Book Review: “Medicinal Herbs – A Beginner’s Guide” by Rosemary Gladstar

Medicinal Herbs Bk Review PicGood afternoon, everyone. I apologize that this posting is a few hours later than normal. With the high holy day yesterday, I’m still playing catch up on things! That said, today’s post is the first of several I hope to do – book reviews. Not only do I enjoy writing, but I also enjoy reading and learning new things. So I thought that I should start sharing with you the books that I have found helpful so you may consider purchasing the books yourself. 

MEDICINAL HERBS – A BEGINNER’S GUIDE BY ROSEMARY GLADSTAR

Rosemary Gladstar is considered to be one of the foremost herbalists in the United States. In fact, because of her pioneering work in modern herbalism, she has been called the “Godmother of American Herbalism.” Not only has she run an herbal shop for 35 years, she also founded the oldest running herbal school in the U.S., the California School of Herbal Studies, and developed an online herbal course entitled, “The Science and Art of Herbalism.” She is also the author of several herbal books, this being one of them.

Published in 2012, this book definitely was written with the beginner in mind. If you have never known anything about herbs and how to produce medicines from them, this book is for you! If you don’t include culinary uses for herbs, I am a total neophyte, and I loved this book.

She begins the book with information on cultivating your own medicinal herb garden. (Why buy the herbs you can grow yourself, right?)

Then, in Chapter 2, she moves on to the basics of processing herbs into medicines, describing how to make herbal teas, infusions, decoctions, syrups, oils, salves, tinctures, and even pills. She also includes information on baths, poultices, and compresses. Included in this chapter is basic information on measuring herbs for recipes as well as dosages for acute (short-term, aggressive) vs. chronic (long-term, developed over time) problems. This is a chapter you will return to often because all the recipes refer you back to the “how-to” section for the type of medicine the recipe is creating.

In Chapter 3, Gladstar talks about nine familiar herbs and spices to grow and use: basil (both regular basil and holy basil/tulsi), cayenne pepper, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, rosemary, sage, thyme, and tumeric. She gives a little information on growing the plant, then discusses several medicinal uses, including recipes.

Chapter 4 is similar to the previous chapter, but is much longer. The chapter includes 24 “safe and effective herbs to know, grow, and use.” They include Aloe vera, burdock, calendula, chamomile, chickweed, dandelion, echinacea, elder (elderberries), goldenseal, hawthorn, lavender, lemon balm, licorice, marsh mallow, mullein (I already know how wonderful mullein tea is!), nettle, oats, peppermint, plantain, red clover, St. John’s wort, spearmint, valerian, and yarrow. Again, she gives information on growing the herb as well as its medicinal uses with recipes.

Finally, in the back of the book, she gives resources for obtaining organic herbs (if you can’t grow them yourself), as well as educational resources for more training. The index lists herbs and medical conditions, so you can find the information you need either way.

I have read this book cover to cover, and now I’m going to begin making my own herbal remedies. I have purchased dried organic herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs so I can make a tincture for migraine headaches (found on page 154 of the book). It will take a couple of months before it’s ready, but I’ll let you know how it works.

If you are interested in trying some proven, herbal remedies, this is the best book to start out with. Even if you have some experience with making your own remedies, this book has great information on the herbs as well as recipes to try. The cost is very reasonable and can be purchased online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Let me know if you decide to get the book and how you enjoyed it. I give this one 5 stars!

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