Sunday, March 22, 2015

Book Review - Healing Herbs by Tina Sams

I purchased a book recently that is absolutely what it says it is on the cover.

The book is entitled Healing Herbs: a Beginner's Guide to Identifying, Foraging and using Medicinal Plants.

It was written by Tina Sams, editor of The Essential Herbal Magazine with some input from a few herbal people she knows (including me!)

I love this book.

Not just because of the way it is organized with a chapter for each herb, but because of the wonderful conversational style it is written in.  It is an easy read chocked full of recipes for things from salves to ointments, to a variety of teas, bath items and even a few food recipes.

The book features 20 chapters (so 20 herbs) each beginning with a wonderful photograph and information on the plant's healing components.  It even has a little box with the herb's medicinal benefits for quick reference.  Among the recipes at the end of each chapter is one shared from another herbal person.  In many cases they share why they like the herb and a recipe of their own.  I was asked to share about lavender and included a cooking blend featuring lavender buds.  -- Hey you know how I am with herbs and cooking!

The information included in this compact volume is first rate.  From the beginning where Tina outlines the basics of making salves, tinctures, teas and syrups to the the herb chapters where she provides just enough history and growing information coupled with medicinal properties and ways to use the herbs that you can remember the teachings and do not feel intimidated.  It truly is perfect for a beginner because nothing feels overwhelming, yet it is also not too basic that "you've heard it all before" which is something I dislike about most beginner books. I like this book and have learned something from it.

As someone who converses regularly with Tina on the Essential Herbal Yahoo group, I can almost hear her speaking through the recipes.  They are obvious favorites and have been used by her in the past.  She places the recipes in context too.  You know why and when to use them and all are easy to craft.
Sage benefits
I would recommend this book for a novice, but also someone like myself whose focus with herbs has not been toward medicinal applications as often as food applications.  It has opened my eyes to how easy non-food preparations can be.

The feel of the book enhances its properties as well.  The size is about 7 inches by 7 inches with a soft but not paper cover that has wonderful images.  The weight of the paper and the quality of the close-up images inside add to my desire to carry it around with me. And the slightly raised letters in the title make it fun to handle in terms of texture.  Like the herbs included in its pages the book makes you want to touch.

Here is a sample recipe - This is from page 44

Lavender Spray
1 Tbls. vodka
3 ounces distilled water
30 drops lavender essential oil

In a 4 ounce spray bottle, mix all the ingredients.

This spray can be used to scent linens, freshen the air or even as a body spray,  And according to Tina, if you keep it in the refrigerator during the summer and give your face a spritz after being out in the garden is a heavenly reward.

Healing Herbs: a Beginner's Guide to Identifying, Foraging and using Medicinal Plants by Tina Sams, published by Fair Winds Press (Beverly, MA: 2015)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Marcy! I love the way the editors at Fair Winds put it together too, and thank you so much for your contribution, as well.


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