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I was drawn to this book because I recognized so many familiar plants from my childhood among the drawings. I never suspected that the humble jewel weed or stinking Benjamins had ever had any medicinal uses. It's a very entertaining and enlightening read. The title is somewhat misleading. I would caution anyone against using this as a serious herbal medicine text. The entries are of historical rather than medical significance, but that does lessen its wide ranging appeal. Use it to extend your knowledge and enrich your walks in the woods of the north east.
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I love this book! Not only does it provide a great historical compilation of how Native Americans (and early settlers) used these plants... but it has become a handy "field guide" for me because of the great illustrations and grouping by growing conditions. Would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in how Native Americans used these plants. Fascinating read. (The only thing I would like to see in the book would be even more plants. For some reason, I don't believe basics like ginseng or goldenseal were listed. It does contain a plethora of information on hundreds of other plants, however.)
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I was really excited about this book and was expecting analysis. There is barely any analysis or narrative. After a tedious introduction that didn't give much insight into how Native Americans used herbs, the author presents the various native woodland plants in a format like most field guides. After each plant, she lists historical quotes about the herbs and puts tribal names in caps. There are some great quotes. It's a pretty cool reference, and as a lover of native plants, I will keep it. However, I really wanted more on how different tribes used the herbs in everyday life. If it were an e-book or in some digital format, it would be much more useful, because you could search it easily. The index only lists plant names, not tribal names. The Peterson Field Guide is much more to the point and better edited. I'm bummed. Based on the title and reviews, I was expecting an historical, ethnobotanical account of native plant use by Natives. You can get some of that information out after a lot of work and doing your own analysis.
*** OK, after having this book for a few weeks, I'm really glad I kept it. It's an amazing reference for identifying and learning about woodland plants. Also, the line drawings are really nice for identification. The author put a tremendous amount of work into this book, and I've been enjoying it. Some of the historical quotes are hilarious. Also, as a note, this is not intended as a guide to making herbal remedies or using native plants as herbal remedies.