Best Audience: Beginning Herbalists and Homesteaders who want to make use of the many wonderful plants right there in their yards
When I’m feeling down about living in the city and longing for the wild freedom of the country, I often pluck Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies by Julie Brunton-Seal and Matthew Seal off my shelf and have a wee browse. The truth is we city folk are surrounded by a surprising number of medicinal and healing plants. Julie and Matthew have gathered a wonderful collection of information ranging from folklore and historical tidbits to modern scientifically supported uses of a variety of plant medicines you can find right in your back yard.
They’ve covered many of the usual cast of characters, like Dandelion, Elder, and Yarrow. What I love is that they didn’t hesitate to dig into a few of the others we rarely hear about but whom I’ve often wondered, like Rosebay Willow Herb (aka Fireweed), Shepherd’s Purse, and Couch Grass. The selection they’ve chosen is, no doubt, easy to find in their native Great Britain home, but here in the Pacific Northwest and, no doubt, through much of the rest of North America, you’ll find many of these lovelies growing either as cultivated plants of as weeds in city and country alike.
Julie and Matthew offer up a handful of recipes and techniques to try for each herb, many of which I’ve enjoyed trying myself. The majority of the book is devoted to the herbs themselves, as it should be with any good herbal. I appreciated the balance between text and imagery within the herb monographs. This truly is a delightful book to peruse on a chilly, rainy winter’s day as well as an honestly good reference all year-round.
The Bottom Line: Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies by Julie Brunton-Seal and Matthew Seal has earned a permanent place on my bookshelf.
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