Following are the medicinal herb books I recommend most often for beginner/intermediate herbalists.  Each of these books gives a clear overview of herbalism and provides accurate sincere information.  And, most importantly, each has been written by an herbal practitioner.

The Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman,1983, Findhorn Press, Scotland
David’s book explores herbology in the context of Gaia, the living earth.  It’s a beautiful weaving of both the scientific and spiritual aspect of herbs and comes as a highly recommended book for the beginner.   Any of David’s books are recommended reading.

The Way of Herbs by Michael Tierra, Simon & Schuster, NY, 1990
Drawing from his extensive studies with East Indian, Native American, Ayurvedic, and Chinese herbal systems, Tierra combines these various practices into a harmonic blending he terms `Planetary Herbology’. Any book by Michael comes highly recommended.

Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar, Storey Book Publications, Ma, 2000.
(Formerly published as The Family Herbal; this is the softbound edition of that book). This is a compilation of Rosemary’s work as an herbalist stitched into a beautiful book of favorite herbal recipes for health and well being, herbal wisdom and lore. With emphasize on family health from childhood to elders and of medicinal plant preservation.

The Book of Herbal Wisdom (1997, North Atlantic Books, Ca) and The Earthwise Herbal (2008, North Atlantic Herbs) by Matthew Wood.
These are two of the most important herbals written in recent years. Matthew is a beloved herbal practitioner who definitely follows his own drumbeat and has a lot of others following it, too. Great books written by a great herbalist.  Also, any of the other books written by Matthew.

Adaptogens; Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief by David Winston and Steven Maimes. 2007, Healing Arts Press, Rochester, VT.
An excellent book on this group of very special herbs.

The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants by Andrew Chevallier, A DK Publishing Book, NY, 1996.
There is simply no better book of this sort available that I know of.  Concise clear information on many herbs. Includes research, growing, medicinal use, and folklore.  An excellent reference for your Correspondence homework.

A Modern Herbal by Mrs. Maude Grieve, 1971, NY,  Dover Publications.
Originally published in the ’30’s, this is hardly considered a `modern herbal’ any longer, but never-the-less, it is a wonderful and informative 2 volume set.  A Modern Herbal is still a favorite book of most herbalists’.  It contains information on growing, cooking, medicinal uses, and chemical constituents.

The Village Herbalist (recently re-published as The Herbalists Way) by Nancy and Michael Phillips (Chelsea Green Publishing).
This is an inspired and inspiring book on ‘herbs as a way of life’.  Michael and Nancy interviewed many herbalists to collect their thoughts on herbalism and the various ways that herbalism is practiced today. Includes recipes and remedies as well, but even more importantly, is a beautiful treatise of modern community herbalism.

Planting the Future; Saving our Medicinal Herbs edited by Rosemary Gladstar & Pamela Hirsch, Healing Arts Press, Rochester,Vt, 2000.
Written by over 30 herbalists concerned about the conservation and preservation of our precious medicinal resources.  A must read for anyone using and/or practicing herbalism.

Herbs; Partners in Life by Adele Dawson, 1992, Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vt.
Written by one of my favorite elder herbalists, this book is alive with the spirit, essence and wisdom of herbalism. Forward by Rosemary Gladstar.

The Herbs of Life & Healing with the Herbs of Life by Lesley Tierra, 1992, Crossing Press, Freedom, California 95019.
Both of Lesley’s books provide an excellent and easily understood explanation of Chinese and Western herbology.  These books are among my favorite herb books because of their comprehensiveness, ease of understanding, and dept of wisdom.

Sacred Plant Medicine by Stephen Buhner, 1996, Roberts Rinehart Publishers, Co 80301.
Explorations in the practice of Indigenous Herbalism. Important reading.   Any of Stephen’s many books are excellent reading!

Plant Spirit Medicine by Eliot Cowen, 1995, Swan.Raven & Co, OR 997132.
One of the first books to come out on Plant Spirit Healing.  Excellent!

The Illustrated Herbal Encyclopedia by Kathi Keville, 1992, Bantan Doubleday, NY.
This beautifully illustrated and very comprehensive herb book is written by a well known herbalist.  Beautiful pictures.

The Healing Herbs by Michael Castleman, 1991, Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania.
One of my favorite herb books for information on both the scientific and folkloric aspects of herbs. Michael has done an outstanding job researching the historical uses of plants. My only criticism of this book is Michael’s cautionary measures about using herbs are over done in my eyes.

The Illustrated Herbal Handbook by Juliette de Bairacli Levy, 1982, Faber & Faber, London.
Juliette has been a mentor and friend for many years.  All of her herbals are favorite books of mine.  Each captures the spirit and essence of herbs, and brings the art of herbalism alive. If you read no other herb books, read Juliette’s!  

