Are you interested in herbal remedies and medicinal herbs? With so many books on the topic, it can be overwhelming for a beginner to know where to start. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the best books on herbalism. These books provide valuable information on how to identify, harvest, and utilize the healing properties of medicinal plants in both practical and fun ways! Whether you’re a beginner or have some experience with herbalism, these books are must-haves for your home library.
Most of these herbalism books are fairly basic and are not giant encyclopedia-style textbooks. I find them a little more accessible for beginners who just want to get started and don’t have the capacity to do a full-on herbal study. If you are looking for a full materia medica, I have some recommendations on my wish list toward the bottom of the post.
I believe that one of the best ways to start learning herbalism is by doing. Creating simple infusions in teas, body oils, and salves can introduce you to these beautiful wild plants better than diving straight into medical herbalism. Of course, I am not a medical professional and I am only a beginner herbalist myself, so all of the recommendations below are simply my opinion and are not intended to be medical advice.
I hope you love these books as much as I do! If you have any other suggestions for our community, be sure to share your favorites in the comments!
The books below will include these icons to describe the contents.
- Recipes include food, beverage, and bath & body recipes
- Informational means that the main parts of the book are for reference and learning, as opposed to recipes
- Text-Heavy books do not contain many photos or illustrations
- Illustrations means the book contains drawings or graphics
- Photography means that the book contains real-lift photos of the herbs or herbal products
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The Best Herbalism Books for Beginners
Complete Wellness: Great for Those Transitioning to a Non-toxic Lifestyle
This book is a comprehensive beginner’s guide to natural health and wellness, covering everything from nutrition and exercise to mindfulness and self-care. It is one of my favorite books for quick reference, as it is divided by the ailment instead of the herb (why do herbal books do this?! It is so hard for a beginner to find what they need quickly).
The author provides practical advice and simple strategies for improving overall health and well-being, with an emphasis on holistic approaches including essential oils, common herbs, and lifestyle changes. The writing is clear and engaging, making it easy to understand and apply the information.
The book is well-organized and includes helpful charts, diagrams, and illustrations that are honestly just really cute. I personally love the drawings.
Herbs for Children’s Health- Parent’s Must-Have
This book is a practical guide to using herbs to support children’s health and well-being written by the one and only Rosemary Gladstar. If you are not familiar, Rosemary Gladstar is a superstar in American herbalism and has paved the way to teach others her herbal knowledge from years of experience. She is an incredibly trusted source in the herbal community (which is why I feel comfortable trusting her with her information for my kiddos).
She provides information on a wide variety of herbs in short easy-to-digest paragraphs, as well as recipes for teas, tinctures, and other herbal preparations. The writing is clear and accessible, with a focus on safety and effectiveness for kids.
It’s perfect when you have a quick problem and need a reference guide. The book includes helpful tips for incorporating herbs into children’s diets and routines, as well as guidelines for dosing and administration. It is such as great book and an invaluable resource. I probably reach for this the most out of my entire herbal library.
The Homesteader’s Herbal Companion- Full Guide on How to Grow Your Own Herbs and Use Them
This book is a comprehensive guide to growing, harvesting, and using herbs for food, medicine, and other practical purposes. The author shares her own experiences as a homesteader and provides detailed information on a wide variety of herbs, as well as recipes and projects for using them. This is great for learning about herbs that are super accessible and easy to find and grow (at least in North America).
The writing is engaging and informative, with a focus on practicality and sustainability. The book is well-organized and includes helpful charts and illustrations. Overall, The Homesteader’s Herbal Companion is an excellent resource for anyone interested in self-sufficiency and natural living from a homesteader’s perspective.
Mother Nature’s Herbal- Great Intermediate Book with Cultural References
Similar to the Homesteader’s Herbal Companion, this book contains information on growing and using herbs, but it goes a step further into the cultural traditions and folklore of these herbs. It also contains less common herbs that you don’t often see in Western medicine such as Ayurvedic herbs and Chinese medicine. It goes beyond Western allopathic thinking and speaks to the synergy of plants and our bodies.
If you are interested in more of the history and culture of natural medicine, this book is packed full of traditions from Native and South American, Mediterranean, East Asian, and other traditional medicine practices.
Wild Cocktails- Fun and Unique Ways to Use Herbs in Cocktails (and mocktails)
This book is a delightful guide to creating delicious and unique cocktails using foraged ingredients. It includes recipes for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, with a focus on using fresh, seasonal ingredients. The author provides tips for foraging and preserving ingredients, as well as creative ideas for presentation.
The photography is stunning, and the writing is engaging and informative. Cocktails are not always the first kind of herbal preparation that comes to mind when thinking of herbalism, but it is a fun way to use herbs and share your passion with friends and family.
Healing Herbal Infusions- Really Practical Recipes for Your At-Home Herbal Apothecary
This book is a great resource for anyone interested in the health benefits of herbs and how to incorporate them into their daily routine. Instead of an herbal reference book, it is more of a recipe book to help you build your own herbal medicine chest at home.
It includes recipes for infusions, tinctures, and other herbal preparations. With step-by-step instructions on making these recipes, this book is folk medicine at its finest, teaching your how to actually use the herbs. I should also mention that the author is a favorite fellow blogger- Colleen of growforagecookferment.com.
Botanical Anthology Magazine- Best for Seasonal Herbal Inspiration and Recipes
Okay, Botanical Anthology is actually a magazine, not a book. But with over 150 pages, it is packed with herbal inspiration for each season. The best herbs to use at any given time are the herbs you find around you in that season. This magazine contains stunning imagery of seasonal recipes for food, bath and body, cleaning, and more.
In addition, it contains easy-to-digest information on the plants of the season and stories and folklore connecting these plants to the community, both past and present. This publication is great for anyone who may also be interested in the spiritual uses of plants in addition to medical uses.
These best herbal medicine books are great resources for anyone interested in natural remedies and the healing power of plants. With so many options available, it can be difficult to know where to start. However, by exploring this list of my favorite herbal books, you can gain insight into the world of herbalism and discover new ways to support your health and well-being right away, without having to do a deep dive (though you may want to after you’ve got a taste of the power of plants! Ask me how I know).
On My Herbalism Book Wish List
The following list are books that I have on my personal wish list, but do not currently own.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced herbalist, these books provide valuable information on identifying and utilizing the healing properties of plants. With detailed descriptions, helpful illustrations, and practical recipes for making your own remedies, these books are a must-have for anyone interested in the field of herbalism. Let me know if you have any other suggestions for beginners in the comments below!
Looking for tools and supplies to start your at home herbal apothecary? Check out this gift guide for beginner herbalists packed with the best supplies to stock your herbal medicine chest.
Looking to buy herbs? Starwest Botanicals has some of the best herbs online.
Further Herbal Learning
Herbal Academy Courses are the perfect way to take the next step in your herbal studies. I have personally taken several of their courses and find them to be incredibly informative. Some of their newer courses include more video, but most of the courses are fairly text heavy, so be sure that that will work for you before purchasing. I know I sometimes have a hard time finding the time to read with two little ones at home!
If you find that listening to information better suits your place in life currently, check out The Plant Path Podcast.
Pin These Best Books on Herbalism for Later!
If you are new to herbalism, don’t forget to check out my Herb Buying Guide to help you make the right choices when buying dried herbs online.
Listen for More Beginner Herbalism Inspiration
About the Author:
I’m Brittany, totally modern and mainstream turned crunchy mama!
Read more here about how I went from a totally incompetent cook and hyper-consumer to striving to live a more meaningful life from scratch.
I can’t wait to share my modern homesteading journey with you and I hope I inspire you to join along!