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The Herbal Medicine-Maker's Handbook: A Home Manual

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THE HERBAL MEDICINE-MAKER'¬?S HANDBOOK is an entertaining compilation of natural home remedies written by one of the great herbalists, James Green, author of the best-selling THE MALE HERBAL. Writing in a delightfully personal and down-home style, Green emphasizes the point that herbal medicine-making is fundamental to every culture on the planet and is accessible to everyone. So, first head into the garden and learn to harvest your own herbs, and then head into your kitchen and whip up a batch of raspberry cough syrup, or perhaps a soothing elixir to erase the daily stresses of modern life.

384 pages, Paperback

First published September 1, 2000

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About the author

James Green

2 books15 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James Green - Male Health - a professional herbalist currently working and teaching in the San Diego area. He is the author of The Herbal Medicine-Maker¹s Handbook and The Male Herbal. James was the owner and director of the California School of Herbal Studies in Sonoma County for the last 15 years. He is a founding member of the United Plant Savers and the American Herbalists Guild.

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5 stars
687 (56%)
4 stars
372 (30%)
3 stars
125 (10%)
2 stars
29 (2%)
1 star
11 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 49 reviews
Profile Image for Sally.
1,244 reviews38 followers
October 18, 2009
Such a simple sentiment, but this passage has been paradigm-changing for me, not only in my herb and natural health studies, but also in general:

"Most herbalists I know strongly recommend that a student limit her studies to 'a few select herbs.' Get to know them well by learning to identify them,... touch, taste, smell, and use them. The energies of thirty to thirty-five herbs will enchant you and keep you sufficiently busy for the following year or two. Distinguished individuals from the remaining myriad herbs that dwell on Earth will, one by one, as situations arise, attract your attention and attach themselves to your initial repertory."

There are many benefits to simplicity. The journey truly is the destination. Slow down, use less, do less, live more fully.
Profile Image for Trace.
942 reviews37 followers
May 24, 2010
Another interesting topic for me. In the past I've made batches of elderberry syrup and saved myself a bundle, as its expensive to buy! I'm ready to add a few more herbal/natural recipes to my repertoire.


DONE! Didn't like it.. didn't find it to have a very comfortable flow.... couldn't get into it...and didn't like the new-agey feel to it.. read at least half of it and skimmed through the rest.. the author is obviously VERY knowledgeable about his craft... but I'll keep looking for a book to add to my library.... this one isn't it.
Profile Image for Sky.
157 reviews23 followers
June 14, 2018
As a clinical herbalist who went to school for Phytotherapy, I have to say that this is still one of the best books on the subject of making medicines (one which many of my teachers reference).
It gives multiple methods, and quite a bit of trouble shooting.
I suggest it to all beginner and advanced medicine makers alike!
Profile Image for Katherine.
18 reviews
April 27, 2022
This book had some good herbal information and instructions on how to make various things. Unfortunately you have to sift through a bunch of New Age spiritualism and nonsense to get there. Not everyone studying herbalism wants to manifest magical energy spirits into their flower essences for spiritual cleansing. Some of us just want practical herbal remedies for overall health.
Profile Image for Sarah.
33 reviews5 followers
June 2, 2010
The nitty-gritty of herbal medicine making, laid out in a well organized and thoughtful way. James has a great conversational style to his writing, you will feel like a kind friend is right with you guiding your learning. I like that he sticks to just a few (25 or so) herbs that you are most likely to use, so you can get to know them really well. He also has a great sense of humor and so reading through this book is never dry! The lovely mucha-ish illustrations throughout the book are done by his very tallented daughter. I would love to meet James in real life, as he seems not only knowledgeable but kind and fun.
Profile Image for James Green.
22 reviews
March 5, 2021
I read this for some insights into herbal medicines as I do believe that SOME herbal treatments and alternative (what a dull word) remedies work, while others don’t (aloe vera for burns, but not sage for rectal bleeding kinda thing). I come from a cultural background wherein herbs, spices, roots, leaves, barks, saps etc. are integral to the cuisine and also the medicines, and I grew up learning about this sort of thing in a small way, and benefiting from it as well. I therefore thought this book would be an interesting read (plus the author shares my name which is satisfying for that reason as well as for aptronymic reasons of potential nominative determinism), and there certainly were a lot of very intriguing aspects to the book and the information it delivers. However, it does on too many occasions lapse into spiritual hippie “I want the plants to reveal the essence of their universal love” mumbo jumbo, the kind you’d parody if you were Frank Zappa, and this brings down the quality of the book slightly, as well as making questionable the validity of the information that it contains. Still worth a perusal of the pages though, if this kind of practice is something you find interesting.
Profile Image for Alyson Maier.
Author 5 books3 followers
November 22, 2021
The true essence of this beautiful author, his heart and sentiments towards herbalism and respect for mother nature comes shining through in each and every chapter of this book. This book has technical information interweaved with deep insight and wisdom, that I hope all budding herbalists engage with and respond lovingly to.
Profile Image for JoMama.
102 reviews
February 22, 2011
Fun book if you are into your own medicine making. Lots of great recipes and ideas and in depth descriptions.
3 reviews
April 23, 2020
This is a delightful book for the aspiring or more experienced medicine maker. It is full of clear information, sensibly organized. Green's writing is precise and enjoyable, very human, drawing from his obvious lengthy experience. I have been working with herbs, growing many medicinals, making tinctures and essential oil products for many years. I found much to like in this manual, learned some new ways. I can recommend it to anyone who loves herbs, self sufficiency, good writing.
1 review1 follower
April 25, 2021
🙂This is very good book. A lot of knowledge given. I am still reading this book and I use it when I need to prepare a herb/s. Wealth of information, from gardening, harvesting, drying, garbling, storing, extraction process, solvents, forms of herbal medicine, different infusions, decoction, tincturing, lotions, creams, much more. If you like using and preparing your own herbs, this book is great. I highly recommend it.
Profile Image for Charles.
160 reviews
June 20, 2020
this book contain lots of information of some herbs and the many different ways you can work with them. there was a lot to take in and hard to just remember all, but the book will be used for years to come when making medicals as a guide for doing is the way to learn. i loved the story in chapter 26
75 reviews7 followers
August 5, 2017
A beautiful book with detailed information on making herbal medicines at home. Describes the difference between types of medicine, and /why/ certain types of plants work best with each.
Profile Image for Lily.
26 reviews3 followers
June 16, 2018
I prefer this title to a few others out there on medicine making techniques. It's historical, technical, and funny.
Profile Image for Jesse Naumann.
8 reviews
August 20, 2018
This is a book for all people interested in learning about herbalism and its many ways of being used.
Profile Image for Lisa.
5 reviews
October 10, 2019
Excellent resource for how to make tinctures, deco rooms, syrups, etc. Scientific and do it yourself-y options to be a precise herbalist.
Profile Image for Robin Trent.
Author 1 book3 followers
July 8, 2020
This handbook has everything in it. Detailed explanations on how to make tinctures, balms, salves, pills, etc... It does not have a lot of explanation on herbs and their uses, which is fine. There are tons of books on that subject. This book is a how to make medicine's book and if that is what you are looking for I highly recommend.
Profile Image for Andy Plonka.
3,369 reviews13 followers
August 4, 2020
BIn addition to providing a useful handbook if I ever desire to use medicinal herbs, this author has a great sense of humor which makes what might be a dry treatise an enjotable read.
1,728 reviews53 followers
February 17, 2017
Contains a great deal of information about herbal preparations, but not much on the herbs themselves. My guess is that this is an amazing resource for experienced herbalists, but not so much for relative novices such as myself
November 3, 2008
A great resource for learning every step of herbal medicine production. Great illustrations. Of all the books I have read in this genre, this one far exceeds all others in its quality as a technical manual. He explains the medicinal qualities of 30 herbs and discusses the best preparation for each. He has explanations for certain productions in this book that I have never before seen explained in writing. As a trained herbalist, I have previously only heard this information passed from teacher to student orally.
Profile Image for Heather.
270 reviews
October 20, 2011
I am loving this book as a guide as I'm taking an herbalism class. I am really getting interested in learning more about plants, how to recognize, gather & heal with them. Such fascinating stuff!! Now as I'm reading the info on how to do everything, I am in the know as I've experienced a lot of it in my class. So exciting!! I'm just giddy!! This is definitely a good reference book that I am putting on my wish list for my home shelf.
Profile Image for Michele Hoover.
28 reviews3 followers
September 19, 2012
I LOVE James Green ... always have. He has been one of my favorite herbalists, along with Susun Weed, since I first began my own herbal journey, many many moons ago.

