Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.
Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the book, The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook, A Home Manual by James Green. If I had to rely on only one book on medicinal herbs and their use it would be this book.
This book is hard to describe in a way as it is almost a dichotomy in itself. On one hand it is extremely easy to read and highly approachable. The author starts out with a true project/lesson. Making a dandelion tincture. The author does this for a variety of reasons. First, almost anyone can find dandelion to harvest locally. Second, the herb is inherently safe to use. Third, the herb is easy to identify and no dangerous plant even looks remotely like a dandelion. Fourth, by getting you started with a project out of the gate you gain confidence as you proceed with the book.
This book is written by a guy that uses both humor and humility and never tries to sound smart, he just ends up sounding really smart, because well, he is. This is not a guy that decided one day that “oh I should gather up some information and write a book about herbs”, rather a man that lives this way who decided to canonize his knowledge into an incredible book. Yet it is kept incredibly simple with the majority of it based on a core of 30 common herbs.
Then there is the other side. While easy to read and approachable, this is really like a full course text book on herbal medicines. Want to know how to make your own simple still from what you likely already have in your home to make a hydrosol? Well first would you like to know what a hydrosol is and how to use it? You will learn both in this book. How about making and using glycerite and 20 herbs that work well in that form? Yep you will learn that too. Take the time and work though this book, all 384 pages of it, make at least 2-3 products of every form given and it is like taking a self directed course in herbalism.
One thing to be aware of for some. The author sort of crosses into the world of shamanism/paganism at times, sayig things like,
“Now that you have properly identified and graciously harvested this plant, offer gratitude one again for its life. Consider leaving an offering, like a strand of your hair, a prayer, a song, a story, whatever; plant spirits are known to be deeply touched by simple gestures of appreciation.”
While this may be a bit off putting for some, I’d like to point out two things here. First that showing gratitude is good for our spirits, no matter how you define spirit. Whether a religious prayer before a meal or simply a thought of I am grateful for this food from a secular perspective, either one builds good character and self reflection.
Second I remember a documentary on Amazon peoples where the tribe decided they needed a new canoe. A tree was selected and one man selected to fell the tree. The man said a prayer and spoke to the tree, he apologized for needing to take its life. He explained that his people would honor the tree’s sacrifice, that the canoe and other parts would serve his people for several generations. That they would plant a tree from this trees own seed in its place and make sure it was protected so it could grow into a strong tree.
That had to be 25 years ago and I have yet to forget that moment and the words that man said to a tree. Call such a man a primitive if you want but how much more forest would exist if all trees cut for our needs were cut with such reverence. Also think about this, that man was about to spend a full day of manual labor to cut that huge tree down. No chain saws in his tribe and yet he met the task with humility.
So yea there is some woo woo in this book but nothing over the top in my view. What you get is quality instruction, a true course in home herbal medicine making and concise information to make this practice safe and effective. Again, if I could only have one book on herbal medicine it would be The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook, by James Green.
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