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The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants [Kindle Edition]

Matthew Wood
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Noted herbalist Matthew Wood brings twenty-five years of clinical experience to this comprehensive book on medicinal plants. The first in a two-volume set, The Earthwise Herbal profiles Old World plants (volume two will treat American plants). Organized alphabetically, the book encompasses all of the major—and many of the secondary—herbs of traditional and modern Western herbalism. Author Wood describes characteristic symptoms and conditions in which each plant has proved useful in the clinic, often illustrated with appropriate case histories. In addition, he takes a historical view based on his extensive study of ancient and traditional herbal literature. Written in an easy, engaging, non-technical style, The Earthwise Herbal offers insight into the “logic” of the plant: how it works, in what areas of the body it works, how it has been used in the past, what its pharmacological constituents indicate about its use, and how all these different factors hang together to produce a portrait of the plant as a whole entity. Ideal for beginners, serious students, or advanced practitioners, The Earthwise Herbal is also useful for homeopaths and flower essence practitioners as it bridges these fields in its treatment of herbal medicines.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews


“In The Earthwise Herbal, Matthew Wood has revived the richness, depth, and dignity of the herbal medicine of the old masters, while at the same time endowing it with a new cosmopolitan, cross-cultural flavor that lifts it to a genuinely planetary level.”
—Rudolph Ballentine, MD, author of Radical Healing

“Matthew Wood propounds with great clarity, wisdom, and his own experience the gifts the earth in its wisdom has given us in the form of amazing medicines for almost all our ills, whether of body, mind, emotion, personality, or constitution.”
—Anne McIntyre, herbalist (NIMH)

"Matthew Wood has put his over 25 years of experience as a practicing herbalist into the heart of this book, giving us all something worthy of study and reference, no doubt for generations to come. His understanding of the spirit of herbalism, along with his love of the craft, is contagious—I sincerely hope many people will catch a good dose of his knowledge!"

“What [Matthew Wood] brings to herbalism is a first-hand sense of the old Western herbal knowledge with each plant steeped in its historic role.”
The American Herb Association

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

Matthew Wood, a practicing herbalist for over twenty-five years, lives on an herb farm thirty minutes west of downtown Minneapolis. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and holds a Master of Science degree in Herbal Medicine from the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine, accredited by the University of Wales. Wood is the author of four previous books (all published by North Atlantic Books) and a registered herbalist, or professional member, of the American Herbalists Guild, the only self-regulating body of practicing herbalists in the United States. He is also a regular contributor to the Journal of the American Herbalists Guild.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1780 KB
  • Print Length: 594 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1556436920
  • Publisher: North Atlantic Books (July 5, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #610,948 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
I was lucky enough to be able to use a draft version of this text in conjunction with one of Matt Wood's Herbal classes for most of the last year, and it fills virtually every hole [half the holes really] left open by the authors' earlier *Book of Herbal Wisdom*; a true masterpiece which I and all of my fellow healers turn to over and over.

BoHW had only 40 or so herbs and an excellent if brief Therapeutic Repertory at the end. This tome - or 1/2 tome really - has begun the process of providing a nearly complete Western Herbal Materia Medica; the like of which has not been seen since the Eclectics demise far back in the early 20th Century. And indeed goes beyond the Eclectics usual bare-boned and dry essentials for prescribing. Matt knows most of these plants like we know our friends. Like Tolkien's 'Smith of Wooten Major' he has been given a passport to go directly into the worlds of the plants soul and spirit, and while we may never have such direct access ourselves, Matt gives us a travelog in this [and all his books] simply unsurpassed in all of the worlds Herbal Literature [or at least the big slices that have made it into English!]

Another aspect makes this different from all other herbals out there is that it is a continuation of all that is good and true in most of the Schools of Western Herbology:
*Hippocratic and Galenic Humoralism
*Paracelsian Natura Sophia and medicinal specifics
*Physio-medicalism [Thompson and Dr.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magnificent Achievement November 16, 2008
This book and its New World sister are far more than herbals. To make a herbal of just this type, now, is a statement about the way medicine needs to go, and perhaps even civilization too. So it had to be done just right - which it has been.

