by erin stewart sm (50 of 15)

New Herbal Books Worth Reading

I’m a major bookworm – always have been. I wear glasses now because I used to read in the dark as a kid when I was supposed to be sleeping and now as an adult, I spend more than I should on books. I just love them – maybe even as much as I love plants. I even went through a “booktube phase” awhile back (you won’t find the videos if you go searching for them; I’ve taken them down) and when Jon and I go out for our weekly date night, we usually end up walking into our local Barnes and Noble and walking out with an armload of books. It’s pretty serious. We joke about being the little old couple in the corner of the bookstore in about 50 years, heads bent over a pile of new releases; the young folks at the counter whispering to each other that we’ve been coming to that store to buy books every week for the past 50 years…

You can imagine my excitement when new herb-related books hit the shelves. When I’m familiar with the author (especially if it’s someone who’s written for us or been on the podcast), I tend to rearrange the books in the herbal section so their book cover is displayed front and center. The bookstore employees probably hate me for it, but I figure that I buy enough books from them to get away with it. Heh. =)

We’ve seen several really great herbal books come out this year, so I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you. You know, just in case you have a thing for books too.

I found this copy of Flora: Inside the Secret World of Plants at the bookstore just last week and was so impressed by it. Part coffee table book, part macro photography album and part botany lesson, it’s stunningly beautiful. It’s very well illustrated and draws you into the world of botany with vibrant, close-up photographs of the plants themselves. So many botany books are poorly illustrated, but this book goes above and beyond. I loved it so much I brought home a copy. It would be a great gift for someone who loves plants and wants to learn more about botany, but has trouble reading the more line-drawing style books or for someone who just enjoys artwork.

Last year, I featured Pacific Northwest Medicinal Plants in an issue of AromaCulture Magazine and this year, Mountain States Medicinal Plants was added to the Timber Press family of regional foraging guides. I love this series of guidebooks because each plant profile that is featured includes color photos, identification and harvesting tips (including the time of year the plant can be found at its peak), medicinal uses and recipes and things you should be cautious of when using the plant. I keep the PNW edition in my foraging kit. There’s also a Midwest Medicinal Plants volume in this collection, but I can’t speak personally about that one because I haven’t added it to my library yet. The other two I would definitely recommend.

Herbal Formularies for Health Professionals is a collection of volumes written by Dr. Jill Stansbury that I think belong in every herbalist’s library. They are incredibly well written and detailed. The first volume was featured in an issue of AromaCulture Magazine last year and this year, Volume 2: Circulation and Respiration was published. I believe there will eventually be 5 volumes in this series, with Volume 3 scheduled to be published next spring. If you’re interested in really diving deep into herbal medicine from a more technical, clinical perspective, I highly recommend this series.

When Colleen first announced that she was publishing a new book, I was so excited for her! She lives somewhat near me and I’ve long been inspired by her beautiful blog about foraging, herbalism and fermentation. Her new book, Healing Herbal Infusions, is absolutely beautiful – filled with all kinds of wonderfully-formulated herbal infusions, syrups, tinctures, honeys and recipes that are easy to make with ingredients you probably already have in your apothecary. It would make a lovely gift for a friend who’s starting to become interested in herbs and deserves a place in every herbalist’s library.

Do you remember hearing Ryn and Katja when they were featured on our podcast earlier this year? (You can listen here and here – they were on two different episodes.) I love listening to them speak about herbs. They make everything so easy to understand and so accessible to everyone and that’s something I love in herbal teachers. Their new book, Herbal Medicine for Beginners, is absolutely lovely. It focuses in on 35 easy-to-find herbs and teaches you from the ground up how to use them to support health. There’s also a section of issue-specific recommended protocols and remedies to help you understand how the herbs can be applied on a deeper level. It’s such a great book, one that I’ll be giving to beginning friends for years to come.

This is a new book to me. I just picked it up a week or two ago from the bookstore because I thought it looked interesting. Handbook of Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda is the first book I’ve read by this author, so she’s new to me too. I’ve been studying TCM theory in a class I’m taking and have been reading about Ayurveda in the evenings, so when I saw this book that seems to integrate the two, I was intrigued. I haven’t finished it yet, but what I’ve read so far has been really interesting. If you’ve been wanting to learn more about Chinese herbal medicine or Ayurveda, I’d recommend giving it a try!

Have you read any good books that were released in 2018? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below. I know it’s hard to narrow down a list of favorites when you love books, but I hope you enjoy this selection. Have a great week!

Much love,

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Disclaimer: Some of these books I purchased myself while others were sent to me by the publishers. I was not required to share my thoughts about any of the books and all opinions are my own. I included affiliate links for the books I mentioned so that you can find them easily – feel free to use those links if you’d like to, but it’s obviously not required.


Erin Stewart is an herbalist, NAHA certified aromatherapist, organic gardener and urban homesteader. She grows over 150 kinds of aromatic and medicinal plants for her own apothecary and distills essential oils and hydrosols in her PNW garden. Erin is the founder of Floranella and of AromaCulture’s herbalism + aromatherapy magazine.

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1 thought on “New Herbal Books Worth Reading”

  1. What great book selections. I have a load of books but don’t have any of these! I must add them to my library soon.

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