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Growing western medicinal herbs?

Steven Baxter

Joined: Mar 22, 2011
Posts: 254
I'd like to say Im not sure what I am going to ask, I have not looked into this subject very thoroughly. So ill start off by saying what I have observed and what I would like to accomplish or seek to attempt. And maybe form a question at the end, maybe. 

I would like to grow some western medicinal plants. After taking a class on fundamentals of western herbal medicine, I noticed several plants that are very helpful are also kind of obscure, hard to find, or difficult to have a reliable resource. i.e. in the wild. Some of these plants are amazing in the way they can heal the body.

I am looking for a book/s that would have:

  • [li]numerous amount of western medicinal plants[/li]

  • [li] Cultivation techniques

  • [li] harvesting techniques

  • [li] medicinal uses

  • [li] preperations

  • These are some books/subjects that have caught my attention:

  • [li] The Herbal Medicine-Maker's Handbook: A Home Manual

  • [li] Encyclopedia of Northwest native plants for Gardens and Landscapes

  • [li] Native American Medicinal Plants: An Ethnobotanical Dictionary

  • [li] Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies

  • Would you have any recommendations or experience with any book, not necessarily the ones above, but any book on these subjects. Thanks a lot for any thoughts or wise words of advice
    christine lawson

    Joined: Jun 01, 2011
    Posts: 34
    Location: West Quebec

      I can heartily recommend "Backyard Medicine - Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies", (by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal). It's an excellent book. I have lots of experience with both growing and preparation of herbs and still learned plenty. There's some very interesting history and folklore included in each entry and the photography is an adavantage if you are just starting out.

      As you learn more, you'll see that many of the most valuable medicinal plants are NOT all that rare, in fact some of them grow in your back yard, on old homesteads, and the like. Many are considered weeds, or (gasp!) invasives...speaking of which, I just read "Invasive Plant Medicine- The Ecological Benefits and Healing Abilities of Invasives", a really fascinating look at what plants do for the environment, and the body. It's by Timothy Lee Scott, with a great foreward by Stephen Harrod Buhner.

      Look, also, for anything by Susun Weed, not much on cultivation, but lots of sensible advice on  usage.

    Amber Westfall

    Joined: May 26, 2011
    Posts: 13
    Location: Ottawa
    I second the recommendation of Backyard Medicine.  It's a great book!

    Another good one for beginners is: The Herbal Home Remedy Book: Simple Recipes for Tinctures, Teas,
    Salves, Tonics, and Syrups By Joyce A. Wardwell

    "Forgive me if I never visit. I am from the fields, you know, and while quite at home with dandelion, make a sorry figure for the drawing room" ~Emily Dickinson
    Amber Westfall

    Joined: May 26, 2011
    Posts: 13
    Location: Ottawa
    Just read this book review over at Henriette's Herbal:

    Haven't read the book myself, but I respect Henriette Kress' opinion!
    Steven Baxter

    Joined: Mar 22, 2011
    Posts: 254
    Thanks a lot I will look into these books.
    Jen Schellings

    Joined: Jan 15, 2012
    Posts: 9
    Location: PA
    I have two that I rely on for a variety of reasons, but mostly for growing & prep -

    Richo Cech "Making Plant Medicine" he also has "The Medicinal Herb Grower" as the growing companion to the medicine makers book.

    James Green "The Herbal Medicine Maker's Handbook: A home Manual". Full of all sorts of good information on making medicine's of all sorts focusing on a couple dozen chosen herbs.

    Sharol Tilgner

    Joined: Dec 30, 2011
    Posts: 16
    Location: Pleasant Hill, Oregon
    There are not a lot of books on growing herbs but here are a few you can look up. I suggest Richo Cech's book called "The Medicinal Herb Grower". I sell about 20 of my favorite medicinal herb books on my website and Richo's book is one of them. Richo also sells herb seed at Horizon Herbs in Williams, OR. I get most of the herb seed I don't grow from him as it is good quality. Also check out Medicinal Herbs in the Garden, Field and MarketPlace by Sturdivant and blackley, Steven Foster has a nice book called herbal Renaissance and last there is the Potential of Herbs as a Cash Crop by Miller. Growing herbs is much easier than growing food. I have a large herb garden at my current farm and use to row crop medicinal herbs for my herbal manufacturing company. Much, much easier than growing food. Less bug and disease problems. My bees also make fantastic honey from the herbs. The flavor is unbelievable. Good luck!

    May You Walk in Beauty,
    Sharol Tilgner
    Harper Stone

    Joined: Mar 28, 2012
    Posts: 24
    Location: Whatcom County, Washington
    We just got a copy of Homegrown Herbs, by Tammi Hartung. Lots of good growing information in there.

    There are also some books just dedicated to northwestern herbs.
    The two I just checked out from the library are:
    Herb Gardening for Washington and Oregon by Binetti, Marianne
    Herbs for the Pacific Northwest by Carlson, Moira

    Good luck! Sounds like we'll be doing a lot of the same things!
    subject: Growing western medicinal herbs?