[permaculture] Favorite Herb Books
yarrow at sfo.com
yarrow at sfo.com
Mon Jun 11 18:30:38 EDT 2007
What is your great book? What, specifically, do you need to know?
What part of the world are you in?
For medicinal uses, my favorite is Michael Moore's books, Medicinal
Plants of the Pacific West, the revised edition of ...of the Mountain
West, and his older books), particularly if you're on the U.S. west
coast and interested in weedy and native plants. He also has a
website that has detailed technical information on dosages,
preparations, and indications -- a valuable resource for professional
herbalists. (Google herbal moore.) Another favorite is Kathi
Keville's Herbs for Health and Healing. She's also a pro but has more
of a kitchen-garden style. I turn to her book for ideas on what to
use or grow, then improvise based on what I have available. The
widely available books by James Duke (or his database on the web) are
also authoritative sources, but seem more geared to buying a product
than to growing your own.
As a quick reference, I like Lesley Bremness, The Complete Book of
Herbs, because it's fairly comprehensive but not too big and heavy,
has a nice layout, is easy to use, and has proven reliable so far.
This is where I turn to see how big something will get, or for ideas
on what else to do with the harvest. Steven Foster's Herbal
Renaissance is my favorite book on growing herbs. He's also a
reliable source on uses of herbs, a good mix of practical information
on growing and using and interesting notes on folk uses and the
The first herb books I had were John Lust's The Herb Book and Maude
Grieve's A Modern Herbal (which are also good references). I was
puzzled by the long lists of conditions that each herb could cure,
and wondered if herbs could do anything at all. I studied botanical
medicine with Moore, attended regional herb conferences for several
years, and have shelves of books on herbs, and what nearly all the
herbalists say is use what you have. Some herbalists say to start
with, say, 10 herbs and learn all you can about them, and chances are
you will be able to use them for more than 90 percent of your needs.
I use my nose to guide me. One herbalist described getting to know an
herb by taking a bath in it while drinking the same herb as tea --
spending a day or a week focusing on one herb at a time and paying
attention to its effects and qualities.
For dyes, see Rita Buchanan's A Weaver's Garden.
For landscape uses, look for Rob Proctor and David Macke, Herbs in
the Garden: The Art of Intermingling.
Some of the herb magazines regularly feature articles on every aspect
of herbs. The Herb Companion has tons of recipes and some articles
online; Herb Quarterly has only a few online articles.
At 9:12 AM -0400 6/11/07, Sharon Gordon wrote:
>I've been reading a great herb book which has some detailed info on
>the particular herbs. I'd like to learn about more different herbs
>though and more specifics on using them. Does anyone have
>recommendations? In addition to growing information, I am
>interested in cooking uses, medical uses, and other useful functions
>such as making dyes or ways herbs can be used in the garden.
>The PFAF site is helpful in listing more ways plants can be used.
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