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3 BOOK REVIEWS ON HERBAL & HEDGEROW MEDICINE…

With months of being mainly at home during the summer I have walked more in the countryside than ever before. It made me look at wild flowers and hedgerows in a completely different light.

I am sure most of us will not know that Britain’s hedgerows may have remedies for all sorts of health conditions, tinctures, beauty and even household uses. So, I headed to Amazon and purchased some books on the subject. There are quite a number of them but I think the ones I write about here are well worth investing in. They are all by the same authors who seem to be a specialist in this field.Just remember if it is something that you take then first check with your GP in case it might interact with any medication you are on.

Kitchen Medicine by Julie Bruton-Seal & Matthew Seal £12.75

They say our kitchen shelves are full of remedies for all sorts of illnesses and accidents. In fact most domestic accidents occur in the kitchen. But if the home has hidden dangers, it also contains many handy but often overlooked ingredients for treating household emergencies and common ailments, from bee stings and cuts to sore throats and chilblains.

The products for these remedies include herbs and spices, fruit and vegetables, oils and vinegars, and many other familiar items.

In Kitchen Medicine the authors of the successful Hedgerow Medicine now move indoors to describe the wealth of healing and emergency remedies that sit unused and idle in the kitchen. Superb illustrations adorn a lively text.

The ailments and illnesses that kitchen medicine can address are comprehensively listed, making diagnosis and cure both immediate and easy.

This book has a great wealth of knowledge, an inspiration and healing abilities. The photos are amazing and it has historical notes and anecdotes with an easy reference listed by ailment. You will be amazed at what you have in your store-cupboard. A bit like having a chemist at your doorstep.

Hedgerow Medicine by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal £12.75

Julie and Matthew explain that Britain’s hedgerows abound with forgotten remedies for countless health problems. Julie Bruton-Seal, practicising medical herbalist, together with her co-author, the editor and writer Matthew Seal, have responded to the growing interest in natural medicine by aiming this book at the amateur who wants to improve his or her health in the same way that mankind has done for centuries around the world: by using local wild plants and herbs. There are clear instructions about which plants to harvest, when, and over 120 recipes showing how to make them into teas, vinegars, oils, creams, pillows, poultices or alcohol-based tinctures. Julie and Matthew explain which ailments can be treated, and what benefits can be expected. As well as being packed with practical information on using 50 native plants, Hedgerow Medicine also gives a fascinating insight into the literary, historic and worldwide application of these herbal remedies.

This is another great book clearly laid out for you to discover what’s growing in your local hedgerow. You will never look at a hedgerow the same again after reading this book. It has 250 beautiful colour images and something that will be picked up by anyone if left on your table.

It contains each herb, with its own page or two (or three) about what it does, how to use it, how the herb was used in history with a beautiful accompanying picture. An priceless book for herbalists enthusiasts alike that gives good tips on making tinctures, teas, poultices and much more. It would make a great Christmas present.

The Herbalist’s Bible by Julie Burton-Seal – £17.99

Julie explains that Herbalist to King Charles I, John Parkinson (1567–1650) was a master apothecary, herbalist and gardener. Famous in his own lifetime for his influential books, his magnum opus was published in 1640, the Theatrum Botanicum, which ran to 1,788 large pages. The sheer scope and size was perhaps to prove the book’s downfall because, while it was much revered and indeed plagiarized, it was never reprinted and now has the status of an extremely valuable rare book. Parkinson was writing at a time when Western herbalism was at its zenith, and his skills as a plantsman combined perfectly with his passion for science, observation and historical scholarship. In this editor’s selection, Julie and Matthew have printed Parkinson’s clear and lively description of a chosen plant’s ‘vertues’ or healing properties, adding their own modern commentary and a contemporary take on his almost-forgotten herbal recipes. Busy herbalists, historians and gardeners will welcome this restoration and sensitive highlighting of Parkinson’s huge lost classic.

This book shows you a glimpse into another world when plants were the only remedy of most ailments. They say that even today around 40 per cent of all drugs used are of plant origin.

It’s a great book well set out with lots of information and stunning pictures. It has the original John Parkinson’s text and line drawings along with the modern descriptions and photos.

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