My Favorite Herbals: James Green’s The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook

A while back–a loooong while back–I posted about one of my favorite herbals. Judith Berger’s Herbal Rituals is, I think, one of the best introductions to the plants themselves I’ve ever read.

But I realized this week that I need to tell you all about another favorite herbal, the one I think is the best introduction to ways of preserving and using the herbs, James Green’s The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual.

I was hesitant to buy this book at first; although it showed a smiling, kindly looking dude waist-deep in nasturtiums on the cover, the hefty, textbook-like size combined with a very dry sounding name scared me away. So I did what any smart person would do when uncertain about whether or not she should buy a book; I checked it out from the library. I was pleasantly surprised. Here is the blurb:

The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook is an entertaining compilation of natural home remedies written by one of the great herbalists, James Green, author of the best-selling The Male Herbal. Writing in a delightfully personal and down-home style, Green emphasizes the point that herbal medicine-making is fundamental to every culture on the planet and is accessible to everyone. So, first head into the garden and learn to harvest your own herbs, and then head into your kitchen and whip up a batch of raspberry cough syrup, or perhaps a soothing elixir to erase the daily stresses of modern life.
Entertaining is right. There are hundreds of books about making herbal remedies to choose from, but Green’s book is the only one I know of that I can read cover to cover without succumbing to coma-inducing boredom. It’s also the only one I’ve read that has me laughing out loud on almost every page. For example:
When using jars as containers, it is prudent to secure the labels to the jars instead of to the lids. Jar lids are openly polygamous and have no qualms whatsoever about being affixed to any fitting jar that comes along. I’ve been shocked by this conduct a number of times.

Of course, entertaining isn’t enough for a manual, is it? Fortunately, The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook is also one of the most thorough manuals on the subject I’ve come across, and also one of the most clear and easy to understand.

If you know absolutely nothing about herbs or making herbal remedies, you will be able to follow the instructions in this book. If you know a lot about herbs and making herbal remedies, you probably already have this book–but if you don’t, I think you would still find new information and ideas in it’s pages. Plus, Green’s tone is just so pleasant to read. I can totally cuddle up in bed with this book and read it the way I would read a novel, except it does make me itch to get outside and harvest some herbs . . .

And yes, I did end up buying this book in the end.


11 thoughts on “My Favorite Herbals: James Green’s The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook

  1. Passing this title on to my mom and little sister. They are very much into herbal remedies. When my Middle Son had a stubborn plantar’s wart, my mom concocted a wonderful potion that took it away within three weeks, didn’t involve duct tape and didn’t harm any of the skin around the area.

    Nature is so wonderful!

  2. Judith Bergner is, I think, writing another book at the moment. I do hope so. She’s still working as a herbalist in New York and used to apprentice with Robin Rose Bennett.

  3. Heh, polygamous jar lids…made me giggle :o) This one sounds like a good one, but I want the potion that removed the plantar’s warts. You never know when it will come in handy.

  4. I’m trying to find a citrus oil screw press, can you posssibly me in the right direction.

    1. Shell–I’m sorry, I have no idea! I haven’t done any essential oil extraction of any kind, so I’m not familiar with how it’s done or what the tools are.

  5. Great review, thank you! I’m definitely purchasing this book.

    Your sense of humor must be good also, the excerpt you chose was hilarious!

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