Book Review (Herbal): Backyard Medicine – Harvest and Make your Own Herbal Remedies by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal
While I’ve used it as one of my references for years, only recently did I sit down and read Backyard Medicine – Harvest and Make your Own Herbal Remedies by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal cover to cover – and what a rewarding experience it is.
What can I say but this is one of my favorite general herbal books. It doesn’t cover everything, but the 50 plants that it covers it covers well.
You might think, oh I know my herbs and I don’t really need a book that appears to be aimed at a general audience, but you’d be wrong. 😉
I suspect almost any plant lover will find something to love about the book and probably learn something new to boot. It is a wonderful blend of facts, folklore, history, uses, botany and how-tos. And it is filled with some of the best pictures of any herbal books I’ve seen. Heck, I think the photos are frame-able bits of beauty for any plant friend.
I particularly like how they blend in bits of fun real life like this one about Meadowsweet:
Everybody says the smell is full of summer echoes, but some do find it rather overpowering. Matthew is one of these, and says: “I owe a lifelong debt to meadowsweet as this was the very first long word I uttered. At about three years old, according to my mother, when I was saying almost nothing else, out pops this word I’d heard on family walks in the Trent marshes. These days I’m more likely to swear, though, as I get hay fever if I’m too close to the flower.”
or one of my favorite folklore bits from the book about Blackberries:
But folklore dictates that you should not gather the berries after Michaelmas, because that is when the Devil spits or urinates on them. Or, we’d say, the frost has got to them.
There are many ideas for preparations and uses of the plants discussed – not all of them work for me as my first choice of how to work with them – but there was always some use, preparation or combination that caught my interest pretty regularly. Offering nifty things to explore in the future.
It’s not a treatment oriented herbal with a dedicated section organized by conditions , but it does have a fair index at the back with many conditions listed. Instead it is a wonderful exploration of the plants you would find most commonly around you and is filled with love for them.
Definitely worth getting. ( And it may change, but as I write this it appears to be almost half off at Amazon.com – I linked to their listing in the title of the book at the start of the post.)