Endorsed by Rosemary Gladstar, renowned herbalist and author of Herbal Healing for Women, this book of "homespun alchemy" bursts with easy recipes for medicinal wines, herbal oils, salves, tonics, syrups, throat drops--you name it. From the guidelines for gathering medicinal plants to instructions for tincture preparation, Joyce Wardwell conveys her love and respect for herbs. She comes from a long line of herbalists: her great-great-grandmother Jane learned the herbal craft from the Ojibway in Minnesota; Jane's mother was condemned for witchcraft and her husband was hung for it during the Salem, Massachusetts, Witch Trials. But there's nothing to fear from the Remedy Book: recipes are made primarily from the 25 most common herbs, and instructions are so clear they're nearly foolproof. The flu, insomnia, colic, menopause, and sore muscles are all covered. Any household with children will find the "herbal home medicine chest" invaluable, with treatments for everyday ailments such as colds and coughs, burns, bug bites, bruises, and strains. The publisher, Storey Publications, is known for its practicality and environmental awareness, and the book is printed on lovely cream-colored recycled paper.
The virtues of this guide to herbal medicine lie in its utter simplicity, clarity of presentation, and grounding in the earth. Practicing herbalist Wardwell aims to provide a basic manual for the beginner. In part 1 she chooses and elaborates on 25 common, safe, easy-to-grow herbs, rather than confusing the reader with comprehensiveness. Instructional chapters cover how to recognize, gather, and store plants and how to select quality ingredients and equipment. Part 2 gives detailed steps in the preparation of various remedies: tinctures, herbal oils and salves, medicinal wines and vinegars, and syrups and lozenges. Part 3 lists the components of a basic herbal medicine chest, gives guidelines for blending herbs, and provides an AZ list of symptoms (e.g., headache, chapped skin) and their herbal treatment. The book's promised index will be needed to locate information in this symptom list because of the often poorly chosen entry words. Sprinkled throughout the book are Native American teaching stories that illustrate Wardwell's theme of humans' ties to plants and the earth. Penny Spokes