herbal medicine books

The 22 Best Herbal Medicine Books for Self-Study

Herbal medicine has been used for centuries as a natural and holistic approach to healing the body and mind. With the rise of interest in alternative medicine, more people are turning to herbal remedies to improve their health and wellbeing.

Whether you’re a novice or an experienced herbalist, it’s essential to have a collection of herbal medicine books that cover both herbs and herbal recipes. With so many excellent resources to choose from, I’m frequently asked about my preferred herbal medicine books. Here, I’ve compiled a list of what I consider to be the top books on herbalism and herbal medicine to get you started. 

By reading these books, you’ll gain a solid foundation in creating your own plant medicine, and you’ll soon be started on your path to becoming a knowledgeable and skilled herbalist. From identifying herbs and their medicinal properties to creating effective herbal remedies, these books will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of herbal medicine.

herbal medicine books

My Favorite Herbal Medicine Books

THE HERBAL MEDICINE-MAKER’S HANDBOOK is one of the most charming herbal medicine books out there about making your own herbal remedies, and is written by one of the great herbalists, James Green. He emphasizes that everyone can use herbs from their own gardens to make simple but effective home cures.

Making Plant Medicine is a comprehensive guidebook on traditional herbalism and the art of making herbal remedies. Written by Richo Cech, the book provides detailed instructions on how to identify, harvest, and prepare various medicinal plants for use in teas, tinctures, oils, and salves. With a focus on sustainable practices and a reverence for the healing power of nature, this is one of the most essential herbal medicine books  for anyone interested in natural health and herbal medicine.

Outlines of over 500 major botanical medicines, with the preferred forms and methods of their preparations. This book is out of print, but can be found online in PDF here. 

This book contains detailed instructions for making and using approximately 250 herbal medicines at home. It offers tips on harvesting, preparing, and administering herbs in many forms–including fresh, bulk dried herbs, capsules, extracts in water, alcohol, glycerin and oil–as well as topical applications of herbs as salves, lotions, poultices and tooth powders. It also covers herbal hydrotherapy and explains why different preparations of the same herb will obtain better results than others.

herbal medicine books

General Herbal Medicine Books for Beginners

The Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine is one of those one-stop herbal medicine books with everything you need to know about herbs, featuring detailed information on 550 plants and their medicinal properties. This easy-to-use guide features tons of tips and tricks on planting and propagating a diverse range of herbs with the core focus on improving your health and treating your ailments with a little help from nature!

In this introductory guide, Rosemary Gladstar shows you how easy it can be to make your own herbal remedies for life’s common ailments. She profiles 33 common healing plants and includes advice on growing, harvesting, preparing, and using herbs in healing tinctures, oils and creams. Stock your medicine cabinet full of all-natural low cost herbal preparations.

This happens to be one of my “go-to” herbal medicine books that brings alternative medicine back to the forefront. Researched and written by a medical herbalist and natural healer, it features one hundred specific plants and their associated remedies, along with hundreds of color photographs that provide fascinating insights into how these common wild plants can be used in medicines.  Anyone who wants to improve their health in a completely natural way will find this book to be an absolute must-have.

Liz Neves shows you how to safely and ethically forage Northeast medicinal plants in this comprehensive guide. She teaches you how to identify and harvest 111 of the region’s most powerful wild plants, and how to use them in herbal medicines including teas, tinctures, and salves. Highly recommended. 

This book combines selections from John Parkinson’s classic book from 1640 with modern commentary on how each plant is used today. Parkinson’s clear and lively description of a chosen plant’s virtues or healing properties are presented side-by-side with the editor’s notes–including copious herbal recipes–making this the perfect book for students and practitioners of herbalism, historians, and gardeners.

herbal medicine books

Herbal Remedies & Recipes

When the next cold or headache strikes, reach for your cupboard instead of the medicine cabinet. Alchemy of Herbs shows you how to transform common ingredients into foods and remedies that heal. With the guidance of herbalist Rosalee de la Forêt, you’ll understand how to match the properties of each plant to your own unique needs–for a truly personalized approach to health for you and your family. This is one of the most accessible herbal medicine books out there and is perfect for the beginner herbalist. 

Rosemary Gladstar, a herbalist with a wealth of knowledge about natural medicine, shares 175 proven remedies for common ailments. These herbal cures are easy to prepare and safe enough for children. This is another one of those herbal medicine books that’s great for beginners. 

