decorated boards, 472 pp., $89.95
paper, 500 p., $59.95
Within the last three decades, there has been an explosion of interest in medicinal plants as scientists have sought to find new cures for chronic diseases that have shown resistance to synthetic drugs. Biologists Zohara Yaniv and Uriel Backrach have collected studies in the field of medicinal plants and created a comprehensive summary of the history and future of plant research. Their purpose is to encourage further research and public understanding of this complex, intriguing subject.
paper, 334 p., $30.00
The perspective of The Herbalist’s Way is grounded in ancient traditions in which the natural world, not the pharmacy or hospital, was the source of healing. This perspective focuses on the use of herbs to promote health on an ongoing basis rather than taking medicines when a problem occurs. The authors, practicing community herbalists in northern New Hampshire, offer their experience and knowledge to would-be herbalists in this book.
cloth, 188 pp., $44.95
paper, 508 p., $21.95
This Materia Medica was originally published in 1578 and was a compendium developed for 26 years. It includes descriptions of 1,892 species of drugs in addition to 8,160 prescriptions for various ailments. Drs. Porter Smith and Stuart used Li Shizhen’s work as a base from which they developed a translation of the herbal.
paper, 325 p., $19.95
Most of us are generally aware of how we are polluting the environment, but the massive use of drugs is a pollution issue that has not been addressed in depth. In his book The Lost Language of Plants: The Ecological Importance of Plant Medicines to Life on Earth, Stephen Harrod Buhner explains how medicines prescribed for others are excreted through human waste and ingested by the whole population. According to the author, if we learned about the healing qualities of plants, this dangerous cycle of destroying ecosystems could be reversed.
paper, 224 pp., $14.95
paper, 112 p., $17.95
A treasure that will be enjoyed by all lovers of culinary and herbal plants, this book focuses on the herbal survivors of the ancient eruption of Vesuvius, studied by this urbane archeologist and botanist. Precise, charming drawings and authoritative references to classical authors combine to produce a small masterpiece that will appeal to a wide audience. Some of these ancient plants are today's trendy greens, like purslane and Diplotaxis tenuifolia, the wild rucola, which has displaced arugula in the kitchens of many fine chefs. Truly impressive.
cloth, 361 p., $119.95.