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Book Data

ISBN: 9781931498760
Year Added to Catalog: 2005
Book Format: Paperback
Book Art: photographs, appendices, resources
Number of Pages: 8 x 10, 352 pages
Book Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Old ISBN: 1931498768
Release Date: April 30, 2005
Web Product ID: 329

Also By These Authors

The Herbalist's Way

The Art and Practice of Healing with Plant Medicines

by Nancy Phillips, Michael Phillips

Foreword by Rosemary Gladstar

Excerpt 3


I consider it an honor to be writing this foreword for one of my favorite herb books, written by two of my favorite herbalists. Michael and Nancy Phillips personify the image of the traditional, yet thoroughly modern “village herbalist,” and their homestead in the north woods of New Hampshire has become a place of pilgrimage for many other herbalists and herbal students. Here one finds a plant lover’s dream, an herbalist’s oasis—an old farmstead that has been lovingly restored and is surrounded by forested hills, lush gardens, and a year-round mountain brook running down through the field. Michael and Nancy and Gracie, their budding young herbalist daughter, “walk their talk” easily and with joy, and what they write about they actually live. Their experience lends substance and insight to the words they spin on paper in the late nights after the gardens are tended, meals cooked, animals bedded, and the chores of the day are put to rest.

I have been excited about this project almost from the moment of its conception, when Nancy and Michael first mentioned that they were thinking of writing a book about herbal healing for would-be practitioners. I knew without doubt that this would be more than simply another herbal “how-to” book. That it would reach down to the heart and spirit of herbalism and capture the essence of this great tradition of healing. That it would address the issues of being a family or community herbalist and of “practicing” herbal medicine in the modern world. Knowing the quality of everything that Michael and Nancy do and the honesty and soulfulness they put into their endeavors, I fully expected they would create a great book. As it happened, though, they have exceeded even my greatest expectations. This is an immensely practical book. In the context of being a community herbalist, The Herbalist’s Way instructs the reader how to harvest, prepare, and use a variety of useful healing plants. Wonderful recipes are provided, some of Nancy’s favorite preparations, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to prepare home medicine from the plants. But that’s only the beginning, a fine appetizer to the feast that awaits the reader.

The book is also wonderfully clear-eyed and straightforwardly honest—even brazen—and it jumps right into the core issues surrounding herbalism: what it means to be an herbalist; what “practicing” herbalism is all about; and the various paths before us, whether we are grower, wild crafter, practitioner, medicine maker, manufacturer, or store keeper. And it doesn’t stop there. The realities of the FDA. Standardization. Certification. Scientific validation. These are critically important topics that most herb books gingerly step around. Nancy and Michael wisely refrain from providing all the answers, but rather pose intelligent and necessary questions, provide important facts to ponder, and allow us, the readers, to think for ourselves. Ah, such a refreshing and respectful approach. . . .

And finally, The Herbalist’s Way is beautifully written, poetic in its substance. Michael and Nancy interviewed herbalists across the country and used their words to paint pictures of the community herbalists of today. We are allowed glimpses into the lives of leading herb growers, medicine makers, and practitioners. We hear and learn from their tales, their experiences, and their often very spicy versions of what they feel the issues facing modern medicine and herbalists are today. It’s a wonderful read . . . and leaves one inspired, renewed, and invigorated.

In the past decade there have been a plethora of herb books flooding the marketplace. Some are good and find a spot on my heavily laden bookshelves, to be gleaned in future for bits of herbal information. Others are destined to gather dust, not worth the trees it took to produce them. And then there are those—only a few, a rare book here and there—that are destined to become herbal classics, treasured like old friends, thumbed through again and again for their depth of herbal wisdom, for their teachings, and for their inner brilliance that illuminates this ancient field of plant study. Michael and Nancy Phillips have created such a special and inspirational work.

Rosemary Gladstar

Price: $30.00
Format: Paperback
Status: Available to Ship
Ships: Next day

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