The Garden Apothecary is a guide to growing, harvesting and using herbs from your garden or surrounding area to create your own medicinal apothecary. With recipes, skincare tips and plant spotlights, it will encourage you to become more connected to the natural world through learning about herbalism from plants around you.

Whether you’re new to herbal remedies or an experienced practitioner, JJ Pursell offers a one-stop resource for natural remedies that heal and nurture.  Master Recipes from the Herbal Apothecary presents safe, trusted remedies written by a board-certified naturopathic physician. 

It starts with master recipes for tinctures, salves, teas, capsules, oils, washes and more. Once you understand how to make these basic formulations, you can access over 375 specific recipes that address a range of health concerns from colds and headaches to insomnia and digestive issues. Comprehensive, thoroughly researched and beautifully packaged, Master Recipes from the Herbal Apothecary is definitely one of those herbal medicine books you’ll want on your shelf.

The Complete Book of Herbs: A Practical Guide to Growing and Using Herbs explains how to cultivate herbs, looks at their uses in floral arrangements, cooking, beauty care, and folk remedies, and lists useful herbs.

Stephanie Tourles offers 150 original recipes for herbal balms, oils, salves, liniments, and other topical ointments to treat a wide range of conditions. This comprehensive guide is filled with safe and effective cures for scores of common ailments, including headaches, backaches, arthritis, insomnia and splinters. Take control of your well-being and stock your family’s medicine cabinet with gentle, all-natural homemade healing formulations.

Herbal Body Care

Rosemary Gladstar shares her knowledge of natural beauty in this guide to making homemade body care products. She presents more than 30 recipes for cleansers, moisturizers, and creams made with essential oils and herbs. You’ll also learn her amazing five-step system for glowing skin. Skip the harsh commercial ingredients and use nature’s closet to keep your body healthy and beautiful!

herbal medicine books

Folk Herbalism, Herbal Traditions & Ancestral Medicine

For more than twenty years, this pioneering work has served as a bible for herbalists throughout the world. It is an illustrated encyclopedic guide to more than two hundred medicinal plants found in North America, with descriptions of each plant’s appearance and uses, directions for methods of use and dosage, and comparisons between Native American traditions and other cultures’ uses of the same plants.

In Held by the Land , ethnobotanist Leigh Joseph shares her insight into the traditional plant knowledge of Indigenous Peoples of North America. The book offers a guide to harvesting herbs and other plants and using them topically, as well as information about North American plants that can be used to treat common ailments and add nutrition to your diet.

From Matthew Wood, who has almost forty years of clinical experience. The Earthwise Herbal profiles Old World plants and encompasses all the major, and many of the secondary, herbs of traditional and modern Western herbalism. 

Wood describes characteristic symptoms and conditions in which each plant has proved useful in the clinic, often illustrated with appropriate case histories. He also takes a historical view based on his extensive study of ancient and traditional herbal literature. 

Written in an easy, engaging style that offers insight into how plants work, what areas of the body they work in, how they have been used in the past–all while providing readers with pharmacological information that indicates how plants hang together to produce a portrait as a whole entity. Ideal for beginners or advanced practitioners.

Enrique Salmón builds on this concept of connection to nature and highlights 80 plants revered by North America’s indigenous peoples. Salmon teaches us the ways plants are used as food and medicine, their important health benefits, plus their role in traditional stories and myths. Discover in these pages how the timeless wisdom of iwígara can enhance your own kinship with the natural world.

In this stunningly illustrated herbal guide, we learn how to connect with the medicinal plants that grow around us. We learn how to use plants to support our health, from infancy through old age. With recipes for simple medicine making and self-prescribing advice, this is a beginner’s guide to herbalism and explores the practical applications of plant medicines for the home or community. 

The book highlights health conditions associated with each phase of life, describes how to work with plant allies to promote wellbeing; it also includes rewilding and journaling exercises, so we might go deeper in our connection with ourselves and nature.

In Earth Medicines, Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, a curandera (or traditional healer), combines Indigenous wisdom from many traditions with the power of the four elements. Ruiz teaches readers to be their own healers by discovering their own ancestral practices and cultivating a personal connection to the elements. These healing recipes and rituals draw on the power of Water, Air, Earth and Fire–a reminder that the natural elements are the origins of everything and can heal not only our bodies, but also our minds and spirits.

Concluding thoughts

In conclusion, these 22 herbal medicine books are the perfect starting point for any beginner herbalist looking to expand their knowledge and skills. From identifying herbs to making remedies, these books offer a wealth of information and guidance. But don’t stop here! Check out my other book guides for even more resources to help you on your journey. Happy reading!

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