Customer Reviews: A Modern Herbal (Volume 1, A-H): The Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic and Economic Properties, Cultivation and Folk-Lore of Herbs, Grasses, Fungi, Shrubs & Trees with Their Modern Scientific Uses
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on October 5, 1999
The name sounds good. You are looking for today's information on herbs. After all, only the latest and greatest will do. And, here it is on Mountain Valley Growers recommended book site. What could be better? Not much! But, this is not a book hot off the presses. This two volume encyclopedia goes back 60 years, when two women put their individual skills together to create a work that should be on every herb gardeners shelf. The writer Maud Grieve and her faithful editor Hilda Leyel created a work that has not been duplicated since. We use this book at least once a week here. Each plants many common names are listed as well as the part used and its habitat. They give us a growth description, talk about the chemical components of each herb and advise us on the medicinal action of these components and how they are used. If other species of the same genus are used that is included. Every time I pick these books up I learn something new and I have been reading and studying herbs for 20 years. Two of my favorite sections are on lavender and hops. See for yourself why.
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on April 26, 2000
This "Modern" Herbal is anything but, and thank god for that. A lay herbalist for many years, I've thumbed through countless books that censor themselves for fear of legal action. Their listings for certain "toxic" herbs saying nothing more than two sentences on how a particular herb should be avoided at all costs.
In A Modern Herbal, we get a peek at a pre-litigious era, where herbs were used and studied with caution, but certainly not discarded entirely.
I particularly enjoy cross-referencing herbs I enjoy (melissa, st. john's wort) in both this book and modern books (Susun Weed, Michael Tierra, et al) to get a fresh perspective on the tried and true.
Beyond the wealth of information, I've also enjoyed the writing style. I've read passages out loud to my sweetheart for a good chuckle.
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HALL OF FAMEon September 22, 2000
This is Volume I (A-H) of a two part paperback version of Mrs. Grieve's book. The text is tiny and it is a REFERENCE book -- but one that can prove useful for those interested in learning more about the many uses of herbs. If you're a serious herbalist, this is the dictionary.
Many herbs (leaves, roots, fruits) were used for medicinal purposes by traditional people, and plant extracts still make up a large share of the inventory of modern pharmacies. Owing to a virtual monopoly on plant sources, big pharmaceutical companies charge the average customer $$ (mucho dinero) for plant extracts our grandparents cultivated and harvested from their kitchen gardens for relatively little or no cost.
If you have the space, you might grow some herbs --especially those used for food. Also, farmer's markets and community food co-ops are good sources. Although I live in an urban area, a food co-op 5 blocks away carries many of the holistic medicines and herbal remedies I use--at much less cost than I would incur at the local grocery or health food store. Check it out!
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on July 1, 1997
If you just have a love of herbs and plants or are a serious student of herbal lore and research you need these books. (both volumns I & II)

I don't know how many times I have been pulling my hair out, from trying to find a specific herb and what its either used for or what it was used for, only to end up with going to one of the two volumns by Maud Grieve and finding them. Silly me, for not checking with these two books first when I started getting stumped.

The research done in the books is extensive, some of the medicinal uses are outdated, or the plants aren't used anymore. For a set of books to last and be reprinted, and still be in print after 50+ years is astounding. Ok its astounding to me, you might not be so astounded, just slightly impressed.

Not only do you get the plant descriptions within these books, the plants that are poisonious are marked as such. Virtually everything you might think you need to know about a specific plant is here. Exceptions being the modern research. One great thing I have found though is, once you have located the elusive plant of your desire, it makes it 100% easier to track down its modern uses if there are any.

If you don't have these books, regardless of your interest in plants, you should. The price is wonderful, the information fantastic.
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on February 21, 2000
I have several shelves of herbal books in my den, and I have to say that none are as complete and informative as this two-book set by Maud Grieve. As a relatively new student to phytotherapy (herbal therapy), I am finding these books to be the reference that I go back to again and again for the most comprehensive information. These books not only describe the medicinal uses, chemical compositions and harvesting techniques of the herbs, but also the useage history and everyday (aka non-medicinal) recipes and useages. It should be noted, however, that these books are from England, and the focus of harvesting locale is often unrelated to my own North American terrain. As well, they are several years old and may not reflect the most up-to-date studies. Nonetheless, I would HIGHLY recommend this set to anyone who has even a cursory interest in the herbal area, as an integral part of your reference library!
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on October 26, 2005
I was fortunate enough to find both this and volume 2 for a very cheap price at a used bookstore. The price was more than worth it. Discusses the medicinal, culinary, cosmetic and economic properties of a large variety of herbs, beginning with aconite and ending in the H's. The materia medicas have been broken into 2 parts, but the full index is available in both versions. Strangely enough, above the index on each page it doesn't say list of plants, but lists of plates. If anyone could explain this to me, I'd appreciate it.

Overall a very worthy reference aide. Not the one I turn to the most but one I do use quite a bit. Information is not spared on herbs, and each gets at least a page, with tiny text. Sometimes an old poem or piece from an ancient Materia Medica is given as a treat, such as with Culpeper and Gerard. There really aren't many recipes and formulas in these books but the ones given can be useful. For instance, apple butter, Almond butter, Almond milk etc ( much is written on almonds )

I especially enjoyed all the folklore details included here, very nice in rich history. Diagrams adorn many pages, in black and white, all helping the old feel appeal.

A great choice for reference materials, now considered classics.
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on February 14, 1999
I am a retired Hospital Pharmacist with an interest in enjoying my own personal library of topics in all areas of Science, as well as my own field of Pharmacy. Herbal medicine is an important area of Pharmacognosy, which is a basic field within our area of expertise.While not a complete source of material in Pharmacognosy these two texts would certainly compliment whatever texts you have, in this area. We, as Pharmacists are losing BASIC information sources with our current Pharmacy textbooks, and those wishing to obtain good, solid information on the use of Herbs should consider adding them to their armamentarium. William R.Bell, RPh. 14Feb1999 You may contact me at ''" end of text
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on July 25, 2005
I knew M. Grieve was going to be top-notch, but when I dazzeled my herb teacher with my materia medicas I was even more impressed! Excellent, excellent descriptions, information, history, etc. It's all here!
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on July 7, 1999
Very nice book. Don't forget to order the second half (isbn # 0486227995). It would be great if the pictures were color but found information in this book that I couldn't find in other books.
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on May 15, 2013
As a student of herbology, I am familiar with Margaret Grieve's two volume set of books called "A Modern Herbal". It is a classic in the field of herbalism. It is a reference book, but a very interesting reference book. Originally published in 1931, it contains monographs on hundreds of herbs. There are illustrations of many herbs and for a reference book, it makes good casual reading.

Some of the information is dated, like the scientific names under the old system, many herbs have been renamed since the book was written. She also gives interesting folklore about the various herbs. In one entry I read about a debate in parliament about the herb in question and possible legislation being proposed for it. Some of the herbs and their uses "back then" are not used now and we now have a lot more science behind the use of herbs than she had.

Having said that, the two volume set of books still carries a lot of weight in the herbal world today. In many of the herbal courses I have taken there are direct quotes and references to her writings. Anyone with a serious interst in herbology should get this set of books. I know I'm glad I got them. -- Valerie Lull, Author, Ten Healthy Teas
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