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Author Topic: Good Online/Book Sources For Herbalism?  (Read 1514 times)

Sage

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Good Online/Book Sources For Herbalism?
« on: June 11, 2012, 01:57:33 pm »
So I've been bitten by the herb bug in a really bad way. I've always been fascinated with herbs, spices, and flowers, and now I'm going through my Pagan library for as much info on plant magic and medicine I can find. What are some suggested sources for the magical/ritual, medicinal, and aesthetic (ie, making bath and beauty products) uses of herbs? Where are your favorite places to purchase bulk herbs, spices, and oils?
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Re: Good Online/Book Sources For Herbalism?
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2012, 03:52:42 pm »
Quote from: Sage;59541
So I've been bitten by the herb bug in a really bad way. I've always been fascinated with herbs, spices, and flowers, and now I'm going through my Pagan library for as much info on plant magic and medicine I can find. What are some suggested sources for the magical/ritual, medicinal, and aesthetic (ie, making bath and beauty products) uses of herbs? Where are your favorite places to purchase bulk herbs, spices, and oils?

 
For purchase, I am deeply fond of Mountain Rose Herbs (http://mountainroseherbs.com). For stuff they don't carry, I am fond of Magus Books (http://magusbooks.com) (formerly local to me, and I miss them a great deal since I moved), who have a wide range of stuff for both medicinal and magical use.

Both are consistently good quality, and unlike a lot of smaller stores, Magus is really good about managing turnover so that stuff doesn't sit on the shelves too long losing potency.

Culinary herbs I tend to get from Penzey's, either in the store, or online. (http://penzeys.com)

In terms of resources, there's a longstanding forum at Susun Weed's website with a number of thoughtful herbalists on there - the archived posts are useful. I don't think Weed's take is the only useful approach to herbs (I'm deeply fond of Matthew Wood's approach, for example) but the forum's got a reasonable mix of ideas most of the time.  Info at http://www.susunweed.com/wisewomanforum.htm
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Re: Good Online/Book Sources For Herbalism?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2012, 05:07:46 pm »
Quote from: Sage;59541
What are some suggested sources for the magical/ritual, medicinal, and aesthetic (ie, making bath and beauty products) uses of herbs? Where are your favorite places to purchase bulk herbs, spices, and oils?


Shopping sources wouldn't be much use to you, but for reference, the classic Culpeper's Herbal is online (http://www.complete-herbal.com/culpepper/completeherbalindex.htm). Be warned, the language can be challenging.
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Re: Good Online/Book Sources For Herbalism?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2012, 07:24:41 pm »
Quote from: Sage;59541
So I've been bitten by the herb bug in a really bad way. I've always been fascinated with herbs, spices, and flowers, and now I'm going through my Pagan library for as much info on plant magic and medicine I can find. What are some suggested sources for the magical/ritual, medicinal, and aesthetic (ie, making bath and beauty products) uses of herbs? Where are your favorite places to purchase bulk herbs, spices, and oils?

 
Bitten here too. I'm lucky to have an apothecary within an hour's drive so I go there for bulk herbs or I grow or collect in the wild (but am very cautious about that and research prior to collecting now). I attended a seminar on 10 essential emergency herbs once and the speaker highly recommended Mountain Rose for just about everything, even containers.

One book that has been very helpful in making oils, tinctures, baths, creams and other nifty stuff has been The Woman's Book of Healing Herbs.  It only covers about 50 herbs but it does so pretty well. The part about it I like is the step by step instructions it has for making the different things.

I tend to spot a plant and research it root to flower in medicinal field guides and on the web where ever I can find information for medicinal properties, drug interactions, historical and agricultural significance. There are so many sites but few with experiential anecdotes. I will second some of the posts in the Wise Woman Forum to get some of those types of stories. It helped me when I was researching Pokeberries. I have not found one "go to"site for every plant though.  

As for magical purposes, of course there is Cunningham's (both the Encyclopedia and the Incense, Oils and Brews) and I like those but they don't have everything I see that seems to be magical. The Hoodoo books I have do not indicate why an herb was chosen and I have to infer from spells the purpose but still lack the reasoning much of the time. (Admittedly I have not spoken to a root woman in a long time to even say hello much less to data mine and I should.) I recently listened to a podcast about determining the magical property of a plant from the shape of it. I forget what that practice is called at the moment. But I prefer to interact with and watch how the other animals and plants interact with the local plants to gain more insight to add to what I find else where.

It might be cool to pool experiences and create a magical herbal reference to add to the books available. I've toyed with the idea of dedicating a blog to it myself, but at the moment the idea is exhausting as work takes its final toll of the season.

I wish you luck with this endeavor!

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Re: Good Online/Book Sources For Herbalism?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2012, 07:34:20 pm »
Quote from: Sage;59541
What are some suggested sources for the magical/ritual, medicinal, and aesthetic (ie, making bath and beauty products) uses of herbs?

 
In terms of a practical how-to, I'd like to recommend The Herbal Medicine Maker's Handbook by James Green.  The book doesn't give "recipes," per se, as much as it provides a basic understanding for how to make different kinds of preparations.  It's particularly useful for anybody who doesn't have the opportunity to undertake any sort of clinical/apprenticeship training.

I'd also like to second the forums at Susun Weed's website. I've found her books to be a bit hit-or-miss, but the posters on her forums are a good resource.

In general, too, her advice to beginners is apt: you're much better off having really close familiarity with a few wild plants which grow in abundance in your area, than you are memorizing lists of such things as "rosemary is good for circulation" when the only rosemary near you grows in potted plants. Unfortunately, most books on herbalism tend to focus on plants which are native to England or the northern Mediterranean, and they aren't always useful for those of us living outside those areas.

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