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The Herbal Apothecary: 100 Medicinal Herbs and How to Use Them

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“Perfect for anyone just beginning in herbal medicine.” —Mother Earth Living 

Start your path to natural wellness with the safe, trusted advice found in The Herbal Apothecary. With the guidance of naturopath JJ Pursell, you will learn how to safely create your own remedies using plants you know and love. Incorporating traditional wisdom and scientific information, The Herbal Apothecary provides an accessible and comprehensive introduction to plant-based medicine. It features profiles of the 100 of the most important medicinal plants that include information on medicinal uses, identification and cultivation, and recipes for common concerns. Additional information includes step-by-step instructions for making herbal teas, tinctures, compresses, salves, and more. This comprehensive guide includes treatments for men, women, and children that address a variety of concerns including muscle strain, the flu, the common cold, insomnia, anxiety, and much more. 

292 pages, Paperback

First published November 1, 2015

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J.J. Pursell

6 books10 followers

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5 stars
276 (50%)
4 stars
182 (33%)
3 stars
72 (13%)
2 stars
11 (2%)
1 star
2 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 42 reviews
Profile Image for Martina.
122 reviews12 followers
December 12, 2018
I really wanted to like this book. But it seems it should have been called The Herbal Quackery. For all the "medicinal" claims it makes so confidently, there are no sources cited to support them. While I understand that not all folk medicines come with a research pedigree, I did expect a bit more than just the author's say so about what to use for what ailment. I did give the book a couple of stars for presentation and photographs. It is a good looking book, just too many unsubstantiated claims about the supposed healing properties of plants.
Profile Image for Anna Nesterovich.
567 reviews24 followers
September 15, 2018
Wow! I'll be the first one to give it one star! Such a privilege. The reason for this rating is that science and superstitions intertwined so tightly in there, they are impossible to untangle. I really think those two approaches must be separated into different books, so the reader could choose.
Profile Image for Terri Lynn.
997 reviews
November 5, 2016
This is a marvelous book for those who would like to use plants for medicinal purposes whether to make a cream for skin irritations to a tea for insomnia. Each plant/herb is shown, information is given about it, and the process of creating products from it -including doses- is given. The author is Dr. JJ Pursell, a board-certified naturopathic doctor who has worked with medicinal herbs for over 20 years.
Profile Image for Claudia Turner.
Author 1 book37 followers
October 6, 2018
One of the most important book purchases I’ve made this years or ever. It’s very organized and well written, and full of useful information about herbs and holistic whole body healing with herbal remedies. They aren’t a complete replacement for other western methods we need sometimes, and people who think they are need to grow up, but anyone who discredits the importance of these ancient, natural remedies also needs to have their head examined. JJ Pursell is an incredibly informed, intelligent voice in the holistic community and everyone should get a copy of this book whether out of curiosity or a step toward building knowledge and a personal practice of herbal care.
Profile Image for Anniken Haga.
Author 10 books77 followers
July 10, 2019
I always find it hard rating books like this, but for once, it wasn't a question.

Often, I find that books like these are written in a very cold way. They're generic and don't really account for all the different people that may read it. That wasn't the case here. I felt like I was sitting down with the author and having a conversation, where they mentioned their own personal experiences with the herb as well as scientific research.

The scientific research is the only reason I'm giving it a 4/5 star rating instead of a 5/5 star rating. While it always pointed you to where the study was done, I felt that it lacked just enough info for me to look these things up easily. That said, I understand that the author only had so much room to talk about each herb, and had to let some things go.

Other than that, I don't really have anything negative to say about the book.
The descriptions were well written and understandible, the pictures helped a lot and made the book look beautiful. The way each herb was set up and explained was easy and interesting.
It was also a lot of fun going for a walk and seeing some of these herbs grow around where I live, think about how I could use this or that, or where I could possibly find some of the herbs mentioned close by. The book instantly got under my skin.
That said, there were a lot of herbs mentioned and a lot of information, so I'm pretty sure I have to reread the herb parts again sometime in the future, but for now, it was a great start!

Another pluss to the book, the recepies at the end and explanation of all the different ways to use herbs. In other books I've read like this, these things are mentioned, but never properly explained, I feel, but they were here. I feel secure enough to order some herbs online and trying to make my own teas some time in the near future, and I'm so looking forward to it!
Profile Image for Melissa.
119 reviews3 followers
December 9, 2015
I can say in one word what I thought of this book……AMAZING! If you are interested in medicinal herbs remedies you need to look at this book. The layout cover to back will hold your attention. After a short introduction of the herbalist life the author jumps the reader into the different systems of the human body such as the cardiovascular system or the endocrine system. It helps anyone interested in herbal remedies to understand how the body works so they can understand which herbs would work for an ailment.

Next the reader gets a bit of botany class that is very interesting. The photos of the plans are vibrant and show the plant to help you identify it easily. Each plant has its medicinal uses, cultivation and how to use it as a remedy explained. Some of the plants shown I have never heard of which lead to one issue I had with the listings. It would have been nice to have a reference of where these plants are considered native.

The fun begins in the Herbalist Laboratory as the section was titled. Here you get to read how to apply the remedy. The application may be a tea, salve, capsule or something else. There are also recipes listed and broken down into categories for sore throat as an example. Once again photos are used to show the ingredients and possibly how to work with them. After familiarizing yourself with some recipes and how to make them, more recipes and how to administer them are outlined based upon complaint.

I really believe that if you are interested in home remedies you need to check this book out.

