Monday, January 22, 2007

My readers ask....

I have had a lot of questions come in over the last few weeks and I am going to attempt to answer some of them here.  Hopefully this will "kill a lot of birds with one stone" Innocent  So, here goes:

Jeff asks: "Thanks, Cheri. I guess limiting you to one book was not fair. So let me try again. For a well equipped agrarian homestead, which 5 books on herbs would you recommend with Balch’s being at the top of the list?"

Jeff, and others who have asked this is really hard for me to recommend books - mainly because I know I will be recommending something that is most likely filled with pagan garbage and I just HATE that. It is also hard because there are books that specialize in certain areas (men's health, women's health, children...etc.) and perhaps that is what you need in your family situation.  it is also hard to limit yourself to 5 authors but I will give it a whirl.  I am warning you though, I may go a bit over 5 if you will bear with me.  Also, these are referencing only books on using herbs medicinally - using them in cooking is another thing...and much easier to recommend!

My first recommendation is my own Medicinal Herb Course .  I like this course because I can guarantee that you won't find any pagan teachings, because it gives simple and easy to follow directions on making herbal remedies from teas to poultices to tinctures (and everything in between!) and because it addresses the most  commonly needed plants in family care (based on my own experience of raising 4 little ones and treating them with herbs for the last 25 years). There is a color picture of each herb being discussed with instructions on cultivation, parts used, how they are used and what they are used for....with contra-indications listed in bold after each herb.

My next favorite books would be Prescription for Herbal Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC closely followed by Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC and James F. Balch, M.D.  I like the Balch's books because there is little pagan nonsense, contra-indications are clearly pointed out and they are easy to use for research or reading.  I like books that are based more on science than folklore, although some folklore is wonderful.  The Balch's books meet this need for me. They have researched and presented information in a clear and easy to understand manner.  They can be purchased through the Amazon link on the right side of my blog as can most of the other books listed below.

My fourth recommendation would be The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody.  Great book - wonderful color pictures, good instructions at the back for making herbal remedies.  What I don't like about this book is that all herbs are listed alphabetically by Latin, if you can't remember that Self-heal is really Prunella vulgaris then you have to use the index in the back of the book each time you want to look up an herb.  Ms. Ody is from England so all the measurements given in the "how to make it" section are in metric units....another drawback for me.  The pictures are wonderful but I also wish there were more information on each herb.

On to #5...Herbal Antibiotics by Stephen Harrod Buhner.  Great book on learning more about how to fight bacterial infections naturally.  I like that he emphasizes building your own immune system.  He is careful to list contra-indications for herbs.  However, there are no color pictures to help with identification, which I think is very important.

#6...Therapeutic Herb Manual by Ed Smith.  This is one of my favorite books and costs a whopping $3.95.  Ed Smith is the owner of Herb-Pharm in Oregon.  The first half of this book lists and describes uses for different herbs.  The second half gives many recipes for tinctures and compounds that you can actually purchase from Herb-Pharm.  If I needed to purchase a compound, I would go to Herb-Pharm before I went anywhere else. I don't know if Amazon carries can get it at Herb-Pharm's website but you will have to search for it....

#7...Natural Health Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Andrew Chevallier published by DK books.  Great for beginners - some color pictures, description of parts used along with traditional and current uses. It has a small herbal remedies section in the back. Not a strong emphasis on contra-indications. 

This was a hard job take well over 100 herb books and narrow my choices down to just 5.  When I am researching something you will find me with dozens of books open and covering my dining table....after enough notes are taken, those will be exchanged for more books off of the shelf.  But I think I have given you a good starting point to begin building your own home library for herbal studies.

Now, I'd like to hear from ya'll.....what are YOUR favorite books on herbal medicine? 


  1. My favorite herb resource is your course, of course! (I know you mentioned it in your list, but I thought I'd add my appreciation for it here.)

    My mother has 8 or 10 books on medicinal herbs, at least one of which you mentioned in your post, I think (same author, anyway). She's hardly looked at them, even though she wants to learn from them. I think she probably has the same problems with them that I have. I've looked through some of them numerous times, only to put them away, feeling at a loss for where to begin. I didn't even know what herbs to buy or collect, where to buy or collect, etc. And I am immediately turned off by the mysticism influence so prevalent in some of them.

    Starting from the vantage point of zero knowledge, I needed more direction. Your course offered that, focusing on herbs that address normal family needs in the course of any given season or year and that can even be grown or collected here. The 10 herbs you cover hit many of our needs: colds, coughs, headaches, exczema (Is that spelled correctly? Too lazy to check!), bug bites, etc.

    And as I've said in recent posts, I'm making good use of some of those herbs now!

    Personally, I'm hoping you continue to put out more courses along the same line, or add supplements to this one, with more herbs, so I can continue to learn in such a practical, easy-to-use, and very applicable way.

    Thanks for all your work on the course, Cheri!

  2. Thanks so much Mary Susan! I think I will turn this into a post :)

  3. Hi Cheri! Thanks so much for sharing your favorites from your herbal library! I have the Prescription for Nutritional Healing but not the other one on herbs. I have a couple by Shonda Parker (who is a Christian lady so no pagan interjections in her books) called Mommy Diagnostics and Naturally Healthy Woman. She also has one especially for pregnancy, but the title escapes me. I refer to those two books quite frequently. I believe she offers some type of course as well. Another one I like is called What to Do When Antibiotics Don't Work by Dirk Van Gils which recommends specific essential oils and herbal extracts for a variety of difficult illnesses. Again, no pagan nonsense, just the facts, ma'am. I picked up a book at a thrift store last year called the Little Herb Encyclopedia. Basic information. I really could use a large comprehensive text though. My cousin gave me a Rodale's Encyclopedia of Herbs....lots of photos but just skims the surface when it comes to info on each herb, in my opinion. Anyway, those are the ones I use the most. I would dearly love to study more through your course if and when the Lord provides the extra funds to do so!

    I agree with Mary Susan about being repulsed by the ungodly philosophies promoted in many of the herbal guides out there. I think it's time for us, as Christians, to take dominion over that area. It was not "Mother Earth" or some nature goddess that created the herbs for our benefit, but the Lord God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth! So thank you for offering your herbal course, and I do hope you expand it into a series to further educate those of us with a hunger to learn how to care for our families in a more natural and healthy way.

  4. Hi Cheri,
    We have a book that we refer to a lot, called "Natural Remedies Encyclopedia." A friend in our area sells it. The cover states that the book includes "Over 11,000 inexpensive home remedies, covers over 730 diseases and disorders!" We like it because it gives many different herbs to try for an ailment, so if we don't have one thing we may have another. The book is 850 pages long, and it's very interesting to just read and learn before needing something. After every section they also include scripture verses. I think we paid $65 for it.

  5. Hi Emily,
    Oohh, Mr. Gils book sounds interesting! I have had several people request an expansion on my herb course. I think I will begin working on the next 10 herbs :) And I agree - it is time to take back the land that the enemy has stolen!

    Natural Remedies Encyclopedia sounds very interesting, would you mind sharing the author's name? Sounds like a winner. I love the fact that it features scripture!

  6. Cheri,
    The book's authors are Vance Ferrell; Edgar E. Archbold, MD; and Harold M. Cherne, MD. I think the authors may be Seventh Day Adventists. Published by Harvestime Books, in Altamont, TN!

  7. Lynn,
    Thanks so much! I'll be looking for it :)


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