This is a beautiful beginner's manual - an introduction to the philosophy, relationship with plants, tools and basic instructions for creating herbal medicines. James' writing is a joy to read, and this book includes a beautiful philosophy of health, beauty, and life.
Profile Image for Sara McDonald.
Author 4 books6 followers
August 16, 2014
Green is knowledgeable about using heat and solvents to extract chemicals. I really liked that about this book. Though the book gives some brief discussion on therapeutic activity of certain herbs, it is more about the processing side of herbal medicine making. He references pagan spirituality frequently in terms of communicating with the plants, and a bit of earth-worship. Nevertheless, it's a well-crafted book from a person who clearly has the knowledge and skill to speak on the subject.
22 reviews
November 12, 2010
THE foundational handbook for learning how to work with medicinal plant preparations. Provides detailed "how to" based on years of practice and research, from creating simple tinctures and infusions to the more esoteric preparations. The stories and anecdotes are both entertaining and highly educational.
Profile Image for Amanda Klenner-labrow.
5 reviews16 followers
August 4, 2014
Great, practical information on just 20 herbs - but good insight into each herb and how to make a lot of different types of herbal medicine with step by step instructions. It makes you practice american measurements to metric conversion - which is good. Wonderful recipes. Great voice. One of my top "herb books" that I recommend.
Profile Image for Kate Brenton.
Author 1 book1 follower
June 20, 2022
I am in the throes of this informative, loving and easily digestible text. As I write, I am also enrolled in an Herbalist class and feel that this will be a good go to after the class to reintegrate all that I have learned as well as give some options for me to play with.
3 reviews
August 12, 2011
i really like this book. james is reallyfunny and knowledgeable. tthis book covers a lot of topics and shows many different ways of making hherbal medicine. i think its better suited for intermediate studeents than begginners though. (i can actually spell, but my keboard is dying) :(
Profile Image for Anne Cheshire.
6 reviews1 follower
January 12, 2013
The best manual I have seen, an erudite writer with a sense of humour and spiritual awareness packs in a huge amount of usable information. Good for first-time herbalists and more experienced alchemists.
Profile Image for Kristine.
111 reviews6 followers
April 3, 2008
As a herbalist, this is one of my favorite references.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 49 reviews

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