Sources for Herbal Information
An Easy Source of Herb Information
I need a GOOD, but easy to comprehend herb book. One that doesn't take a genius to understand. Any suggestions? Camille
The Way of Herbs
For the reader who needed a good herbal book, The Way of Herbs by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D. is one of the best books on the market for general use. It covers American & Chinese herbs, how to combine them and how to administer them. This is the book that my local herbalists use in the classroom for a textbook. It doesn't have plant identification included, but if you only buy one book this is it. In paperback, it's priced at $6.99 US for 378 pages and published by Pocket Books.
Little Herb Encyclopedia
There is a little book called The Little Herb Encyclopedia by Jack Ritchason that is easy to understand as well as inexpensive. I recommend it to all of my clients for understanding natural remedies. It also tells you a little about where the best herbs are grown and much more. I hope this helps your reader.
I have found Off-The-Shelf Natural Health - How to Use Herbs and Nutrients to Stay Well by Mark Mayell easy to understand.
Pleasure of Herbs
I am a Registered Pharmacist who happens to enjoy growing herbs for culinary use. With so many herbal books promising everything imaginable or coming off as boring science texts, I would enthusiastically recommend The Pleasure of Herbs by Phyllis Shaudys for a good all-around reference book. After that, I would talk to other local gardeners, who can refer you to quality plants that will grow in YOUR climate.
Botanical Herb Site
The best website about herbs and their uses I have found in my surfing is www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/comindx.html.
I recommend The Herb Bible by Earl Mindell. It is very easy to understand and it has been quite helpful to me.
Complete Medicinal Herbal
In response to the reader who was looking for a good, easy-to-understand herb book, I absolutely love The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody. It has gorgeous photos (which help if you are trying to identify herbs you find growing where you live), and excellent cross-referenced index, and even cautions when appropriate. It shows all of the parts of plants that can be used medicinally and details each plant's actions and therapeutic applications. There is a how-to section on the preparation of home herbal remedies and advice on consulting a medical herbalist. There is also a good overview of Chinese herbal medicine and Western herbalism. It is published in the U.S. by Dorling Kindersley, New York. It is a bit on the higher-priced side, however.
The Herb Book
I grew up with alternative and natural healing, and the answer is The Herb Book by John Lust. It is paperback, at your health food store, and considered a bible by virtually every herbologist I have met. Most other herb books use this as their major reference!
The Honest Herbal
Probably the best, most reliable herb book on the market, if you are interested in medicinal uses, is The Honest Herbal. Another excellent one is The Green Pharmacy. Both are written by people with backgrounds in plant science and are very highly rated by medical people.
Four Sources of Herb Information
I have a couple suggestions for good herb books. They are Earl Mindell's Herb Bible, Back to Eden by Kloss, Prescripion for Nutrional Healing by Balch,MD and Balch,CNC, and The New Age Herbalist.
Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia
I have found a wonderful herb book entitled Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs by Rodale Press, 1987. It is an alphabetical listing of everything from Aconite, Agrimony and Aloe to Bathing with Herbs, Companion Planting, Cooking with Herbs Crafts, Gardening with Herbs, Growing with Herbs...all the way to Yarrow, Yohimbe and Zatar. Each herb section deals with its history, uses (medicinal, culinary and ornamental) and cultivation. I have referred to it when I was cooking and gardening. Sidebars indicate growing condition, descriptions and ranges. Some neat little recipes can also be found throughout. This is a very handy book. I got it from a book club.
The best herbal books I have seen are Shonda Parker's The Naturally Healthy Pregnancy and The Naturally Healthy Family. Her advice is clear and easy to understand. You can contact Shonda at NATURALLYH@aol.com for more information.
I would recommend Herb Talk by Ann Marie Wishard. It comes in a loose leaf binder format designed to add updates sent to you four times a year. Some of the updates will be free, others will be at a minimal cost. She also offers an 800 number where you can ask questions. I can't remember for sure, but I think I paid around $12 for this book. She has been a quest on our local radio talk show several times and is very interesting to listen to. The address is:
Sweet Annie Herbs
233 S. Pennsylvania Avenue
PO Box 480
Centre Hall, PA 16828
Local: (814) -364-1206
Another book that I find very useful is Prescription for Nutritional Healing by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C. You might find this at your local health food store or book store. I've seen them at Osco Drug and GNC. It costs $19.95 - make sure it's the revised and expanded edition. There isn't as much information about herbs but it covers vitamins, minerals, food supplements, and focuses on specific ailments giving you specific "prescriptions" for drug free remedies. It makes a great cross reference for "Herb Talk." Both books combined are cheaper than an office call for the less serious issues.
Maureen Solomon's Foods That Heal. It talks about simple remedys for different ailments. Like using Cherry for a fungus problem. It's got all sorts of really neat stuff listed.
Easiest to Understand Source of Herb Information
A reader asked about an easy to understand herb book. I have a copy of The Complete Book of Herbs by Lesley Bremnes. It cost about $30 and is full of color pictures. It's packed with information about herbs and their many uses in the kitchen, household, beauty, health, decorating and lots more. There are instructions on planting herb gardens too. I have several other books but this is the best and easiest to understand.
Accurate, Not Easy Herb Information
Unfortunately, easy doesn't necessarily mean accurate. Our family has been using herbs medicinally for 8 years now; the best herb book I have found concerning properties and uses is The Herb Book by John Lust.
If, however, you are looking for color pictures or drawing to do your plant identifying you will need to look elsewhere. I have found that it takes a little persistence in using The Herb Book, but have been MOST satisfied with the information and presentation once I learned a few terms.
Simple and Thorough
In answer to the reader looking for a good herb book, I love Judith Benn Hurley's The Good Herb. It's simple and very thorough, and features recipes and home remedies and even beauty tips for every herb under the sun!
Easy to Understand Herb Information
I've been reading herb books for years now and the best one I've found that is easy to understand is put out by Woodland Books in Pleasant Grove, Utah. The title is the Health Handbook and is written by Louise Tenney. It's pocket sized but packed full of info. You can either look up an ailment and it'll tell you the herbs for it highlighting the best ones or you can look up the herbs and it'll tell you a list of things it's for. It also gives more info on vitamins, minerals and combos. It's also got a baby section and a pregnancy section. If you cna't find it in the library, you can probably have your local health food store order it for you.
For Home Use
It's very hard to give the best recommendation without more information. However, a very good book is Herbs For The Home by Jekka McVicar. It has extremely good photographs with descriptions of plants, how to grow them, culinary and medicinal uses, and warnings about usage if applicable. You can pass on my e-mail address to anyone with questions about gardening, especially herbs. I have several years of experience and have my own landscape/herb company.
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