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Author Topic: Recommendation for herb books?  (Read 3277 times)

Kaisa

Recommendation for herb books?
« on: November 06, 2012, 02:45:46 pm »
Hi everyone. I've been looking for a good comprehensive book about herbs, ideally encyclopedia style. I really just want something accurate and not steered towards any specific magic tradition (i.e. wicca, etc.)

Anyone have any recommendations?

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Re: Recommendation for herb books?
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2012, 11:04:44 am »
Quote from: Kaisa;79884
Hi everyone. I've been looking for a good comprehensive book about herbs, ideally encyclopedia style. I really just want something accurate and not steered towards any specific magic tradition (i.e. wicca, etc.)

Anyone have any recommendations?


Herbs: Medicinal, Magical, Marvelous! by Deborah J. Martin. I love this book. She is a Master Herbalist and witch. No specific tradition is used as far as I can tell. Medicinal and magic uses as well as scientific names are used. She even has a conditions section you can look up kidney stones or what not. It's the only herb book I own.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 11:06:52 am by Holdasown »

Vitkyng

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Re: Recommendation for herb books?
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2012, 12:06:55 pm »
Quote from: Kaisa;79884
Hi everyone. I've been looking for a good comprehensive book about herbs, ideally encyclopedia style. I really just want something accurate and not steered towards any specific magic tradition (i.e. wicca, etc.)

Anyone have any recommendations?



  There are a couple the spring to mind right away:
Scott Cunningham - Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs (1985) Llewellyn (ISBN 0-87542-122-9)
Paul Beyerl - The Master Book of Herbalism (1984) Phoenix Publishing (ISBN 0-919345-53-0)
Paul Beyerl - A Compendium of Herbal Magick (1998) Phoenix Publishing (ISBN 0-919345-45-X)

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Re: Recommendation for herb books?
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2012, 12:16:37 pm »
Quote from: Kaisa;79884
Hi everyone. I've been looking for a good comprehensive book about herbs, ideally encyclopedia style. I really just want something accurate and not steered towards any specific magic tradition (i.e. wicca, etc.)

Anyone have any recommendations?

You might find some book lists about herbs on the archive board if you just search for 'herb books' - I was just looking because I remembered we had at least one thread about herb books, but the search turned up several threads:

http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php

Siren

Re: Recommendation for herb books?
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2012, 01:30:17 pm »
Quote from: Vitkyng;80007
There are a couple the spring to mind right away:
Scott Cunningham - Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs (1985) Llewellyn (ISBN 0-87542-122-9)
Paul Beyerl - The Master Book of Herbalism (1984) Phoenix Publishing (ISBN 0-919345-53-0)
Paul Beyerl - A Compendium of Herbal Magick (1998) Phoenix Publishing (ISBN 0-919345-45-X)

 
I have the bolded one too, and I really like it. It's more focused on folklore and symbolism than medicinal use (so it kind of depends on what you're using herbs for), but it's been useful in getting ideas for what herbs to, say, burn in ritual for various deities or purposes.

Maps

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Re: Recommendation for herb books?
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2012, 07:39:10 pm »
Quote from: Kaisa;79884
Hi everyone. I've been looking for a good comprehensive book about herbs, ideally encyclopedia style. I really just want something accurate and not steered towards any specific magic tradition (i.e. wicca, etc.)

Anyone have any recommendations?

I highly recommend Prescription for Nutritional Healing. It's a nutrition book and not related to spirituality at all, but it's firmly rooted in dietary science so if you're looking for that sort of thing, this is really the best general book that I know of. If you're looking for magical uses, then... likely not the best place to go. However, most of the old "correspondences" are based on medicinal values, so it might still be helpful in that department.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 07:40:24 pm by Maps »

Phouka

Re: Recommendation for herb books?
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2012, 12:31:33 pm »
Quote from: Kaisa;79884
Hi everyone. I've been looking for a good comprehensive book about herbs, ideally encyclopedia style. I really just want something accurate and not steered towards any specific magic tradition (i.e. wicca, etc.)

Anyone have any recommendations?


I've always sworn by Rodale's Encyclopedia of Herbs.

It's a general book, but does list such things as magical uses, medicial (historica and modern) uses, warnings and how to grow.

It also contains useful things like how to get essential oils, make soaps and other crafty stuff.

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Re: Recommendation for herb books?
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2012, 03:19:28 pm »
Quote from: Kaisa;79884
Hi everyone. I've been looking for a good comprehensive book about herbs, ideally encyclopedia style. I really just want something accurate and not steered towards any specific magic tradition (i.e. wicca, etc.)

Anyone have any recommendations?

 
I'll add my voice to the chorus recommending Beryl.  I have his Master Book of Herbalism and I love it.  It's one of the few modern books that deals with both medicinal and magical properties.

