Early on in my herbal journey I asked my herbalist mentor what are the best herbal medicine books I should read and she replied with, "If I told you what books to read they will not resonate, the right book will find you as do the right herbs." I've kept this advice with me all these years and find myself wandering random book stores trusting that the right book will find me (it hasn't steered me wrong yet).
I share my favourite books with the same piece of advice. Herbal medicine is a life long discovery with no specific destination, it can be frustrating at times as we are surrounded with 'quick fixes' but it is also the most rewarding journey that will shift your perspective forever.
Best Herbal Medicine Books
1. The Wild Medicine Solution
Author | Guido Masé
This was the very first herbal medicine book I read, I most likely chose it for its slender size and categorical approach. I was heading out of town in a few short days to an intensive herbal course and didn't want to walk in there without a basic understanding of plants (yes that is how 'green' I was at the beginning of my journey). I soon found out that the author was highly recommended and I had chosen well. This book is approachable and informative for any beginner offering an in-depth understanding of aromatic, bitter and tonic plants with common plant examples, how to grow, harvest and use them in your daily life. The perfect place to begin.
2. Alchemy of Herbs
Author | Rosalee De La Forėt
By looking at the bent corners, tea stained pages, broken spine and jotted notes this is my most referenced book of them all, a true guide to the basics of herbalism. Rosalee breaks down how herbs actually work and the important concept of matching them to YOU not the ailment. With a quiz to kick it off you will discover more about yourself and how to use herbalism to benefit you. A must in your herbal library.
3. Essential Herbs
Author | Neal's Yard Remedies
Not like the others which share history, their story and perspective this book acts similar to a dictionary with over 100 herbs. What I love most about this book is their 'Remedy Chooser' charts offering a quick and easy way to find a remedy for a specific ailment in common categories such as: Skin, Digestion, Circulation, Women and Men's Health, Immunity, First Aid, Muscles and Joints, Memory and Mind, and pregnancy and brith. Followed by an A-Z herbal guide that shares the benefits of the plant, how to use it and how to grow, forage and harvest it. If you are seeking to expand your knowledge of herbs outside the common list this is a great resource to learn more in an efficient way.
4. Plants For The People
Author | Erin Lovell Verinder
Possibly my most favoured herbal book, its not just beautiful to display but Lovell's approach and story telling is authentic, engaging and inspiring. This book came to be from her many years working with patients at her clinic, she shares tried and true knowledge and her unique approach to herbalism and healing. As you read through this book it feels as if you are on the journey with her, grasping a little piece of her world to embed into your own. It will have you inspired to create your own plant medicine pantry and seek remedies above all else. A book that will re-inspire you every time you pick it up!
Lovell has also released a second book called The Plant Clinic that I also highly recommend as it will take your personal health to a whole new level through the power of plant medicine.
5. The Heartbeat of Trees
Author | Peter Wohlleben
This is not technically a 'herbal medicine book', however I feel it is in great company with the above four offering insight into the forests that surround you and the endless healing power it embodies. Wohlleben is known for his first book The Hidden Life of Trees (also amazing), his years of experience in the forest has lead to a great understanding of the importance of trees, the upper and lower canopy and how they communicate to one another. His books will shift your perspective on the wisdom forests hold and how we can tap into it.
6. Ruffage: A Practical Guide To Vegetables
Author | Abra Berens
Again, not your typical herbal medicine book but I had to. This 'cook book' was what created the space for me to discover my love of cooking. As I browsed a local home shop I intuitively stopped at the book section, judging each spine of its aesthetic, as I grazed over a neutral tone with a dark forest green colour block and all lowercase traditional text I reached for it curious to know what 'ruffage' had to offer; a cook book that disrupts the traditional nature of a cook book. Categorized by vegetable with a variety of ways to prepare it and multiple recipes to create and recreate a delicious meal.
What I love most is the creative freedom it offers, you begin with what vegetable you have in your fridge and scower your cupboards for the list of common ingredients to fulfill the dish. There's no need for a grocery store run, a full day of preparation or the stress of experience it calls for. A must for those who want to incorporate more vegetables in their diet.
There's no greater compliment to a good book than a cup of tea (explore our selection here) and sharing your thoughts with a like-minded reader. I promise to continue to add to this list as I discover more must reads on my herbal journey. If you have any books to recommend for me or want to share your thoughts on the above list I'd love to hear from you over on our Instagram, @woashwellness.