Back to Eden by Jethro Kloss, 1988, Back to Eden Books Publishing Co., Loma Linda, Ca. 92354.
This classic is often termed the herbal “bible”.  It is full of excellent information, formulas, and recipes. I think some of the best herbal formulas yet are found in the pages of this tome.

Herbal Medicine by Rudolf Fritz Weiss MD., 1988, U.S. distributor: Medicina Biologica, Portland, Or. 9721.
An outstanding medical botanical reference.  Excellent for the more advanced student of herbalism.  A favorite among herbalists.

The Family Herbal by Barbara & Peter Theiss, Healing Arts Press, Rochester, Vt, 1989
Applying their experience as parents, pharmacists, and herbalists, the Theiss’s have written an excellent guide for the beginner to the practical application of medicinal plants for family health care.  Wonderful photographs!

School of Natural Healing by Dr. John Christopher, 1976, Biworld, Provo, Ut.
This is an herbal classic written by one of the great herb doctors of the century.  The School of Natural Healing was originally published as Dr. Christopher’s home study course and it is an excellent reference textbook, but not the best book for beginners.

Kings American Dispensatory, Harvey W. Felter, 1983, Eclectic Medical Publications, 11231 S.E. Market St, Portland, Or.
First published during latter part of the 19th century, this outstanding two-volume materia medica is a land mark work on Eclectic Medicine and the clinical uses of North American herbs.

American Materia Medica Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, Finely Ellingwood, 1983, Eclectic Medical Publications, 11231 S.E. Market St., Portland, Or.
Another of the outstanding textbooks published by the Eclectic Medical society in the late 1900’s.  It is still an excellent reference and is used by serious students of herbalism.

Medicinal Plants of the Mountain Southwest (and anything else by M.M.) by Michael Moore, 1979, Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe, N.M.
One of the great herbalists of our day, Michael Moore writes in a highly informative and entertaining manner. I love all of his books; they are all worth purchasing!  This one is a jewel.  Michael Moore was one of the most influential herbalists of our time.

Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody, 1993, Dorling Kindersley, NY.
A practical and extremely visual resource book for everyone wishing to explore the healing properties of herbs.  Penelope Ody is a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists and is well known throughout the U.K.  Her information is easily accessed and beautiful to behold.

Herbs and Things by Jeanne Rose, Grossett and Dunlap, NY, NY.
Another of the herbal classics, Jeanne’s book is a wealth of information, historical references, recipes, and formulas and captures the flavor of herbalism.

Between Heaven and Earth by Efrem and Harriet Korngold. 1991, Ballantine Books, New York, NY.
A lucid and penetrating introduction to Chinese medicine.

The Web That Has No Weaver by Ted Kaptchuk, 1983, Congdon & Weded, New York, NY.
An excellent introduction to Chinese Medicine, this is another of my favorite books on this ancient system of healing.

Ayurveda, The Science of Self-Healing by Dr. Vasant Lad, 1984, Lotus Press, Santa Fe, NM.
This excellent introduction to the basic principles of Ayurvedic herbal medicine is written by one of the outstanding Ayurvedic practitioners in this country.

Discovering Wild Plants by Janice Schofield, 1989, Alaska Northwest Books, Anchorage, Alaska.
This is one of my favorite wild herb identification books.  Pictures are excellent and the information about each plant is interesting and thorough.  Though the book focuses on plants of the Pacific Northwest, I have found it applicable on the east coast as well.

Roots: An Underground Botany and Forager’s Guide Douglas B. Elliott 1976, The Chatman Press, Old Greenwich, Ct.
Doug is a fascinating story teller, a woodsman, and herbalist.  His book offers all herb lovers a rare opportunity; the chance to look and learn about the mysterious “other half” of plant life which lies just beneath our feet.

Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Dr. Michael Murray & Dr. Joseph Pizzorno 1991, Prima Publishing, Rocklin, Ca. 95677.
This book is the best reference book of its kind.

Natural Alternatives to Over the Counter and Prescription Drugs by Dr. Michael Murray. 1994, William Morrow & Co, NY, NY.
A good reference work for options to prescription drugs.

New Green Pharmacy by Barbara Griggs, 1997, Vermillion, London.
I simply love this book.  The old version is a classic; this one is even better!! Must reading to know your herbal roots.

Herbal Tonic Therapies by Dr. Daniel Mowrey. 1993, Keats Publishing Co, New Canaan, CT.


As more and more women are becoming interested in herbs, there is a rising number of herb books being written by and for women.  These are some of my favorite Medicinal herb books for women.

