Top 10 Herbal Medicine Making Books
Are you a book addict like me?
I have a little bit of a problem. But I'm trying to learn to contain myself because I'm realizing you have to dust all those books : ) Due to my ever-growing library, it was tough to pick just 10 to mention here. People often ask me what Herbal Medicine Making books I recommend for them to start with. These are what I narrowed it down to.
* Make sure to read all the way to the end for a super exciting announcement about opportunities to learn Herbal Medicine Making at home and in-person! *
1. Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech
This is hands-down my most used herbal medicine making book! It's actually lost its back cover from such frequent use. I love the way it's organized, with the front half or so of the book with instructions on how to make medicines, including options for the folk methods (aka easier for those of us who are math avoidant) and the more scientific mathematical methods. The second half is a Materia Medica of herbs. If you're not familiar with that term, it's kind of like an encyclopedia for herbs, with parts used, types of medicine they work well in, guidelines on making the medicine, and dosage recommendations. This book is always within reach when I'm making medicine or researching.
Richo also founded and runs Strictly Medicinal Seeds, one of my top choices for herb seed, and is one of the most enjoyable people you'll ever meet!
A note about buying books: Please please, for the love of all authors, buy your books direct from the author whenever that option is available! The author usually makes at least 5 times more profit that way! And believe me, writing a book is a heck of a lot of work and almost no one has gotten rich selling a book. Support authors!
2. The Herbal Handbook for Homesteaders: Farmed & Foraged Herbal Remedies & Recipes by Abby Artemisia (aka me)
Okay, for humility's sake I listed my own book second. I didn't list it just as a gratuitous plug for myself. I have been told by many herb school owners that they recommend it to their students and are thinking of offering it as a textbook for their courses because of the ease of use.
The book is a combination of my last decade of teaching herbal medcine making, along with tips on how to forage sustainably, growing the herbs, how to make many different fomulas (in a super accessible way), with materia medica at the end of each chapter. I also included plenty of my favorite recipes. And bonus: if you order it from me, I'll sign it for you!
3. The Herbal Medicine Maker's Handbook by James Green
This is a large book, jam-packed with information. It gets pretty technical at times, which can be helpful sometimes. It also explains how to make percolation tinctures (a tincture you can make quickly). Overall, a good one to have on the bookshelf if you see herbalism being a lifelong study.
4. Herb Contraindications & Drug Interactions by Francis Brinker
This is a great reference, especially if you're thinking about making medicinal formulas for other people. It's pretty much what it says, and includes specific conditions, herb effects, medications, and nutritional supplements. I often double check what I'm looking for online as a backup, but the book is a good starting place and easy to grab off the shelf when I need it.
5. The Gift of Healing Herbs: Plant Medicines and Home Remedies for a Vibrantly Healthy Life by Robin Rose Bennett
Ever since I roomed next door to Robin Rose at the Midwest Women's Herbal Conference, where we both taught years ago, I have admired her youthful, fun-loving nature, plant communication skills, and sweet teaching style.
This book has more than 180 recipes included and over 500 pages! I like that the second part of the book is divided up by systems of the body, with several main herbs discussed for each system. Part 3, entitled "Everything is Medicine," focuses on kitchen medicine, super helpful! Her recipes like Rose Vanilla Bean Honey draw you in.
6. Rosemary Gladstar's Family Herbal (new title: Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health) by Rosemary Gladstar
I feel like any human who has met, seen, or heard Rosemary (considered by many (including me), as the Grandmother of Herbalism) love her. She is like an incredibly knowledgeable herbal fairy godmother. This book is full of gorgeous plant pictures and plenty of helpful information for budding Herbalists (ha!). It makes a great gift. It has chapters on stress & anxiety, recipes for radiant beauty, and separate chapters for children, women, men, and elders (unlike many books), along with a materia medica.
7. Healing Tonics: 101 Herbal Concoctions to Increase Energy, Boost Immunity, Enhance Memory, Ease Digestions, and Support Daily Health and Wellness by Jeanine Pollak
Published back in 2000, this was one of my first herbal books. It's small and super accessible. The whimsically named recipes, like Garden of Eden Elixir, are enticing and delicious. There are recipes by many different herbalists, with a sidebar mini biography on each. The herbs are mostly easy to find at your local health food store. It's a good way to learn while enjoying food as medicine.
8. Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth by Dr. Sharol Marie Tilgner
Admittedly, this is a newer book in my library, so I'm still exploring it. It's a big book, with the first part being materia medica, the second is herbal formauls by body system, a bit on dosages, and another on how to make herbal preparations with plenty of recipes included. It seems a helpful guide for the herbalist who wants to delve deep.
9. Body Into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care by Maria Noël Groves
I had the pleasure of vending next to the author a few years ago at the Great Lakes Herb Faire. I have to say she impresses me with her immense knowledge and all she does. This is another new book to my library that I'm looking forward to diving into. I love that she includes forest bathing, breathing, meditation, and cultivating optimisim in her Foundations of Good Health section. She starts off with the basics we all need, like relaxation, digestion and elimination, mood, and sleep. Then, she goes deeper into the body systems, including materia medica for each. She closes with a section on buying and harvesting herbs and DIY herbal remedies. It's also a beautiful book!
10. Herbal Materia Medica by Michael Moore
The copy I have was gifted to me and I'm actually not sure you can find it in print anymore (let me know if you do find it). But you can find the pdf for free here. You can also check the website for all of Michael Moore's writings (be aware, it's not super user friendly). Michael Moore was the teacher of many of today's teachers. Though he has passesd, his leagacy lives on through his teachings. This manual provides a (super) short and succinct guide to the numbers part of making mostly tinctures (along with some other formulas here and there) and dosage. It's useful to have handy.
I'm thinking of having several of these articles on herbal books and dividing them by topic, like books on mushrooms, field or foraging guides, etc. What would you want to see? Are some of your favorites not on this list? Share 'em in the comments!
Want to learn more about Herbal Medicine Making with virtual demos from the comfort of your home or in-person?
We created these learning opportunities just for you:
Winter Herbal Medicine Pay-What-You-Can Virtual Class
November 18, 6 PM EST
Be prepared this winter for health challenges!
Let's beef up our immune systems, so we can avoid viruses and infections. And just in case you do happen to fall sick, learn how to make and utilize herbal remedies to have in your herbal medicine cabinet to make self, family, and community care easy.
Make Your Own Herbal Home Remedies Virtual Course
Thursdays in January, 6 PM EST
Start the new year off right, with a healthier you! This is your year! Throw resolutions out the window and turn intentions into practice. Take the first steps to becoming your own Herbalist. Be able to help your loved ones and your community. Classes include Making Your Own Herbal Teas, Tinctures, Oils & Salves, and Herbs as Food.
Wildcrafted Herb School
Second Fridays & Saturdays, April - November
This is a DIFFERENT kind of herb school.
We pride ourselves on that.
In this program you will truly learn the Wild Craft of Herbalism.
We believe that the best medicine for our bodies is already available in the plants that grow in the same habitat that we live in, and have adapted to the same environmental issues.
Join us for this brand new program at the home of The WANDER School, on the edge of Pisgah National Forest on the river in Burnsville, NC. We'll learn Botany, Foraging, Wild Food Cooking, Wild Plant Crafts, Herbal Medicine Making, Native American Herbal & Tradional Food Knowledge (including the importance of Acknowledgement & Reciprocity), Creating Formulas for our Communities & Loved Ones, Herb Gardening, and much much more! Get all the details and reserve your spot.
Want to help us continue to do this important work