Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.97 shipping
The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicines Paperback – September 15, 1997
|New from||Used from|
Books with Buzz
Discover the latest buzz-worthy books, from mysteries and romance to humor and nonfiction. Explore more
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
More items to explore
From the Back Cover
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
For example: I am a novice and a mild cynic, but thanks to the clear writing I immediately caught on to the important concept of "the doctrine of signatures," in which plants are said to resemble the organs they treat. The book points directly to real life, and soon I was using my limited understandings of plants to arrive at ideas of how they would work based on their form. Before I read the entire description of the Iris, I guessed that it would be useful for blood sugar problems because I have noticed that Irises smell like grape Kool-Aid. Later I came across some Jimsonweed in my yard and immediately guessed at its poisonous, nerve-affecting and heart-affecting properties based on the four-chambered spiky, head-like seed pod. When I looked up later, there was also a reference to the extreme laxity of its users, just like the laxity of the plant. It is hilariously cartoonish.
I gained a deeper understanding of herbs from this book; but I also gained the understanding that herbalism is a lifetime study just like conventional medicine. You will not become an accomplished herbalist just by reading the book; but you can use it as a map for your journey.
-1 star: no actual photos for reference (there are drawn black and white pictures though - which, I can't seem to use very well to identify plants) this may just be my problem, but I have an EXTREMELY difficult time identifying "medicinal herbs/plants" without some sort of actual photograph of them. This may not be your issue though!
-1 star: no actual formulae/format as to how to actually use these plants as medicine. PLEASE NOTE: I have not had a chance to read this book completely - so these deductions could be revised in the future if I do find actual formulae/formats as to how to use these medicinal plants listed in the book. Through a very cursory "flip through" of the book, I have not discovered any measurements or more detailed descriptions as to how these plants could be used more specifically... (I'm new to this category, and I'm not sure if this is a legitimate "issue" in this field).
Longer INITIAL review:
An explanation of my deductions:
As a beginner looking to purchase this book, I had some minor expectations which I was able to confirm immediately upon a very quick "flip through" of the book... and this sounds very beginner-ish… no pictures! There are hand drawn artist renditions which are "fine" I guess. But there are no actual photographs! I have tried identifying plants before with drawn pictures... and it might just be some sort of weird mental handicap I'm born with... I can't! Even knowing what a dandelion is, and how it looks... seeing an artist's black and white rendition of it compared to what I'm seeing in the fields... I still can't seem to draw any connections between the two no matter how talented the artist... and that is just the thing... in the end, a simple black and white hand drawn artisitic rendition of a dandelion will never be the same as an actual photograph of it. I say dandelion, and anyone who knows what a dandelion is must think I'm just completely lost... but what if it was "plantago lanceolata, P. Major, P. psyllium..." or any one of hundreds of herbs etc.? A hand drawn, black and white rendition of a ginger root looks almost the same to me as a ginseng root... but their photographs show more noticeable visual differences and nuances... anyway, I hope you get my point. The best thing would be to have the herbs in front of you, and a teacher instructing you directly. You can touch it, smell it, taste it... etc. But, with a book? This day and age, there should be minimum. Like photographs. For a book being used as an authority on using these plants as medicine, there should be some... "exactness"(?) or specificity. I guess an effort to make something a little less ambiguous would have been appreciated. This can be remedied - (which I will probably try to do later when I have more time) - I can look everything up on the internet and print some photos out and clip them in the book. I just wish that I didn't have to. I read in many places that this person is pretty much the leader in this field... so it is frustrating for me that I don't have a more comprehensive text from him!
Anyway, I have no idea how to identify these plants merely through their names and black and white hand drawings without having to "double check" on the internet as to what they actually look like! A simple included photograph of the plant would be worth "a thousand words" - especially to a person who would have difficulty locating them!
Surely not having photographs should only warrant just a single star deduction, no? Why the second star? Well, I kind of also expected a bit more in terms of some kind of "dosage" information. Or something resembling "how to use a plant as a medicine" - in a more user friendly format. Like I said, this book is definitely not for a lowly beginner like me, and this is only my initial review. I will definitely revise this review once I am able to make use of this book in some way. But for the beginning person about to buy, this book is only "average" for now. I can see how much more useful (when compared side by side) a book with photos and some sort of structural format (such as Ms. Gladstar's book) could be, and how much of a greater leap forward in the direction of learning in these important categories it could serve to have everything more clearly shown and explained.
NOTE: I bought Ms. Rosemary Gladstar's book at the same time and they arrived in the same box. In terms of initial reviews, her book looks a lot more "user friendly" - there are photos in that book, and something resembling measurements.
In terms of structural formulae/format - I guess I thought it would be something closer to actual medical information that we are being provided with these days in the medical textbooks our doctors and nurses are getting in the hospitals... "50cc" of *this*, or "10ml" of *that* for a person who weights roughly *blah* - but I'm assuming that it is not an "exact" science, and it wouldn't be fair to rate it on such things (I don't think Ms. Gladstar's book has such specifics as well). But herein lies the issue for me. How much "medicinal yield" would a teaspoon of *such and such* kind of harvested leaves give? In this age where an organic tomato can be half the size of a farm grown non-organic tomato, but taste twice as good, it is difficult to tell what kind of strength or potency in any sort of herb or plant... but, I guess this is a long term, and much more patient process than I originally had thought. Think of it more like a dialog between herbalist and "patient" - more of something along the lines of... "here have some of this tea, how do you feel?" where the patient must actually stop and assess their own situation and respond "its working" or "its not working" and the herbalist would then go a little further... step by tiny step. Increment by increment...
It is hard to say how useful this book is for me at this time. Simply because I haven't spent enough time in it yet - but for the initial buyer, be aware of these points. I've gone through a lot of "instructional" type of manuals/books. The ones with the actual photos help with field identification/usage much better than the ones with black and white artist rendered drawings.
Hope this review helps. I know this book has some following, and people may feel terrible about me criticizing it - but, I paid for this book with my own pennies, and I didn't earn those pennies easily. To feel that I will still have to go on the internet for an uncountable amount of hours more in order to be able to utilize this book properly doesn't make it a "great book" in my opinion. I got this BOOK, because I didn't want to be sitting in front of a computer for hours verifying and confirming the correct plants, and its not looking good for me right now! LOL! Anyway, if this review helps, please share the love and click on that helpful icon! Thank you for reading this far!
If you like a herbal book you can enjoyably read from cover to cover and still gain a lot of scientific, anecdotal, and folkloric knowledge from, then this is the one!
Also, it you've heard about Matthew Wood and don't know which book to get first...again, this is the one. It successfully blends the best features of his entire bibliography without getting repetitive in the least. It'd serve as a great introduction to his work, as well as a great starter book for any budding herbalist, and a must-have read for herbalists of every experience level. I still recommend getting them all, though!
Top international reviews
It will change your prespective profoundly.
If I could it would get 10 stars
E' un trattato molto interessante, ma più sciamanico che scientifico. Se fosse costato meno lo avrei tenuto per molti spunti interessanti.
Ma avendo bisogno di una solidità sui rimedi, senza fare il dottore azzeccagarbugli, ho deciso di richiedere un rimborso.