Below is a list of my favorite books on Herbs. Some have been with me for awhile and some are new to my library. All sit on my office desk, and are used almost daily to help deepen my knowledge of herbs and to inspire my recipes. All of the books are great for people of all knowledge levels and make excellent books for those just starting out in their herbal journey.
The New Age Herbalist was the first book I purchased on herbs when I was in High School. I purchased this book at a great herb shop Lucia’s Garden in Houston Texas. What makes this book stand out above all the rest is pictures. It has color photos of most of the herbs, and those that are not presented in a photo still have a nice line drawing. It is a great reference book that details parts used, constituents, and main uses. The second part that makes this book stand out is half of the book is devoted to recipes. Of course my favorite part is Chapter Three: Herbs for Natural Living. Here you will find charts on Herbs for skin type and recipes for skin care.
On a side note, I keep inside it a list I made of all the things I wanted to grow, and learn that I wrote in high school when I bought the book.
What makes this reference book stand out is that it has a bit more detail about each herb than The New Art Herbalist and it gives specific doses for use. Also the author notes various influences on uses such as India, Russian and Homeopathic Clinical.
I recently picked this book up at the National Museum of the Native American. What makes this book unique its Cherokee focus and how each herb is broken into the Four Cardinal Points (East, West, North, South). J.T. Garrett, the author writes:
What is Indian Medicine? What there are many variations in answers, the meaning of the term Medicine is much broader than treatment, health, self-care, or preventions. The traditional idea of Medicine is based on the earlier meanings of the four cardinal directions and the Universal Circle…..I frame the meanings of the Four Directions as spiritual in the East, natural in the South, physical in the West, and mental in the North. These broad aspects help to describe the importance and scared influence of each direction in our lives. The lines that cross from the North to South and East to West represent harmony and balance. Thus, one direction in our lies does not exist without the opposite energy….. Unlike the prevailing thought of today, the individual is not the center of the circle; he or she is an integral part of the circle. When a person fails, abuses drugs, or becomes diseased, it affects the entire circle of life….. The Medicine is to prevent such occurrences, or to bring that harmony and balance back to the circle.
Each herb is discussed in great detail with basic description of the growing habit and cultivation, history of the herb, Uses of the herb that include medical uses, ornamental uses, and cosmetic uses. Excellent choice for a first book on herbs.
The above books have been all excellent reference books with details about the herbs, The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook is an excellent source on how to take that knowledge and transform in to a usable form. From how to harvest, explanations of equipment you will need, details on how to make an infusion, tinctures, lotions, cream and salves. Lots of excellent herbal recipes.