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Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  2,259 ratings  ·  157 reviews
Widely recognized as the godmother of modern herbalism, Rosemary Gladstar is renowned worldwide for her inspired teaching and trustworthy knowledge of healing herbs. With Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide, Gladstar offers a fresh introduction for a new generation of gardeners and natural health and self-sufficiency enthusiasts.

Thirty-three of the most common and versatil
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 21st 2012 by Storey Publishing
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Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a nice little introduction to using medicinal herbs. I like how it focuses on a limited number of herbs and gives a pretty thorough description of their properties as well as how to cultivate them. There are also some easy recipes to get started in making tinctures, salves, infusions, and all sorts of other things. It made me want to make stuff.
Doug Miles
Oct 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Way before all of us were bombarded with countless ads for so-called wonder drugs on television, people turned to nature for remedies. Rosemary Gladstar has written a useful guide, “Medicinal Herbs, Learn How to Ease Common Ailments Naturally” which describes how to grow, harvest, prepare and use 33 of the most common healing plants. It is written in an easy to understand style with plenty of pictures. Highly recommended.

I spoke with Rosemary Gladstar about her book and that conversation can be
Deborah Davis
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
After reading one of Rosemary Gladstar's books, I went looking for others. In this book she provides pictures so you can recognize the plants, explains which parts are useful in which capacity, and even has safety sections. You will find many helpful uses for the spices you use for cooking. An excellent resource. ...more
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent introductory and/or summary guide for incorporating medicinal herbs into your lifestyle. I appreciate that the author does not discount or disapprove of modern medicine and/or visiting your doctor for greater complications but instead advocates for simple herbal remedies one can try in replacement of over the counter medication for minor problems (headaches, digestive pains, burns and itching) and as preventatives. This book is highly accessible to anyone interested in learn ...more
C. S.
Oct 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: health
Herbalism doesn't have to be complicated and scary. Rosemary's advice is to start with just a few herbs - ones you know well, that grow near you. In this book she talks about growing and using such common garden sights as yarrow, St. John's Wort, dandelion, and basil. Basic, easy-to-understand directions for the common preparations are included right up front - tincture, salve, infusion, decoction, poultice - all in plain, non-technical language. Rosemary's signature wise-elder style comes throu ...more
Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book on how to grow and use medicinal herbs. Gorgeous pages all full color! She's simple but knowledgable. She's from my awesome state of Vermont! I got this for a great price on Amazon! A gem! ...more
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Herbalists, Plant Lovers, Natural Remedy Seekers
Shelves: plants-herbal
This book offers simple practical instructions for tinctures, various remedies, and insights on commonly used medicinal herbal plants. Many or most of the plants referred to are likely accessible to you in some form regardless of locale.

As you turn the pages you feel the vibrance of who Rosemary Gladstar is renown to be. She has created a warm read for the plant lover at heart, someone starting into the practice of herbalism, or the experienced herbalist to use as a reference. This book will se
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health
Fantastic resource and a book that you will return to time and time again.
Rachael MacLean
I have mixed feelings about this book. I bought it quite a while ago when I was at the height of my environmental activism and general witchiness and it has a lot of elements from that time period I like -- comprehensive descriptions, a real attention to the natural world, and a holistic ethos that routinely advocates for discussing with medical professionals. However, since then I have seen the rise of anti vaxx and related movements that make rampant use of this kind of information and as a re ...more
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a beginner's guide as stated in the subtitle. So it is neither comprehensive in its list of herbs nor in its list of applications.

I do believe that Ms. Gladstar has done an excellent job of explaining the benefits of herbs for health. Also in selecting some of the most readily available herbs, in North America at least, for readers to purchase or grow their own.

You will learn the difference between an infusion and a decoction and how to go about making them. Or simply making your own her
Sep 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was my first book about herbalism and I am pleasantly surprised.
For one, the layout is really beautiful and modern, with lots of full color photos, unlike many of the older herbalism books that I looked at at the library. Especially for beginners I think it is very nice to have a book that is not too heavy on the text.
The beginning of the book is dedicated to making different herbal medicines, like tinctures, infusions and even herbal pills. The remaining part of the book (about three quar
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful beginner's guide to medicinal herbs. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and love how it sets out to dispel any negative feelings about growing, using and integrating into yours and your family's everyday life. I also greatly appreciate the simple breakdown on how to make your own tea blend, syrups, salves and tinctures. This book also contains a plethora of "recipes" to assist with everyday problems such as cold related coughing, allergies, relaxation aids, digestive aids, acne treatmen ...more
Feb 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: health
Loved this book! I've read it several times over the years and have tried several of her recipes. Fantastic beginners guide. Our favorite is the candula salve- we use it on a regular basis and it works very well. Her instructions on picking and drying the flowers and clear. Instructions for making salves is easy to follow.

