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As an herbalist, I absolutely adore reading all about herbal medicine and plants. And as a bookworm, I love whenever I can get my hands on an honest to goodness, crisp pages, colorful pictures, real life herb book. That’s why I was so excited to take a look at Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs, A Beginnner’s Guide.
My first introduction to Rosemary was when my husband gave me her book of Herbal Recipes for Christmas a few years ago. Since then, she’s become one of the herbalists I look up to. Her vast knowledge and understanding of herbal healing make her one of the greatest herbalists of our time in my opinion. Being a good herbalist is more than just head knowledge of a subject, it’s about having experience, over time finding what works, and that little bit of pixie dust where you just “know.” To me, Rosemary is one of those people.
Not only does she have over 35 years of experience in the field, but she co-founded the Traditional Medicinals Tea company AND Mountain Rose Herbs. Both of these companies sell amazing products that I use almost daily.
The Medicinal Herbs book showed me yet again just how much I love Rosemary’s work. The pages are filled with gorgeous photos, and the layout is very crisp and clear. It’s easy enough for an absolute beginner to understand, but it has plenty of recipes that will benefit even experienced herbalists.
The book starts off with what herbal medicine is; it’s rich history; and how we can keep the healing traditions alive. Rosemary even talks about how to start your own herbal garden, making these remedies even more affordable. I found her tips on how to properly dry and store herbs in this chapter particularly helpful.
The book then moves on to “Herbal Medicine 101.” In it, Rosemary covers how to properly make infusions, tinctures, decoctions, salves, syrups, pills, compresses and more. Even though I’ve been making herbal remedies for years, I still found this section helpful as a reference. Everything is clearly laid out and explained.
The bulk of the book though is a description of 33 different herbs, some of their uses and plenty of recipes to accompany each one. She begins by covering more common herbs, like basil, cayenne, rosemary (of course!), sage and thyme. She then moves on to lavender, chamomile, chickweed and tons of other plants.
I didn’t find very detailed guides on identifying the various parts of the herbs. However, there was a general overview of the plant appearance. The book also includes plenty of helpful tips on how to grow the herbs and lots of recipes.
There were plenty of recipes that used the herbs to help with medical complaints, like acne, slow liver function, arthritis, bug bites, menopause, and other issues. More than that though, there were lots of nutrient dense ways to use the herbs in food. Some of the ones I’m really looking forward to trying are ginger jam, pickled garlic, root beer tea and dandelion mocha! She also included some of her popular, time tested body care recipes, like her famous face cream.
I have a growing collection of herbal books on my shelf, but Rosemary’s continue to be some of my absolute favorites.