5 Botanical Books to Explore this Winter

There are so many great botanical books on the market right now that it’s hard to choose which ones to add to your home library. Here’s five from mine that you may enjoy!

Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics. Volume 1: Principles and Profiles

Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics. Volume 1: Principles and Profiles by Peter Holmes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Peter Holmes teaching at the Southwest Acupuncture College in Santa Fe, April 2015.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading Peter’s first volume of Aromatica and look forward to his second volume due out later this year (phalanges crossed!).

Mr Holmes presents clinical aromatherapy within an energetic framework of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, Ancient Greek Medicine, and Ancient Iranian Medicine (Unani Tibb/Tibb Unani). In the first section of the book he covers some of this as well as safety, history, quality, as well as a guide on how to use his monographs. The bulk of the book is devoted to in-depth monographs on some 30 aromatics.

Having attended two continuing professional development courses with Mr Holmes I would recommend this volume for reference for any practicing aromatherapist or advanced aromatherapy student.

Harvest to Hydrosol: Distill Your Own Exquisite Hydrosols at HomeHarvest to Hydrosol: Distill Your Own Exquisite Hydrosols at Home by Ann Harman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the stunning images from Ann’s book is available as a poster

Ann is a brilliant woman with a passion for distillation and hydrosols you’d be hard-pressed to match. She teaches distillation courses, used to run a hydrosol farm, and is involved in testing hydrosols to better understand their chemistry and frequency of adulteration.

Harvest to Hydrosol is a beautiful book with a balance between alchemy and science. Reading this book feels like having a conversation with Ann over tea! If you’ve been interested in learning more about hydrosols and the science-art of distillation this a must-have volume for your library. Ann’s personal preference is towards copper distillation and she’s very good at explaining her reasoning. I don’t employ a copper still for a variety of reasons but I’ve found Ann’s book to be very useful with my own work in distilling hydrosols and teaching introductory courses on distillation and hydrosols.

Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-CareBody into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care by Maria Noel Groves
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Maria Noel signing books after her talk at the American Botanical Council in September 2016

Maria Noel came out to the American Botanical Council here in Austin in September to talk about her new book. It was a delight to meet her and I’d been looking forward to her book release for months!

I prefer to teach and learn via body systems and this book is setup to do just that in a very accessible format for the reader. Maria Noel covers profiles of plants, descriptions of physiology of a body system, and wellness tips through each section. The pages are beautifully illustrated with water color and line drawings and color photographs. I like recommending this book to steer folks closer to the food-as-medicine approach to wellness than an army of supplements sitting on the kitchen counter.

The Modern Herbal Dispensatory: A Medicine-Making GuideThe Modern Herbal Dispensatory: A Medicine-Making Guide by Thomas Easley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is exactly what the title says, a guide on making herbal medicines. It covers a variety of herbal extraction methods from basic tinctures and macerations to soxhlet and percolation extractions and flower essences. The formulations section covers some basics in dosing and then has a number of stock formulas for a variety of wellness goals and conditions.

The Modern Herbal Dispensatory: A Medicine-Making Guide is a great reference book for formulators and practitioners. Thomas Easley also runs an online course on medicine making via his school the Eclectic School of Herbal Medicine.

The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World's Great DrinksThe Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks by Amy Stewart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a really fun book if you fancy yourself a bit of a mixologist with an interest in botany. The book is laid out with profiles on individual botanicals (e.g. apples, hops, birch) that includes information on cultivation, harvesting, lore and history, and recipes. The one thing that I’m missing from a volume like this are more recipes or instructions on adding some of the botanicals to homemade cordials, and drinking tinctures. For example, the profile on violet would have been lovely to have a formula on how to DIY a creme de violette.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

What’s on your nightstand or desk these days?

By | 2017-02-02T22:08:09+00:00 February 2nd, 2017|Aromatherapy, Education|0 Comments

About the Author:

Amy holds her board certificate in Reflexology (ARCB), is a clinically-trained Aromatherapist (CCAP), and an Aromatic Medicine Practitioner. She launched her private practice, The Barefoot Dragonfly, in June 2004 with a special focus on women's health, pediatrics, and pain management. Amy sees clients and teaches a 200-hour aromatherapy certificate program and a 300-hour reflexology certificate program at her studio in Northwest Austin. She offers phone consults for private and commercial aromatherapy consultations. See her CV here: http://www.amykreydin.com/amys-cv/

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