Herbal Books – The Not So Secret Love That Binds Us All

If there is one thing that herbalists (and plants fans in general) love spending time with, almost as much as spending time with their plant friends, it’s a good herbal or plant book.

Book Love (Image by Michael Blackmore - Mad Crow Herbalism)

Book Love (Image by Michael Blackmore – Mad Crow Herbalism)

Recently I come up with the idea of and hosted the Boston Herbal Salon (a monthly gathering where plant folks gather and talk about their not so secret herbal love!) at my place in Boston.    As a conversation starter for the first get together I had folks bring a favorite book as a show and tell and boy did that start a great round of conversation all around!

Here’s a partial listing of the books we brought and shared:

  • Herbal Rituals by Judith Berger
  • Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susun Weed
  • Flower Power: Flower Remedies for Healing Body and Soul Through Herbalism, Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, and Flower Essences by Anne McIntyre
  • The Herbal Handbook: A User’s Guide to Medical Herbalism by David Hoffman
  • Magical Herbalism: The Secret Craft of the Wise by Scott Cunningham
  • Seaweed: Nature’s Secret to Balancing Your Metabolism, Fighting Disease, and Revitalizing Body and Soul by Valerie Gennari Cooksley
  • The Language of Plants: A Guide to the Doctrine of Signatures by Julia Graves
  • Dispensing with Tradition: A Practitioner’s Guide to Using Indian and Western Herbs the Ayurvedic Way by Anne McIntyre and Michelle Boudin
  • The New Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman

Inspired by that here’s a random, and not remotely definitive pair of lists of my favorite herbal books.

First are books that inspire me spiritually in my connection or thinking about plants.   In essence they fuel and nourish my herbal heart in one way or another:

  • Wisdom of the Plant Devas by Thea Summer Deer
  • Herbal Rituals by Judith Berger
  • Plant Spirit Healing by Pam Montgomery
  • Healing Wise by Susun Weed
  • Plant Spirit Medicine by Eliot Cowan
  • Secret Teachings of the Plants by Stephen Harrod Buhner
  • Sacred Plant Medicine by Stephen Harrod Buhner
  • The Language of Plants: A Guide to the Doctrine of Signatures by Julia Graves

While these are books that I go to to soothe that info hungry part of myself, so they feed my herbal head:

  • Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Andrew Chevallier
  • Backyard Medicine by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal
  • A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve
  • Male Herbal by James Green
  • Earthwise Herbal (both volume Old and New World) by Matthew Wood
  • Practical Herbs by Henriette Kress
  • Adaptogens by David Winston and Steven Maimes
  • Dispensing with Tradition: A Practitioner’s Guide to Using Indian and Western Herbs the Ayurvedic Way by Anne McIntyre and Michelle Boudin

Not that the first list lacks for knowledge nor the second one for spirit/heart but they have different albeit complementary strengths.

I find you need both an openness of spirit/heart and knowledge then you apply both in life and as you gain experience with those tools, you develop wisdom.  :-)

Here’s a really cute video about loving books!

Too fun! :-)

So what are your favorite herbal or plant books?

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6 Responses to Herbal Books – The Not So Secret Love That Binds Us All

  1. Ashley says:

    What an amazing post! Thank you so much, can’t wait to look into some of these books, what a great discussion topic! :)

  2. Sarah says:

    I’m going to use your book lists as a guide for some reading on the uses of herbs – thank you! A while back I borrowed a copy of Culpepper’s Complete Herbal from the library, not very adventurous maybe, but I was researching medicinal herbs for a planting design and the book was really useful for that.

  3. bridget says:

    So many it’s hard to pick a favourite… Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal rates pretty high.

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