I thought I’d start off the Herb Geek bookshelf with a tried and true classic: A Modern Herbal Volume 1, A-H and Volume 2: I-Z by Mrs. M. Grieve. This comprehensive two volume book set is an absolute staple for every herbalist’s library. First published in 1931, much of this information was compiled during the 20th century; a time when much of scientific medicine was still derived from plants. The depth of information offered in these books comes from years of research, practical experience, and functional application. The wide variety of plants featured in these books range from obscure plants (such as Hellebore) that are now outside the scope of modern herbalism, to ordinary plants (such as cucumber) that are so common we no longer even consider them medicine.
As a classic turn of the century herbal, the illustrations in these books are wonderful – a total of 161 illustrations in the two-set volume. Here are Horse Chestnut and Chamomile.
The herb descriptions are also very well rounded with a diverse body of information consisting of folklore, medicinal preparations, therapeutic applications, active constituents, as well as cultivation, harvesting, and growing patterns. Due to its age, some of the diseases are outdated, such as polio and whooping cough, and some of the medicinal preparations may take some deciphering – conversion of drams to grams or ounces for example. Overall, these books are very thorough and insightful, and are highly recommended as a classic herbal reference guide. I’ve owned my trusty set for twelve years now!