These top herbal books for beginners make a great start to an herbal library.
Each one is a valuable resource with a particular focus. They offer a great variety of useful herbal information with little duplication. Choose the one that most suits your interest or collect all of them for a more rounded mix. They complement each other well.
They are all easy to understand for the beginning herbalist. Subjects covered include herbal recipes, herbs for bodily systems, making herbal medicine, growing medicinal plants, harvesting from the wild and herbs for particular conditions.
Rosemary Gladstar, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health
One of the top herbal books for beginners is Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar. It’s loaded with herbal recipes so you can begin practicing your herbal skills right away.
Rosemary knows plant medicines well. She has pure joy for the subject and her enthusiasm for sharing plant wisdom shows throughout the book. It’s rich with concepts, recipes and how-tos that are practical and easily understood. These teachings readily become a part of everyday life. If you could purchase only one book, this would be it.
David Hoffman, Holistic Herbal
David Hoffman’s Holistic Herbal is another gem. David is an extremely knowledgeable herbalist with an impressive background, both as a teacher and as a practicing herbalist. This book is a wealth of information, yet just like Rosemary’s book, it’s approachable and easy to understand.
Holistic Herbal dives a step further into herbalism. He goes into the different bodily systems, first with an overview and then a discussion of herbs and how they work with that system. The book then goes into various conditions and the herbs used for them. David provides a comprehensive understanding of why you are using the herbs for particular ailments.
The second half of the book lists several medicinal herbs. For each herb he covers: part used, collection, constituents, actions, indications, preparation and dosage. This book is a wealth of information.
Richo Cech, Making Plant Medicine
Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech is another book that belongs on every herbalists bookshelf. It goes into medicine making detail like no other book. The types of preparations he discusses include tinctures, teas, syrups, oils, salves, and poultices.
For each type of herbal preparation, he provides a definition as well as when and why you would use it. For those who like precision and measurements, you will love this book. Richo shows you the math and makes it easy to understand. The last part of the book, goes into detail of making preparations for specific herbs. It’s really invaluable information.
Adelle Dawson, Herbs: Partners in Life
Adelle Dawson is no longer living today, but she certainly was an adored herbalist in her day. You can tell she truly had a lovely relationship with the plants.
If you want to get to know the medicinal plants, Herbs: Partners in Life is a good place to start. It’s especially suited for those interested in growing medicinal plants, or wildcrafting, which is harvesting from the wild. The book is broken down by seasons, which helps give you a feel for which herbs are gathered and harvested at different times of the year. This book is also a good reference for using herbs as food.
James Duke, The Green Pharmacy
James Duke is one of the leading authorities on medicinal herbs. A discussion of the top herbal books for beginners would not be complete without including one of his. He has an impressive background, especially with his work as a botanist.
The Green Pharmacy is arranged alphabetically by medical condition. These are common conditions that are often experienced in any household. Simply look up a condition to find information about it. Then reference the herbs for that particular condition. This book is truly a trustworthy and valuable resource.
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