Wood's approach is best conveyed in his own words:

'I have called this herbal "earthwise" to contrast it to other herbals reflecting the pharmacological approach. It is based on sources that the scientific approach ignores: historical uses, folk medicine, folk practitioners, the experience of actual herbalists, intuitive concepts of energy, plant properties, and medicine, daydreams, and dreams. It is, however, "scientific" in a broader sense of the word because it follows an organized and reasonably critical approach to understanding plant medicine.'

What a treat this book is! Respectful of every herbalist's approach, and of every herb, Wood places us back amidst a true and genuine western holism. Noting the systems of the Greeks, Chinese, and Ayurveda, he takes a simple approach (with which his readers will already be familiar) based on tissue states and actions. And Wood points out with perfect correctness that holism cannot take place without such an energetic approach.

Although, as he says, much of what was 'alternative' not so long ago is now 'complementary', and doctors are considering lifestyle and temperament issues just as much as biochemistry, even most 'holistic' western doctors haven't taken the plunge to a full western energetic concept as has Wood.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fanastic information for herbalists September 23, 2008
Those who are interested in herbs of North America will love this book. The authour provides detailed information about many poorly researched herbs that are valuable in natural medicine practice. He melds homeopathic provings with botanical information to create a full picture of each herb that he reviews!
For example, Lactuca is just a sleep herb, right? The authour reveals an entire personality and specific conditions that respond well to wild lettuce. Truely useful in any natural medicine clinical setting.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I consider myself a beginning herbalist and I love this book. I don't consider it hard to understand, but that may be because it reminds me of Pitchford's "Healing With Whole Foods" in the way that it describes herbs. I would recommend Pitchford's book for anyone having trouble understanding this one.

Wood seems to use not only "old world" plants, but old information, which makes the writing style- the quotes, rather- interesting.

My only complaint is that the general index is lacking. I can find many remedies for many different plants, but few remedies that I have looked for can be found in the index.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A favorite go-to herb reference February 8, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I've had both volumes of The Earthwise Herbal for a few years now, and they spend a lot of time off my bookshelf. I have countless herbalism references, but Woods's volumes are some of the first I grab whenever I need to look something up. I love the history behind the herbs, as well as the layout. Very practical and useful. This one, which focuses on Old World medicinal plants, is great for us in the New World, since these are plants that have managed to find their way here. And as an herbalist, I like learning where they originated from. Worth reading from cover to cover; and don't skip the intro. Fascinating!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Great book!
Published 1 month ago by Amanda Littlefield
5.0 out of 5 stars great for natural medicine and any herbalist
Matthew Wood, I would not be without his books, great for natural medicine and any herbalist.
Published 8 months ago by SC
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books out there
The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism (by the same author) is the key to Western Herbalism, This book is the materia medica that describes most of the Old World plants'... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Linda Demissy
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great herbal reference book
This book has information on so many different herbs and plants. It contains not only good information but good historical data as well. Read more
Published 18 months ago by C2
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute essential for herbalists
Excellent and trustworthy information. Very well researched and documented. With his personal input, you can tell he knows what he's talking about, and the testimonials just add to... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Deanna Gilbert
5.0 out of 5 stars Very detailed, hard work
From reading this book ( which now is my reference from now on) it is obvious hard work on research from past books, even years of 1700 has put forward by the knowledgable author . Read more
Published on June 30, 2012 by Frank Tailor
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Except...
There is a great amount of information packed in this book. The problem is finding it. The index in this book is lacking. Read more
Published on October 24, 2011 by Duane
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book but unfortunate layout
The content of this book is wonderful. So glad to have it in my library.

My only complaint is the typesetting of the book. Read more
Published on September 15, 2011 by KJM
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should have it!
This book and its companion volume should be in everyone's natural health library. The way the books are set up make it easy to find an herbal remedy by name, or by the condition... Read more
Published on January 23, 2010 by PatriciaD2284
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Best in Herbals!
This Guide to Old World Herbs and its sister companion book are simply 2 of the best herbals to be found anywhere. Read more
Published on June 21, 2009 by Linda E. N-Eaton
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