I received this book in exchange for my review.
Profile Image for Rebekka Steg.
628 reviews84 followers
November 26, 2015
The Herbal Apothecary is a visually stunning and beautiful book. It covers in depth 100 different medicinal herbs, but also the many ways to store, and use them. How to put together compounds, treatment plans etc. I received an advanced reader's copy from Netgalley, but loved it so much that I am ordering my own copy to keep on hand.
Profile Image for Dna.
626 reviews18 followers
September 26, 2016
Must buy! I just love the way this book is organized and the quality of information is A+. Simple clear directions. Now, if I could figure out where to find this stuff around Hamilton for free...
Profile Image for emyrose8.
3,450 reviews15 followers
December 29, 2019
4.5- This is a ‘level 2’ book for budding herbalists. It has a lot of background on how the herb works with the body systems and doesn’t give a ton of information about how to collect the parts of the plant. The plants feature nice pictures and easy to read information, along with a medicine cabinet area that specifies how to use it (example- decoction, 3tsp per 12oz water, simmer 8-10min covered, 1-3 cups per day). Probably enough info for old timers, but a little scanty on instructions for newbies. (My big question is what part of the plant do you use for each recipe? A lot of the plants say you can use multiple parts of the plant) The end of the book has a number of recipes combining herbs to help common ailments. Very helpful book!
Profile Image for Jenny.
50 reviews2 followers
March 24, 2018
This is an excellent introductory book for the aspiring herbalist interested in holistic, plant-based medicine. While it only scratched the surface, the book was perfectly suited for beginners who are just trying their hand at herbal remedies. It wasn't the most scientific book I've come across on the topic, but Pursell was methodically thorough in her approach; I never felt overwhelmed by the content. I highly recommend this book for those who are considering pursuing herbalism as a serious hobby.
Profile Image for Rosemarie.
346 reviews8 followers
January 15, 2019
I bought this book to keep on my health bookshelf. I read most of it when I first got it, then realized recently that I never finished reading the last two chapters! The book is very well organized with information on different ways to use herbs (poultice, infusion, tincure, etc), supplies needed to make everything, descriptions of various herbs, as well as recipes for herbal applications for various problems. Definitely a book to have on hand.
Profile Image for Karen Klassen.
1 review11 followers
October 14, 2019
It was unclear which statements and recommendations were referenced and which were from the author's opinion. There were errors when describing diseases/conditions that decreased my confidence about the author's knowledge base. Measurements were sometimes in volume, sometimes weight, sometimes metric and overall pretty confusing. Would have been clearer to just advise people to get a scale and weigh everything in grams!
Profile Image for Alicia.
97 reviews3 followers
August 12, 2022
This book is a must have for herbalism. While it’s not the most complete collection of medicinal herbs, the pictures are by far the best, and many of the medicinal properties include references to scientific studies.

I like to borrow books from the library, but will purchase it if I truly love it. We started looking for a copy the same day I picked it up from the library. So much valuable information of the different herbs and how to prepare and administer them.
Profile Image for Lydia.
19 reviews
June 6, 2018
Loads of information

What can I say, if you're interested in growing and eating( or drinking) your own herbs. This is the book for you. You wouldn't believe what's already growing in your own back yard that you can make into tea!
Profile Image for Lisa.
2,017 reviews17 followers
December 17, 2020
Can see why this is a number one seller on Amazon, this book is GREAT! There is a rundown of the herbs and plants and there are recipes and warnings if you suffer from high blood pressure pregnancy or taking certain medications.... I have this in my cart for purchase!
Profile Image for Lanigan Vitaceae.
Author 6 books6 followers
March 10, 2017
Clear instructions for making tons of medicines for many ailments. Beautiful pics too!
7 reviews
September 17, 2017
Simple, comprehensive book for a beginner or amateur naturopath. Great pictures, well-written and explained, with step-by-step instructions on how to use the herbs the author introduces.
Profile Image for Joanie.
122 reviews
January 25, 2018
Probably a book I’ll add to my personal library at some point.
Profile Image for Brittany.
Author 1 book
April 16, 2018
A nice overview about what everything is but a lack of recipes
Profile Image for Lisa.
90 reviews1 follower
June 23, 2018
Excellent information & enjoyable read.

Good book for beginners & intermediate herbalist. Anyone looking for a more holistic approach to healing should start with this book.
Profile Image for Corinne.
19 reviews
June 5, 2019
It was a good starter book! Didn't have quite everything I wanted to learn, but it was a good place to begin and find the right direction.
Profile Image for Kristen.
195 reviews19 followers
January 28, 2022
Very interesting and helpful book. It has a little bit of everything.
Profile Image for Kate.
43 reviews
July 23, 2022
This is exactly what I was looking for!! It will definitely continue to be used.
358 reviews3 followers
November 9, 2015
I read this book for NetGalley.

This is an excellent introductory book for herbal medicine. Dr. Pursell's work is a concise, cogent clearly illustrated primer for anyone wishing to use herbs in a medicinal fashion.

The book begins with explaining the rationale for medical usage of herbs, the history of herbal medicine and the basic systems of the human body and how herbal medicine can affect and heal them.

There are excellent listings of herbal medical technical terms and their definitions, and well as lists of different medicinal herbs and how they heal the body.

Following this very important and informative introductory section, Dr. Pursell explains how to make different herbal medicines and the methods for their creation, formulation and dosing in clear and well illustrated photographic detail. The beginning herbalist will learn how to make infusions, oils, syrups, etc. and will also benefit from Dr. Pursell sharing his herbal formulas for many common ailments.

I learned a lot from this book. Though I probably will not either grow my own herbs or collect wild ones (there is a detailed section on growing or collecting herbs and then processing methods for the herbs), I will definitely use the herbal remedies mentioned in his book. An extremely educational and helpful read for anyone interested in herbal medicaine.

A very good read!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 42 reviews

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