I also really enjoy the Chamomile tea for sleep. I have several of the herbs she recommends now growing in our yard and I look forward to finding more favorite uses from them.
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a treasure.

I have to admit, when I read the book's enthusiastic encouragement to use this herb or that, in this preparation or that, for anyone, adult or child – I was a little uneasy. I know herbs have been used for millennia, but I also know that the traditional medical community gets a bit shirty about self-doctoring; I also know children have very different needs and tolerances. But this isn't a casual hobbyist's manual – at least, it can be read that way, but it was not written so. I
Jan 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
what could have been a decent book turned quickly into a pretty crappy read very quickly. I Immediately lost interest when she suggested that leaving teas and tinctures to sit in the moonlight amplified their healing abilities. There are some unquiet recipes and herb usages but this is easily overshadowed by the fact that she lists the same general statement of "immune system booster" and is "is great for colds, coughs, & sore throats" for the medicinal use for almost every herb listed. worthles ...more
Jan 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Enjoyed this book. Lots of god, basic information. It did cover a lot of what I already knew about general preparation (making infused oil, tinctures, salves, etc). The instructions were simple and will be a good reference.

I loved the pictures of all the herbs. The visuals made me realize how common a lot of herbs are. I was able to recognize a few by sight, but never knew they had medicinal qualities. Love it!

I would recommend this book.
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was the first book on medicinal herbs I've read. It came highly recommended as a great beginner's book, and I can see why. Very simple explanations of the most common and useful herbs, beautiful pictures, and plenty of recipes with instructions on infusions, decoctions, tinctures, and salves all make this a must-have tome on a homesteader's book shelf. ...more
Oct 24, 2020 added it
I'm not sure why this book is so popular. It was fine enough for my purposes, which is to learn how to make better teas for me and my friends. But I'm going to have to search elsewhere for a book that feels more trustworthy.

She seems enthused with herbs and constantly downplays side effects or negatives about plants that I know exist, and once even said aloe was good for "third-degree burns", which is the sort of thing I feel is blatantly irresponsible when marketing to a demographic that may un
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: garden-kitchen, magic
phenomenal. ive read a handful of books on herbalism in the basics realm, and this is by far the most useful. this and my DK publishing “medicinal herbal” are my go-to for all western herbal medicine. gladstar provides so much useful information in only a few pages for each plant, including pictures, growing needs, uses and science behind how it works, warnings when applicable, and recipes for handy things to have around (99% of which, by the way, are comprised of herbs found in the book, and ar ...more
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health, herbs, cookbooks
Gentle and affirming

This is a lovely overview of some of the most readily available and helpful herbs. So many herbalists have Ridgid lists of how to prepare, what the herb is good for and how to cultivate. Gladstar recognizes that there is not a whole lot of consensus with these common herbs and honors their hardiness in cultivation. I love her attitude towards her plants and her garden. I only wish she had gone further into the energetics of the herbs. She only does this with a couple of them.
Apr 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Really loved the information given. I don’t know if I could consider this a beginners guide. Some of the herbs mentioned in the book don’t grow well in my area and some recipes seem a bit out of reach for my humble budget and kitchen herb garden. I was looking for a very in-depth look at a few herbs and this really wasn’t it. The section on Thyme was redundant. I also think it’s a bit reckless to put St. John’s Wort in a beginner guide. Also I really don’t understand why there are herbs that are ...more
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book after making the thyme cough syrup that was excerpted in Mother Earth News. Holy crap, that is GOOD stuff. As in, it is delicious, child-safe, and it actually helps me feel better. This book is full of more great recipes, using relatively common ingredients.

