Below are links to my favorite resources. These works provide a wealth of reliable knowledge, and are excellent for self-study or supplemental reading.
Botany In a Day – Thomas J. Elpel
The first herb book I ever purchased. This book is a botany primer – it blew my mind to learn how to look at plant characteristics and to learn about plant families. There is also a bit of information on edible and medicinal species.
Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West – Michael Moore
Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West – Michael Moore
Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West – Michael Moore
The three of these books have been foundational to my education. My most influential teacher, Shelley Torgove, studied with Michael Moore in person when he was running the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine, so these books were part of my reading list as a student. The monographs are rich and detailed, and include ecological information and constituents for plants covered. Michael’s voice and humor are hard not to love – I feel a sense of camaraderie and lineage in reading his words. These have continued to be key resources for me over the years.
Medical Herbalism – David Hoffman
Another book that I picked up as a student, this one is much more of a textbook. It’s a great source of scientific information and a good resource for understanding plants from a more medical adjacent perspective.
The Book of Herbal Wisdom– Matthew Wood
Matthew Wood has a unique perspective on herbal medicine. Influenced heavily by the homeopathy and the eclectic physicians of the 19th and early 20th Centuries, his monographs include plant signatures, personal case studies, and discussions of constitutional application and history that won’t be found elsewhere. This is my favorite of his works for its in-depth nature on a select materia medica.
Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health – Aviva Romm
I’ll begin by saying that women’s health has never been my greatest area of interest in herbal medicine. I appreciate it and understand the gravity of traditional remedies for women’s health. I’ve used herbal medicine for my own reproductive health and even completed a Women’s Ethnobotanical Studies certificate. It is just not the segment of plat medicine that lights me up most. Most women’s herbal books are really difficult for me to connect with, and some make me cringe in their manner – not everyone vibes with the same stylistic approach. All of that to say, that I find myself turning gladly to Aviva Romm’s Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health more often than any other resource in its category. It is comprehensive and from a well-researched perspective. Romm is a midwife, herbalist, and MD.
The Male Herbal: The Definitive Health Care Book For Men & Boys – James Green
This is the less popular of James Green’s books. Though the other is a resource in my library, I like this one even more. This book addresses overall health for men and boys from an herbal perspective and includes an original constitutional model and monographs. I’ve used it just as often to reference the monographs as for male-specific wisdom.
The Modern Herbal Dispensatory: A Medicine Making Guide – Thomas Easley and Steven Horne
This book was a breath of fresh air when I added it to my library – if you’re looking for information on practical medicine making, this has become my go-to. While I enjoy making medicines using the folk method, I appreciate this resource for its straightforward, scientific approach. It clearly explains some of the more complicated or unusual methods of medicine making, making them more accessible. This book also contains brief monographs for a selection of plants, and an overview of harvesting and ideal use of preparations.
Bach Flower Therapy: Theory and Practice – Mecthild Scheffer
My first book on flower essences – my mother actually gifted me this book from her home-healing collection when I began studying herbal medicine. Scheffer has published other works since, but I love this one for its compact, approachable, yet still comprehensive approach to Bach Flower Remedies.
The Secret Teachings of Plants: The Intellegence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature – Stephen Harrod Buhner
I picked up this book when I was doing research for a class that I was teaching on the heart. It’s hard to describe, but I think the title and the idea of plant spirit medicine point in the right directions. Buhner has a lot of well-researched works, but for some reason this one calls out loudest to me as I’m preparing this list.
Wild Witchcraft: Folk Herbalism, Garden Magic, and Foraging for Spells, Rituals, and Remedies – Rebecca Beyer
This book is such a wonder. I consider myself a solitary witch, intuiting much of my practice and weaving in herbs and plant medicines. The book collector in me keeps an eye out for interesting magical texts that might broaden my perspective, and this one is my favorite modern work. Rebecca manages a homestead and teaches witchcraft, foraging, and Appalachian folk medicine – she’s a fount of wisdom and such a cool person.
The Book of Lymph: Self-Care Practices to Enhance Immunity, Health, and Beauty – Lisa Levitt Gainsley
As the name suggests, this book is about the care of the lymphatic system. There is a tiny section that mentions anti-inflammatory herbs, but it is not an herbal. However, I absolutely love this book – the lymphatic system is of particular interest to me and this is the most practical, comprehensive guide that I have found anywhere. Lymphatics are so intertwined with the immune and circulatory systems; the knowledge and practices in this book could make a big difference for someone’s health on their own, and especially as part of a holistic protocol. If you want to better understand one of the body’s less-discussed but immensely important systems, get this book.
Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and More – Tieraona Low Dog
This book is not about herbs. It’s a very accessible, digestible, and well-researched resource on supplements and essential nutrients. I see these considerations as an important part of a holistic approach, and recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about integrative health and nutritional contributors.
Check out the resources available on these websites as well:
Southwest School Of Botanical Medicine