Wednesday, 12 April 2017
Recommended books, sites and video channels
I'm about plum dried up when it comes to ideas for 'click-worthy' blog posts here, so instead here's some suggested reading & viewing for those of you with a genuine interest in wildcrafting and/or working with plants in any way.
1) Field Guides: The first and most important book that anyone serious about wildcrafting needs is a good field guide for your bio-region. Make sure it's specific to your needs (there are tree guides, edible plant guides, fungi guides). Keep it handy - on your bedside, or in the bathroom (you do read in the bathroom, right?) and skim through it, over and over.
2) Read any of the books by the following modern herbalist/authors:
Stephen Harrod Buhner (especially his works on plant intelligence and the heart as an organ of perception)
Susun Weed (although most of her books are written for women, men will benefit from reading "Healing Wise" and "Down There".)
Matthew Wood I've read many an herbal tome by many an author and Matthew Wood is the best. By far.
3) Scour second hand stores for used books. They're cheap, so buy anything you find. You cannot have too many. The more you read, the better you'll be able to discern when a writer knows their subject from experience or is just writing on contract (I call it journo-herbalism. That's most of what you'll find on the 'net, by the way).
4) Read the elders of herbal medicine. The essentials on my shelf include:
Nicholas Culpeper (Elizabethan English Physician and Astrologer) - Written in 1653, in almost Shakespearean language with colour plate illustrations that are more fanciful than accurate, his "Complete Herbal" is still a great read. You'll see the Doctrine of Signatures in action, how astrology & plants are related and generally have a great time with this book. Take all references to 'blood letting' with a grain of salt.
Jethro Kloss (American Eclectic, early 20th Century) - In his classic work "Back To Eden", Kloss plagiarises Culpeper word for word in a few passages, and he is a bit obsessed with enemas and fruit diets. Nevertheless, it's a great general guide to the medicinal uses of common plants found in North American forests, fields and back yards. Separated into sections on plants, illnesses, recipes and includes more uses than you thought possible for soybeans. My copy is in tatters and full of hand written foot-notes.
Maria Treben - (Austrian, mid to late 20th Century) Although she came to fame in the 1980's Treben's remedies hail from traditional usage going back many generations in Eastern Europe. There is nothing fancy or controversial about her work, she advocates fresh herbal teas and sometimes tinctures of common, very safe, plants. I consider her books to be essential to anyone who wants to avoid the pharmaceutical merry-go-round.
Sites of interest on the web: Have fun with these and bookmark them, because you will definitely go back to them over and over. Dig through the archives and read the comment sections, where you will occasionally see some of today's best herbal practitioners swapping stories.
http://www.henriettes-herb.com/ - Henriette's been around since the dawn of the internet. The archives are HUGE.
http://bearmedicineherbals.com/ - Kiva Rose in New Mexico.
http://animacenter.org/wolfwritings.html - Kiva Rose's partner, Jesse Wolf Hardin. Dyed in the wool hippy, "wizard" and all around barbarian. To read him is to love him.
http://www.herbcraft.org/ - jim mcdonald (he prefers lower case to differentiate from another "herbalist" of the same name who you want to avoid. So always use lower case when looking for our guy's work) His site has a large selection of links and articles by other herbalists. I think he may even still be in practice, and if I was looking for a practitioner, I'd call on him for help.
https://www.youtube.com/user/TheHarmonicArts - New kid on the block, Yarrow Willard. Bright, a little goofy, but he really knows his stuff.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK1V3FzEkeYEs49vBv1tsrg - Herb TV, various herbalists, some excellent work here, some just so-so.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCATSVS2Vv8Q--UNaOZeqUOQ - (please note, I find this fellow a little cannabis happy for my tastes but some of his earlier videos are excellent)
https://www.youtube.com/user/wisewomantradition - Susun Weed. What can I say? She's about as down-home as it gets. Special appearances by Monica-Jean.
Okay, that's it folks
I'll still check for comments here, will still be (occasionally) writing on my other, kinda wacky blog and I'm still around by email, but this one will be dormant for a while. I think I provided plenty here to keep y'all busy, yes?