Thursday, 5 September 2013

Herbal inspiration

 After my last post I was asked what herbal books I'd recommend, and as there are quite a few I thought I'd feature them in their own post. If you are just beginning to learn about herbs, its also really worth learning the plants if you can, although obviously the herb shop is useful too!! Getting to know your herbal allies so you can greet them as you pass them, on the street, in the overgrown garden border, in the hedgerows and woods. Get a good wild flower guide, and make sure you can identify them well....there are a few plants which people commonly confuse which could be dangerous.
Also, if you are starting to treat yourself at home with herbs, I find it good to cross reference at least two or three sources. Its amazing what differences there can be and especially if you are ill, or pregnant or treating a child, its good to be sure and safe!
So these are just a few of my best loved books, but there are many many more excellent resources out there. Happy hunting!

  • 'Herbal for women', and 'Herbal for Mother and Child' by Anne Mcintyre, are two that I referred to constantly during pregnancy and  for  childhood illnesses. Really useful advice about specific ailments and life stages and some nice herb profiles too. Anne has written more books since these I know, but I haven't yet had a chance to check them out, I'm sure they'd be worth a look, she has become more influenced by Ayuerdevic principles now so

  • Herbal Healing for Women  by  Rosemary Gladstar This was one of the first herb books I bought when I lived in Canada nearly twenty years ago so I have a special fondness for it. Lovely anecdotes, advice and formula for all life stages and ailments.

  • The Childbearing Year  and  Healing Wise by Susun Weed  These books.are lovely.Susun Weed is great, and the first of these books has been my bible through all my pregnancies. The second is a really unique quirky focus on 6 weeds which takes the reader on a walk to gather the herb and then back to the kitchen for recipes, and pharmacy for tinctures, teas and tonics...a lovely book which honours the humble nettle and dandelion.

  • Self Heal by Jill Davies I did some seminars with Jill when Lily was tiny, and her long experience, understanding and love of herbs and healing shone through. Chapters on detoxing, diet, and a section of very detailed herbal and naturopathic advice on specific ailments make this one of my most highly thumbed herb books.

  • Encyclopedia of medicinal plants  by  Andrew Chevalier This is really good if you are new to the world of herbs, and also useful for the more experienced person, as a comprehensive overview of many many herbs. All with excellent photos of the plant and parts used. Very useful reference to quickly check out a herb.
  •  A Modern Herbal Maude Grieve Not really modern, as it was written nearly a hundred years ago, but densely packed wih medicinal and anecdotal information. Did you know for example that bluebell bulbs were not only used as bookbinders gum but also to starch collars? Fascinating book.
  • Herbs of Grace by Farida Sharan A book to read for a transformative journey to heal yourself with details of detoxification, herbal formula, naturopathy treatments such as enemas, castor oil packs etc. And the story of the authors own journey to healing.
As always these days my time is very limited and precious, between family demands.... so this post could and would like to be much longer!
Other herbalists whose books are definitely worth checking out are John Christopher, Jeannine Parvati Baker, Juliette de Bairacli Levy, Micheal Tierra and David Hoffman. Its also worth looking in charity and thrift shops as lovely old tomes often turn up..such as the Maude Grieve one above...and recently I found Maurice Messegue's 'Way to Natural Health and Beauty' which was a treat.

I would always recommend books written by real herbalists, I know it sounds obvious but it really makes a difference!

I would love to show you pictures of all my books, to give you a better impression of each one, but alas all my faves are now ash, and I haven't been able to bring myself to go and buy them all over again.
But so much of them is in my head and heart.....and of course all the knowledge is in us anyway and in the plants.....we just need to relearn how to ask.
Herbal Blessings!!