Best Herbal Resource Books

These are my pics for best herbal resource books. They’re books that can be used as a beginner and referenced again and again as an advanced herbalist.

When you’re getting started with herbalism, the information seems to come at you from all directions. There are so many different choices for books, blogs, YouTube, social media, and on and on. Making the choice where you’re going to get your herbal education from can be very intimidating and overwhelming.

There are a lot of very credible and knowledgeable herbalists out there that have published fabulous books. However, a lot of them are geared towards the beginning herbalist. When I’m buying books I want to be sure my investment something I can utilize for years. I definitely don’t want to spend a bunch of money on books I’ll outgrow in a few months.

The list of books I’ve collected here are ones that I’ve found useful in all levels of my herbalism education. They provide thorough information and a strong foundation for the beginning herbalist while offering intermediate and advanced techniques and references on hundreds of herbs.

the modern herbal dispensatory

The modern herbal dispensatory book sitting on a table with a silver tea pot dry herb and a glass bottle

‘The Modern Herbal Dispensatory’ is a valuable addition to your herbal library. It’s perfect for the beginning herbalist that wants to expand their knowledge, build their apothecary and start medicine making. However, it’s still thorough enough to use as a reference book as your knowledge and experience grows.

This book is packed with information on everything from how to get started with herbs to advanced extraction techniques. I especially like that it gives tips to help you with growing herbs, harvesting, drying and ethically wildcrafting them, because finding medicinal herb gardening guides can be challenging.

The medicine making chapters cover several different ways to make medicine including, using herbs in water, alcohol, glycerin, oil, vinegar, topical applications, concentrates, lozenges, percolation, and soxhlet extracts. It also includes a 162 page materia medica and several sample formulations to get you started. To purchase a copy of ‘The Modern Herbal Dispensatory’ CLICK HERE.

Prescription for nutritional healing

Prescription for Nutritional Healing book on a table with glass bottles and dried herbs

‘Prescription for Nutritional Healing’ is the most valuable book on this list in my opinion. The tag line on the cover says it all, “A practical a-to-z reference to drug-free remedies using vitamins, minerals, herbs, and food supplements.”

There are several editions to this book and each one is more comprehensive than the previous. Perhaps my favorite thing about this book is that it considers allopathic healthcare. When researching my autoimmune disease (ankylosing spondylitis), I came across several pages on best practices for nutrition, supplements, vitamins and minerals, just as the tag line says. But, there was also a section on biologic medications, the treatment options, and how homeopathy and allopathy could work together to help me control my disease. That one experience was enough to keep me coming back to this book again and again.

Amazon has several editions listed. This link is to the 6th edition. CLICK HERE.

medical herbalism

Medical Herbalism book on a table with glass bottle an dried herbs

Medical Herbalism is a practical and scientific take on herbalism and the efficacy of it versus traditional medicine. It does an outstanding job of explaining the chemical make up of herbs and how they work within the body, and weighs the pros and cons to exploring both holistic and allopathic treatment options.

It’s a comprehensive reference for the medical or clinical herbalist, and a must have for the herbalist that is interested in learning the science of herbs and how they work in the body on a cellular level. This book can be purchased on Amazon, and at the time of this post it is significantly discounted. However, when I purchased mine, I found a copy at Thrift Books that was significantly cheaper.

Peterson field guide to medicinal plants and herbs

Peterson field guide for medicinal herbs on a table with dried herbs around it

This book may not pertain to all herbalists, but every herbalist I know has a love of plants and this book is all about identifying wild medicinals. There are several field guides out there, but Peterson’s is the only guide we trust. I cannot stress how important it is to have clear pictures and clear descriptions when you’re foraging. Other books with hand drawn or black and white pictures are simply not safe.

Peterson Field Guides come in several different areas. The one listed here is pertinent to our location. When you’re purchasing your copy, be sure to search for the one that is written for your area. You can find the right field guide for your area HERE.

growing plant medicine

Growing plant medicine book on a table with dried herbs around it

When I was getting started growing medicinal herbs, I found that there was a serious lack of information out there on how to grow. There’s an abundance of information out there on gardening, but medicinal herbs have some special considerations and that info is not as widely available.

Growing Plant Medicine was written by the founder of Strictly Medicinal Seeds. His book is all about growing medicine herbs and all the things you need to know to be successful doing it. My only complaint is that all of the volumes are not yet available. They’re in the works so that’s not a legit complaint.

If you’re interested in growing your own medicinal herbs, designing a beautiful healthy and thriving herb garden or herb farm, this is a must have book and you can purchase it from their website HERE.

making plant medicine

Making Plant Medicine on a table next to dried herbs

Making Plant Medicine is an excellent resource for doing just that. The author, Richo Cech, shares the various options and techniques to making herbal medicine. He also provides lovely stories in between the more technical information needed in working with medicinal herbs. He is a natural teacher and story teller and is a joy to learn from.

This book can be purchased through Strictly Medicinal Seeds.

herbal medic

Herba; Medic book on a table with a small glass bottle an herbs

If you’re interested in not only learning about herbalism, but how to be prepared for a plethora of acute situations, Herbal Medic is the book to have in your herbal library. Sam Coffman is a former green beret and son of an herbalist. He was raised how to know and use the plants around him and shares all about it in his book. His knowledge of treating acute situations and how herbs can be used to expedite healing throughout various stages is unlike any other herbal.

One of my favorite stories he shares, is when he sustained a skeletal injury during training. His doctor wanted him to stop or face surgery. Instead, he used horsetail and a few other herbs. This expedited his healing and within a few weeks, he was healed and resumed life.

Personally I referred to this book when our family contracted Covid. He has a thorough section on what herbs to use for possible exposure, confirmed and active infection, and recovery. It was incredibly useful.

You can get your copy of Herbal Medic HERE and you can follow him on instagram

the herbal medicine maker’s handbook

The Herbal Medicine Maker's Handbook on a table with 3 glass bottles and dried herbs

The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook is one that gives quite the comprehensive collection of information. The author, James Green, kept it simple, limiting the amount of herbs used in his recipes to 25 or so. Keeping the materia medica short yet detailed is an efficient way for those new to herbalism to become familiar with herbs and medicine making, without becoming overwhelmed.

All of the necessary steps are discussed from gardening, harvesting, drying and storing, to creating all forms of herbal medicine. His personality shines through his writing and is an entertaining as well as educational read that is a delight to refer back to again and again.

You can purchase a copy of The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook HERE.

There are many more outstanding herbals, but these are the ones that I’ve found the most valuable. To watch a complete review of these books, click on the video below.

To learn more about and to get FREE printable quick reference sheets, check out THIS post.

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