Recommended Reading

Advice on using sources

Before using any herb I’d check at least several different sources, check the safety data and start with small doses on yourself before recommending it to anyone else.


  • Culpeper’s Herbal
    A work of genius from the 17th Century…..though being four hundred years old it takes a lot of interpretation to make sense of it.
  • A Modern Herbal
    Mrs M Grieve
    Herbal bible, still extremely useful, essential reference book.

General interest for beginner / home use

  • A woman’s herbal
    Anne McIntyre
    Every who has it loves it – still seems to be the core text on woman’s herbal medicine for a lay readership.
  • Hygieia – a woman’s herbal
    Jeannine Parvati
    A beautiful, magical book
  • The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
    Andrew Chevalier
    A good coffee table DK reference book

Reference books often used by herbalists

  • Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine
    Thomas Bartram
    Essential ….. this may put off the beginner since entries look like lists – however experience shows the author knows what he’s talking about. Great as a quick desk reference for herbalists wanting to come up with a spread of potential prescribing ideas.
  • Herbs and Healing Plants of Britain and Europe
    Dieter Podlech
    My favourite field reference, small , good pictures.
  • Women, hormones and the menstural cycle
    Ruth Trickey
    Solid book written from great experience. May be a bit technical if you have no medical background since it is geared towards the professional reader.
  • Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy
    Mills and Bone
    Best ‘Phytotherapist’ desk reference for trials/pharmacology etc, unfortunately lots of animal experiments, not something many herbalists have huge respect for given the range of alternative and far more informative research approaches.
  • Healing with Whole Foods
    Paul Pitchford
    An essential reference on the qualities of foods from a macrobiotic perspective. This is a great resource for anyone working from a constitutional perspective (TCM/Unani/Ayurveda/Humoralism) since it outlines both the energetic and physiological effects of each food.

The wonder of working with plants

  • The secret teachings of plants
    Stephen Harrod Buhner
    A very inspiring work of developing a heart centred consciousness and applying this to the meeting of plants. Subtitled ‘The intelligence of the heart in the direct perception of nature’.
  • Medicine of the Earth
    Susanne Fisher-Rizzi
    Magical and poetical monographs of select herbs
  • The Book of Herbal Wisdom
    Matthew Wood
    Absolutely loved by herbalists, sits next to Bartram on my desk.
  • Healing Plants
    Wilhelm Pelikan
    Serious Steiner energetics…great fun once you’ve mastered the language
  • The Wholeness of Nature – Goethe’s Way of Science
    Henri Bortoft
    A balm to those dissapointed with the narrow avenue modern science has taken. Going back to first principles of observation and the illusion that the observer and the observed are seperate, this book explores Goethe’s fusion of poetry and science
  • The foundations of Chinese Medicine
    Giovanni Maciocia
    A core text for anyone seriously interested in the concepts underlying the practice of chinese herbal medicine and acupunture.

Books about healing

  • Why do people get ill – exploring the mind body connection
    Darian Leader and David Corfield
    An interesting discussion on the connections between physical illness and the psyche – from a psychoanalyst’s perspective.
  • Hands of Light
    Barbara Ann Brennan
    A great reference book for those exploring aspects of healing and energy work.
  • Essential Reiki
    Diane Stein
    Often considered the best book available on practical reiki