I love Cunningham's encyclopedia, but its problematic for some people.  He's basically collected a bunch of herb lore from all over the place, but doesn't cite his sources.  And isn't always clear about levels of toxicity and all that.  Of  course, with anything that will be ingested, inhaled or applied to the skin, you're going to want to double check its safety with a reliable source on medicinal herbs.
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Re: Recommendation for herb books?
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2015, 11:23:12 pm »
Quote from: Kaisa;79884
Hi everyone. I've been looking for a good comprehensive book about herbs, ideally encyclopedia style. I really just want something accurate and not steered towards any specific magic tradition (i.e. wicca, etc.)

Anyone have any recommendations?

 
I find this book to be quite interesting.  The Herb Society of America New Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses:

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Re: Recommendation for herb books?
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2015, 12:17:02 am »
Quote from: Kaisa;79884
Hi everyone. I've been looking for a good comprehensive book about herbs, ideally encyclopedia style. I really just want something accurate and not steered towards any specific magic tradition (i.e. wicca, etc.)

Anyone have any recommendations?

 
What about:
"Maria Treben Health Through God`s Pharmacy"
Book about herbal medicine by an Austrian healer.

Nightshift

Re: Recommendation for herb books?
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2015, 06:39:20 am »
Quote from: Kaisa;79884
Hi everyone. I've been looking for a good comprehensive book about herbs, ideally encyclopedia style. I really just want something accurate and not steered towards any specific magic tradition (i.e. wicca, etc.)

Anyone have any recommendations?

I have A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M Grieve. It was published in the 1930s, so it's a bit archaic in spots, but it contains quite a bit of info about culinary, medicinal, and folk uses of various herbs. It is mostly based around British herbs, but I live in a similar climate, so cultivation isn't a problem.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2015, 06:40:04 am by Nightshift »

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Re: Recommendation for herb books?
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2015, 01:35:21 am »
Quote from: Nightshift;182715
I have A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M Grieve. It was published in the 1930s, so it's a bit archaic in spots, but it contains quite a bit of info about culinary, medicinal, and folk uses of various herbs. It is mostly based around British herbs, but I live in a similar climate, so cultivation isn't a problem.

 
This work is also available online. To expand on what Nightshade said about archaic bits, the online version has the caveat, 'For Medicinal Use - Bear in mind it was written with the conventional wisdom of the early 1900's. This should be taken into account as some of the information may now be considered inaccurate, or not in accordance with modern medicine.'

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Re: Recommendation for herb books?
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2015, 09:02:25 pm »
Quote from: Kaisa;79884
Hi everyone. I've been looking for a good comprehensive book about herbs, ideally encyclopedia style. I really just want something accurate and not steered towards any specific magic tradition (i.e. wicca, etc.)

Anyone have any recommendations?

 
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Re: Recommendation for herb books?
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2016, 05:00:27 pm »
Quote from: Kaisa;79884
I've been looking for a good comprehensive book about herbs, ideally encyclopedia style.

 
Why not try Nicholas Culpepper's a complete herbal, or perhaps better yet the Urjoozah of Ibn Sina? This edition has a few mistakes, but appears to be the best available at present in English https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015003214510;view=1up;seq=44 .

Sorcha

Re: Recommendation for herb books?
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2016, 07:47:23 pm »
Quote from: Kaisa;79884
Hi everyone. I've been looking for a good comprehensive book about herbs, ideally encyclopedia style. I really just want something accurate and not steered towards any specific magic tradition (i.e. wicca, etc.)

Anyone have any recommendations?

 
Oh, this is my area! I used to manage the book department of a health food store and I have more herb books than I know what to do with.

My personal favorite herb books are those by Rosemary Gladstar. She is more preparation-based, but very good, with tons of info, and she always has a more encyclopedic listing in the back of each book. If you've not actually worked with herbs much, Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs is a GREAT place to start. She gives you 33 herbs and tons of info and recipes that are simple and super useful. Not magic, just practical.

I like Maude Grieve's book. It's huge, though, and doesn't have pictures. I STRONGLY recommend pictures, especially since it's an old book and common names change over the years.

One of my favorite pictoral herbals is The Complete Herb Book by Lesley Bremness. Beautiful photographs; each herb gets at least one page (lavender gets a two page spread, as does sage, because there are so many varieties, and it helps to compare them all side-by-side). There is a ton of information on growing, storing, and using herbs, including medicinal and culinary recipes, along with info on essential oils. It was my first herb book and I still love it even though I tend to go to more instructive books for medicinal uses. It's really good to be able to see what the herbs actually look like; I know I had all kinds of weird ideas as to what certain plants looked like that weren't at ALL close.

If you want a medicinal book by a green witch, Susun Weed might be your woman. She has published several herbals and uses simples: preparations with ONE herb. GREAT for the newbie. :)

I'd look carefully at books that seem to promise way too much in their titles or promise a "comprehensive" health plan. Some of the information in these runs the gamut from harmless-but-not-helpful to downright worrisome. I'd REALLY suggest also buying several herbals and comparing the information to get some sort of consensus.

Now, if your aims are more magical (even in a general way) and/or you're not eating anything, that can be disregarded and any number of encyclopedic books would work; I'd just focus on getting one with clear photographs of all the herbs.

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