I also appreciate that Gladstar emphasizes in the introduction and throughout the book that these remedies are for the small stuff and promoting good health, and that more serious physical or mental illnesses should be bro
May 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was great as an introduction to herbalism. Rosemary gives the concrete knowledge of what each plant does, its history, how to grow it, and ways to use it/what to make it into - all in lovely, easy to read prose and with plentiful photos to inspire. I also appreciate that she does not dismiss western science, but rather shows what's been done for centuries and how the two practices can work in conjunction with one another (though herbalism can be more preventative than western medicine) ...more
Kim Staley
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
As the title states, this is a great guide for beginners interested in growing and using medicinal herbs. A few descriptions of herbs seem a bit "woo woo"and I personally would recommend against purposely growing burdock as it takes over an area quickly and is difficult to eradicate; however, I found most of the advice to be quite helpful. I especially appreciated the recipes and descriptions of tinctures, oils, infusions, etc. I'll be trying some of these as soon as I'm able to start harvesting ...more
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Excellent basic reference for commonly used herbs.
The only improvement I’d appreciate is additional detail on each herb’s growth and medicinal properties. The details are very generalized and inconsistent.
The addition of holistic recipes is excellent but they also have limited detail on the ingredients’ properties within the recipe, including some herbs that aren’t in this book.
I’ve absolutely read many of her books though as she is a fantastic Herbalist Author! Easy to read, relaxed writing st
Nov 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is mostly a nice encyclopedia to have, and has lots of scientific information. However, the author frequently recommends the use of wintergreen and peppermint essential oil without caveats, even though both have serious contraindications and in extreme cases have cause death due to how they affect the lung tissue. Please do not just use essential oils willy-nilly, if you don't know where to start researching google "using essential oils safely". ...more
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: herbs
Fantastic book for beginners. The number of herbs discussed is limited, but I found it useful for a project about nervine herbs. I adore Rosemary Gladstar and all of her books, and the tone of her writing voice is warm, like sitting with a friend in a garden, sharing a cup of tea, and talking about staying healthy, feeling well, and living the good life.
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredible book for the beginner herbalist! I loved the lay-out, how it wasn't overwhelming (only 33 herbs are featured) and Gladstar's own suggestions of favorite recipes and recommendations with each herb was infinitely helpful. This is definitely one to own and refer back to again and again. ...more
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable and informative, but my concern is there are no formal citations to support any of the claims or dosages. For the herbs that can potentially be toxic or overused, or the ones that have “anti cancer” claims, references to the specific studies would be helpful, rather than just the general summary.
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Rosemary Gladstar is a pioneer in the herbal movement and has been called the "Godmother of American Herbalism." She began more than 35 years ago developing herbal formulas in her herb shop, Rosemary's Garden in Sonoma County, California. She is the founder of the California School of Herbal Studies, the oldest running herb school in the United States, author of The Science and Art of Herbalism ho ...more

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“A MANTRA FOR HOME HEALTH CARE I am my own healer. I have a radiant voice within that guides me. I can make decisions for myself. I can rely on others as needed, but at my discretion. It is my body, my health, my balance, and my responsibility to make right choices for myself. Right choices include working with competent health-care professionals when necessary, allowing friends and family to help as needed, and, above all, being true to my beliefs, with the wisdom and willingness to change as part of the path of healing.” 3 likes
“Cold Care Capsules One of my favorite recipes for keeping a cold at bay or getting over one more quickly, these Cold Care Capsules are easy to make but pack a big punch. Take the half hour or so that’s required to make a batch, and keep it on hand for the cold season. You can find gelatin or vegetable capsules at most herb shops and natural foods stores, and some pharmacies. 1 part echinacea root powder 1 part goldenseal root powder (organically cultivated) ½ part marsh mallow root powder ¼–½ part cayenne powder (depending on your heattoler ance level) “OO” gelatin or vegetable capsules To make the capsules: Mix the powders together in a small bowl. Scoop the powder into each end of a capsule, packing tight, and recap. It takes only a few minutes to cap 50 to 75 capsules, a winter’s worth for most families. Store in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. To use: At the first sign of a cold or flu coming on, take 2 capsules every 2 to 3 hours until the symptoms subside, or up to 9 capsules a day. This is a high dose and should not be continued for longer than 2 to 3 days, at which time you should decrease the dose to 2 capsules three times a day (the normal adult dose for most herbal capsules; see pages 46–47 for further information on appropriate” 0 likes
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