginal Plant Use in the Northern Boreal Forest. R. Marles, C. Clavelle, L. Monteleone, N. Tays, D. Burns.

    Many of these plants grow further south. Very useful book.

    Earth Medicine – Earth Food. Michael Weiner

    Written over 50 years ago but still a valuable reference.

    Plant Identification & Botany:

    Botany in a Day. Thomas J. Elpel

    Suggested or required reading in many herbal courses or colleges. This should be in every herbalist’s library.

    Lone Pine Publishing.

    This publishing company has books for many of the individual Provinces and States. 4 different ones for my Province. These are the books that herbalists and botanists I know, carry in the field. Very detailed info and good pics. Check with a local bookstore to see if they have one specific to your area.

    Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West.

    Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West.

    Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West. Michael Moore.

    Michael is a very experienced herbalist. These are more than just plant identification guides; includes medicinal uses and preparations.

    Know Your Poisonous Plants. Wilma James

    Perilous Charmers: Poisonous Plants of the Pacific Northwest. Mary Jones

    Herbalists and foragers should be very aware of poisonous plants, particularly those that might be mistaken for medicinal or edible plants. The above two are ones that I have in my library but there are others in print. Find one specifically suited to your area.

    Herbals & Materia Medicas:

    A Modern Herbal. Maude Grieve

    A two volume set, written prior to many pharmaceuticals and antibiotics. This is a standard that most herbalists will have in their libraries. It can also be accessed in its entirety at: Keep in mind that this is an old reference.

    The Boreal Herbal – Wild Food and Medicine Plants of the North. Beverly Gray

    Great for those who live in more northern latitudes but this book has plants that everyone should be familiar with.

    Alchemy of Herbs.

    Wild Remedies. Rosalee de la Foret.

    Both are excellent books. Clear instructions and recipes for medicines, skin care and food. Rosalee is an experienced herbalist. Excellent books for a beginner but valuable for an experienced herbalist. .

    Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide. Rosemary Gladstar.

    An excellent introduction to herbal medicine.

    Prescriptions for Herbal Healing. Phyllis Balch

    Another book that is on the suggested or required reading list for herbal schools. Lists over 200 herbs.

    Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing. Phyllis Balch.

    A good companion book for the above book. Suggested/required reading for Holistic Nutrition schools.

    Medicinal Mushrooms:

    Mycelium Running. Paul Stamets

    Medicinal mushroom information but so much more. Paul has done a great deal of research into the connection of other plants to mushrooms and possible environmental uses.

    The Fungal Pharmacy. Robert Dale Rogers

    Robert is a botanist and clinical herbalist. This is the most comprehensive book I have seen on medicinal mushrooms. Very well researched. Talks about the use of mushroom essences and homeopathic remedies as well.

    Medicinal Mushrooms: An Exploration of Tradition, Healing and Culture. Christopher Hobbs

    Chris is a very experienced herbalist with exceptional knowledge on the subject of medicinal mushrooms.

    Medicine Making:

    The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual. James Green

    This book is on the suggested or required reading list for several herbal courses and colleges. One of the best on herbal medicine making.


    Herbs for Pets. Gregory Tilford, Mary Wulff

    Not all human herbs are good for pets. This book does a good job at offering solutions for common pet ailments, conditions or injuries.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,517 admin

    I was just reminded of a couple of other very good books for herbalists to have in their library.

    The Drunken Botanist. Amy Stewart.

    Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation. Stephen Harrod Buhner.

  • NarjissMomOf3
    NarjissMomOf3 Posts: 113 ✭✭✭

    Awesome!! Thank you

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,517 admin

    I would like to add the book that @judsoncarroll4 and @jowitt.europe have translated and notated.

    The Herbs and Weeds of Fr. Johannes Künzle.

    Contact either member to purchase the PDF. Or check out Southern Appalachian Herbs at:

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,517 admin

    We need to add @judsoncarroll4's new books to the list.

    Herbal Medicine for Preppers, Homesteaders and Permaculture People

    The Medicinal Trees of the American South, An Herbalist's Guide: Look Up

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,361 admin

    Thanks @torey !

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,517 admin
  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,517 admin

    I posted this in another discussion but thought it was important to add here in the "master list" as well.

    This is a link to Dioscorides "De Materia Medica". It was the reference material used for many of the later herbals and is an important document both for its medical/herbal knowledge and its importance in the history of medicine.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,375 admin

    Here is a good list of book recommendations to consider courtesy of Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,517 admin

    I have just splurged and added 3 new books to my library. All are ones that I should have already had.

    The first two are by Stephen Harrod Buhner. I didn't realize until now but he passed in December of 2022. What a loss to the herbal community. He has also written books on Lyme Disease, Hepatitis C and other subjects of plant medicine.

    Herbal Antibiotics. Herbal Antivirals. What excellent books! So well written. He is very funny despite these being medical texts. Herbal Antivirals was recently added to in its second addition, with sound information on COVID protocols and suggestions for what is being called long COVID. Thank you, Stephen.

    Medical Herbalism. David Hoffman. This is the third book. It is a recommended text for many herb schools and is one that every herbalist should have in their libraries. I'm not sure why it took me so long to add it to my library. Anyone who is a practising herbalist should have this volume, but its also a great book to have for anyone using herbal medicine at home.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,517 admin

    I have purchased more new books.

    The Earthwise Herbal Repertory by Matthew Wood.

    It is similar to a homeopathic repertory in that it lists remedies by symptomology, so you can more precisely determine which herb to use. After all, there are many diuretics for example. How does one narrow down the choices? So you need to look at the other symptoms or modalities surrounding the ailment or condition for more clues as to the precise herbal choice.

    Excellent book!

    He has also written: The Earthwise Herbal Volume 1: The Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants and The Earthwise Herbal Volume 2: The Complete Guide to New World Medicinal Plants.

    I haven't purchased those two yet. I'm sure they will be excellent companions for the Repertory.

    Another new purchase is "Held by the Land: A Guide to Indigenous Plants for Wellness" by Leigh Joseph. She is a First Nations ethnobotanist from the south coast of BC, so this book is about plants of the Pacific Northwest but many can be found in other areas. Included is a recipe for almost every plant entry. Rosalee de la Foret did an interview with her recently. You can listen or read the transcript here:

    And the other new book I have is The Path to Wild Foods: Edible Plants and Recipes for Canada by Sandra Walker. It is one of the Lone Pine Publishing books. While it is for Canada, there are plants in this book that have a much wider range, so should be useful for many of the US states as well. Not so much a herbal medicine book as its mostly about edible plants but it also lists some medicinal properties. I like that it has recipes.