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My Herbal Bookshelf

Taking a suggestion from some fellow herbal bloggers, I’ve decided to write about the books I have in my herbal library.  While I believe that a deep connection with the plants around you can teach you almost everything you need to know about their medicine, a few good herbal books can’t hurt!  They certainly come in handy when you are researching herbs that are not widely used (which is the case with a large portion of my material medica from school).

The books listed here are what I currently have in my library.  They are in alphabetical order by author and not in order of preference or relevance.  I do hope to write reviews about some of these books one day, but for today I’m just going to share the titles, authors and a brief insight about the book.

Prescription for Herbal Healing – Phyllis A. Balch

  • Although this wasn’t my first herbal book, it was pretty close to it.  It has some basic information on a large variety of popular herbs as well as treatments for many of the well-known chronic and acute conditions herbalists may face.  The depth of knowledge isn’t fantastic, but it’s a great book for anyone starting out.

New Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their UsesDeni Bown

  • I love this book! While it was not required for my course, it came highly recommended by my teacher.  Bown provides the reader with lots of horticultural information on medicinal plants, including detailed plant descriptions, habitat information and medicinal properties.  It also has lots of great pictures!

The Complete Book of HerbsLesley Bremness

  • I received this book as a gift and I must admit I don’t use is very often.  The medicinal knowledge is a little basic, however it does contain information about growing your own herbs, which could come in handy if you are a gardener or plan to be.

Encyclopedia of Herbal MedicineAndrew Chevallier

  • A new book to my shelf that came highly recommended by many herbalists.  I’ve used it as a resource for St. Johns Wort so far and I was impressed with both the quantity and quality of information.  I can’t wait to use it more!

Culpepper’s Complete HerbalNicholas Culpepper

  • A classic and necessity for any herbalist.  This book plays a vital role in the history of herbal medicine as Culpepper was one of the first to translate herbal documents from Latin.

Magical Herbalism Scott Cunningham

  • If you are interested in the magical aspects of herbalism, then this book is a must have.  Cunningham presents a complete system of magical herbalism, making it easy to incorporate into your herbal practice – if you choose.

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical HerbsScott Cunningham

  • A companion book to Magical Herbalism, Cunningham provides further magical details on a vast variety of plants and herbs.  Strangely I had this book for years before acquiring Magical Herbalism.

The ROM Field Guide to Wildflowers in OntarioRichard Dickinson et. al.

  • All of the ROM’s (Royal Ontario Museum) field guides are beautiful and informative.  I don’t find the identification guide as useful as other field guides, but the ROM far surpasses all books on accurate habitat information for many of the local species I use.  Plus the photos are lovely.

Homeopathy: Beyond Flat Earth MedicineTimothy R. Dooley

  • A required textbook for my Complementary Herbal Therapeutics course.  A great mix of history and philosophy, Dooley makes the concept of homeopathic medicine easy to understand and enjoyable to read.  This book is designed to be an introduction to the concept of homeopathy and doesn’t contain any information or therapeutic properties on specific remedies.

Guide to Natural Living: Natural Ways to Health, Relaxation and VitalityMark Evans

  • This was a Christmas gift I received years ago. While I rarely turn to this book for herbal information, it is an excellent resource for information on homeopathic remedies, massage techniques and other natural remedies including supplements, exercise and hydrotherapy.  Organized by systems of the body and then ailments, it’s easy to find what you are looking for.

Peterson: A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs: Of Eastern and Central North AmericaSteven Foster et. al.

  • I usually bring this field guide with me when I’m harvesting along with Newcomb’s.  I find the colour photographs in this book extremely helpful in the field, when confirming an idenficiation.

The Boreal HerbalBeverly Gray

Boreal Herbal

  • This is a newer edition to my herbal library and I couldn’t be more pleased. I especially love the recipes that Beverly includes. And her exploration of wild foods has been life changing for my family as we explore the wilderness around us at our new homestead.


A Modern Herbal (Vol I) – Mrs. M. Grieve

A Modern Herbal (Vol II)Mrs. M. Grieve

  • This series of books is absolutely indispensable to any herbalist.  Grieve provides botanical information, folklore, medicinal properties and so much more.  I particularly like this book for its information on herbs local to my area as it can be difficult to find sources on the more obscure plants.


For the rest of my library collection visit part 2 in the series here.

Thanks for reading!


DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support myself and my herbal clinic, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any product or services from this blog. I truly appreciate all the support you have shown my blog and my business and I will only ever recommend products that I use myself, truly love or covet. Many thanks.