Reviews of the first edition, The Village Herbalist
From Library Journal
At one time the only option for treating illness, herbal medicine has been superseded by modern "conventional" medicine, even though many Americans regularly use herbal preparations as part of their health regimen. Long-term practitioners of alternative farming methods (see, e.g., Michael Phillips's The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist), the Phillipses believe that while medical doctors are sometimes needed, herbalists still have much to offer. Writing in a style that is sometimes feisty and frequently spiritual, the authors provide a broad overview of herbal medical practice, offering their philosophy of earth-based healing and wellness, brief information on specific plants, and instructions on preparing some herbal products (such as decoctions, salves, and oils). Given the New Age tone, some readers may view this book with suspicion but they are not the intended audience. This title does not present in-depth information on specific herbs and their culture and use what most public library users want but it instead introduces a philosophy as old as humankind.
Recommended for comprehensive collections. Jonathan Hershey, Akron-Summit City. P.L., OH
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Review from The American Herb Association
What a pleasure to read this book. There are so many new herb books that are accurate, but somehow miss the heart and soul of herbalism. This one is different. In it, twenty contemporary medical herbalists explain there art in their own words. The authors embellish the words of herbalists with much additional information. Their writing is refreshing, sometimes amusing, yet is filled with facts about herb cultivation, garden design, production, and creating a sustainable lifestyle.
Review from The Natural Farmer, fall 2002
By Elaine M Peterson
For those of you who are intrigued by herbalism, but haven't quite gotten around to finding out more about it, this book is a good place to begin.
I wanted to read this book because I have been "dabbling" in herbs and their uses for some time in a roundabout sort of way. I have planted medicinal plants, taken some herbal workshops at conferences and used an occasional herb for this or that. But I never fully delved into finding out the whole story or pardon the pun, getting to the root of the topic.
The Village Herbalist takes the reader through the entire extent of everything you ever wanted to know about herbalism. Chapter one, The Medicine of the People, begins by describing the traditional role the herbalist in different cultures and countries through time as we know it. There is also discussion about how herbalism and modern medicine can coexist together in today's world.
More importantly, we need to take personal responsibility for our lives and health. Not only our personal health. "Herbalism without such nutritional reckoning will ultimately fail the very people we want to help" but that of the planet's as well. "Organic agriculture restores sustenance to the staff of life."
Chapter two, The Gamut of Herbal Possibilities covers the various roles an herbalist takes on such as practitioner. "Physicians examine patients through physiological and pharmacological testing of tissue. Each specific disease is seen as stemming from a biological reason that can be treated mechanically. The subsequent cure can be effected through manipulation of the physical body, whether by chemical or surgical means. Herbalists reject many of these methods as falling short of the whole. Holistic reality takes account of mind, body, and spirit in the healing process." Grower, ecologist, medicine maker, teacher, neighborhood apothecary keeper and listener are other roles. Each aspect is examined and the reader is given a lot to consider.
Chapter three, Learning Your Path, takes you through the many sources available for learning more about herbs through books, apprenticing with a mentor, schools, and conferences.
Chapter four, Considering Your Niche, explores how you can find your space in your own community and how to place a value on your talents.
Chapter five, The Offering of Herbal Medicine, discusses an issue that can not be ignored, walking the fine line between practicing medicine and being an herbalist. Assessment skills, health profiles, body systems and choosing the right herb for a particular situation are just a few topics covered.
Chapter six, Growing and Drying Medicinal Herbs, speaks for itself and includes soil building management and the importance of it.
Chapter seven, Making Earth Medicines, looks at the different options of using your herbal remedies all year using mostly kitchen and some optional specialized equipment. Water based medicine, infusions, decoction, syrups, tea powders, soups, spirit-based medicines, extracts, tinctures, liniments, essential oils, and others along with some recipes and sound advice about dosage, labeling and marketing are discussed.
Chapter eight, Spreading the Word, explores educating the community through workshops, garden tours, camps, activities, and apprenticeships.
The last chapter, Visions for the Village, examines our future as herbalists and keepers of the earth.
But I have not mentioned my favorite part of the book yet! Interspersed throughout are profiles of some of the country's and the world's most expert herbalists. Each is unique and interesting and you see how others have discovered their niche in the herbal world.
There are also excellent appendices of herbal schools and apprenticeship programs, World Wide Web sites, and a source list for supplies, associations and publications. A hefty bibliography is included.
Nancy and Michael Phillips, our authors, live what they write. They live in New Hampshire on their farm and run Heartsong Farm Healing Herbs. They present an astute embodiment of herbalism while providing practical, sensible advice and promoting sustainable agriculture practices. I really enjoyed The Village Herbalist and I know that you will too. I have to go now, I want to go outside and see what's growing.