Herbal Healing for Women by Rosemary Gladstar, 1993, Simon & Schuster, NY
Rosemary’s very own herbal!  Practical, poetic, and inspiring information that will help everyone discover her way to wellness.

Roots of Healing by Deb Soule, 1995, Citadel Press, NY.
Beautifully written, practical, and uplifting.

The Complete Women’s Herbal by Anne McIntyre, 1995, Henry Holt Co., NY.
Beautifully laid out, wonderful practical information for women. Written by a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalist, UK.

Hygieia, A Woman’s Herbal by Jeannine Parvati, 1978, Freestone Press, Monroe, Utah.
A woman’s classic, this book is full of wonderful lore written by an inspiring herbalist/ midwife.

The Wise Woman Herbal for The Childbearing Years and The Wise Woman Herbal for the Menopausal Years , by Susun Weed,  1986, Ash Tree Publishing, Woodstock, New York
Excellent easy to read herbals written in the `Weed kind of way.’    A women’s favorite…

Natural Healing in Gynecology by Rina Nissim, 1986, Pandora Press, New York, NY
Rina’s book is of special interest because, because of her work in a women’s health clinic. Hard to find; may be out of print.

Artemis Speaks: V.B.A.C. Stories & Natural Childbirth Information by Nan Koehler, 1985, published by Jerald R. Brown, Inc. 17440 Taylor Lane, Occidental, Ca. 95465
Offers valuable information for the pregnant woman and provides accurate information by women who have had vaginal births after cesareans.  This book will be a classic.

Natural Child Care by Maribeth Riggs.
This herb book will prove invaluable to many women who are seeking natural and herbal remedies for children.

Nature’s Children by Juliette de Baircli Levy, recently reprinted by Ash Tree Publications, Woodstock, NY.
This is one of my favorite little herbal tomes.  Juliette writes poetically and spiritedly about the uses of herbs for children.

The Herbal for Mother & Child by Anne McIntyre, 1992, Element, Ma.
A comprehensive easy to follow guide to the use of medicinal herbs for mothers with young families. Includes a guide to baby and childhood health problems and how to treat the problems naturally.

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christine Northrup, 1994, Bantam Book, NY.
This book is essential reading for all women interested in health and health care.  I think its brilliant and applaud Christine for her dedication and vision.                                                                             


This list is far more limited than the list on Women’s Health, but at least, they have begun to be written ~ and the one’s we have are excellent!

  • The Male Herbal by James Green, 1991, Crossing Press, Freedom, Ca. This is another of my favorites. It guides the reader into the largely unexplored realm of male health care and into the unique recesses of the male mind. It is a jewel.
  • Vital Man; Natural Health Care for Men at Midlife by Stephen H. Buhner, Avery,  NY, 2003. Written in Stephen’s brilliant manner, this is a must read book for men and anyone interested in men’s health.
  • Herbal Remedies for Men’s Health by Rosemary Gladstar, Storey Book Pub, Vt, 1999.  An excellent concise reference for men written in an easy to understand and helpful manner.


There are many excellent books available these days on natural health.  The following are my favorites.

Food and Healing, by Annemarie Colbin, 1986, Ballentine Books, NY
This is one of my favorite books on the relationship of food and healing.  It enables one to make intelligent, conscious choices about the way one eats and how it will affect our well being.

The Art of Good Living by Svevo Brooks, 1986, Houghton Miflon Co., Boston.
This beautiful simple classic is a practical and poetic guide to good living.  “Simple steps to Regaining health and the joy of life”, The Art of Good Living inspires the reader. Hard to find.   I think this book is out of print, sadly.

Natural Health, Natural Medicine by Andrew Weil, M.D., 1990, Houghton Miflin Co., NY. I
find Andrew’s book a wonderful resource of information on various health problems and appreciate that he writes from his personal experience as a doctor.  His advice is sound, intelligent, and sometimes refreshingly controversial.

Staying Healthy With the Seasons by Elson Haas, M.D., 1981, Celestial Arts, Millbrae, Ca.
A lovely book that presents healing and health in relationship to the four seasons.  It addresses food, herbs, and preventive and curative therapies in a very simple and holistic manner.

Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Dr. Elson Haas, M.D., 1992, Celestial Arts.
Like all of Elson’s book, simple wholesome truths presented in easy to read format.

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. 1995, ProMotion Publishing, Ca.
One of the most important books on food and healing.

Traditional Foods are your Best Medicine by Ronald Schmid, N.D., 1997, Healing Arts Press, Rochester, VT.
Common Sense guidelines that are helping to restore a sane sensible diet based on traditional eating practices.

Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford, 1993 North Atlantic Books, Ca.
This excellent book brings together authentic traditions of Oriental medicine with up to date research on healthy vegetarian diets.  It’s used as a text in several wholistic school programs.