Best Books On Natural Healing
We love that nature has the power to heal and that, when correctly used, earth’s elements can aid and benefit our bodies. Whether it be essential oils, herbs, or common spices found in our kitchen, organic and sustainably harvested ingredients can do wonders for our bodies.
If you’re interested in learning more about herbal medicines and natural remedies—either to grow and harvest your own herbs or solely to further your knowledge—we’ve put together a curated list of our favorite books currently on the market. Some include recipes, others contain information about identifying herbs in their natural environment, but they all are comprehensive, straight-forward, and written by experts in the field.
So, for our readers looking to further explore herbal medicines, here are six of our favorite books on the world of natural remedies.
1. The Herbal Apothecary
To begin your journey into the world of herbal medicine and natural remedies, we recommend you start by reading Dr. JJ Pursell’s celebrated book, “The Herbal Apothecary: 100 Medicinal Herbs and How to Use Them.”
Dr. Pursell—a licensed acupuncturist and board-certified naturopathic physician—has worked with medicinal herbs for more than two decades, and she has trained herbalists all over the world. Backed by research and expertise, this comprehensive and visually appealing introduction to plant-based medicine is the perfect place to start learning about natural remedies.
Review | “My favorite part of this book was the layout of the herb profiles; it's something I don't often see, but it's my favorite way to read it in a book. The detail of the reproductive systems of the herbs and their parts is phenomenal, and the photography is simply amazing. The whole book is beautifully put together.” —Giovanna Mealer
2. 500 Time-Tested Home Remedies
Dr. Linda B. White, Barbara H. Seeber, and Barbara Brownell Grogan are all experts when it comes to natural remedies and holistic medicine, which is why we are thrilled to recommend their informative and easy-to-follow book, “500 Time-Tested Home Remedies and the Science Behind Them.”
Whether you’re seeking recipes for insect bites or treatments for heart health remedies, this book is a timeless and straightforward guide to making your own natural medicine. We especially love that many of the recommended ingredients are affordable, safe, and readily available at your local grocery store!
Review | “Everyone should have this book on hand in the house. Especially if you have kids! You'll be surprised how many simple remedies you already have in your kitchen.” —Alex White
3. The Modern Herbal Dispensatory
A colorful, comprehensive, and scientific guide to herbal medicine-making, authors Thomas Easley and Steven Horne teach readers how to make 250 natural remedies in their book, “The Modern Herbal Dispensatory: A Medicine-Making Guide.”
Specifically focused on showing readers how to affordably make their own medicines, you can expect to learn about everything from growing herbs to harvesting and preparing them for medicinal use. Many reviewers also love the inclusion of essential oils and floral waters in the guide.
Review | “…This is definitely an excellent addition to your herbal library! Easy to read and understand, but thorough in its information! I am extremely pleased I purchased it! I plan to share this title with others when I teach courses on herbalism as it provides an excellent foundation and builds to advanced skills.” —Kelly Pagel
4. Plant Magic
“There is nothing I desire to understand more deeply than the plants that make it possible for me to breathe,” writes author Christine Buckley in her book “Plant Magic.” An introduction to herbalism, the book first answers common questions about the field of study (“Who can do herbalism?” “Can I still go to my doctor?”), and then highlights 21 plants, like rosemary, nettle, and lemon balm.
Buckley details how to respectfully interact with these plants in nature, how to dry and store them, and how to use them to make medicines at home. Whether brewed into a tea or crafted into a topical balm, you’ll learn how these plants can be used to strengthen your immune system, calm stomach cramps, or tend to your sexual health.
Review | “Plant Magic is a crash course, a field guide, and a reference primer sure to delight those who are already curious about the healing properties of plants…Buckley lays the groundwork for an at-home herbalism practice, explaining what it is (a system of healing supported by plants and food), what it is not (a new thing invented by white people with blogs), and how it can coexist with Western medicine (drink your red clover tea and get a flu shot).” —Healthyish
Author and ethnobotanist Enrique Salmón belongs to the Rarámuri tribe who believe in iwígara, or that all life-forms are interconnected. In his book of the same name, Salmón highlights 80 plants that are revered by North America’s indigenous people—from beans to black cohosh—and how we can use them as food and medicine.
Using botanical illustrations and photographs, and listed in easy-to-read alphabetical order, Salmón breaks down each plant’s family, season, region, uses, health benefits, and more. He also acknowledges that “American Indian knowledge is often transmitted through story,” so Salmón also includes myths and narratives about each plant for readers to get better acquainted.
Review | “A beautifully illustrated and philosophically uplifting guide to indigenous North American plant use…this lovely compendium will strike a chord with many a nature-loving reader.” —Publishers Weekly
6. A Handbook of Native American Herbs
The oldest and most timeless natural remedy book on our list, we adore Alma R. Hutchens’ pocket-book, “A Handbook of Native American Herbs: The Pocket Guide to 125 Medicinal Plants and Their Uses.” Focusing solely on herbs found in North America, this book explores everything from folk medicine to common kitchen herbs.
While not as modern as some of the other books on our list (it was published in 1992), Hutchens is an expert in her field, and her authoritative guide is a classic when it comes to natural remedy literature. A must-read to learn more about the herbs native to our country.
Review | “This is the ultimate reference to native American herbs. I've used this book for 15+ years and am buying another copy for a friend. Whether for personal or professional use, get this book!”—Kit Wynkoop, Amazon Review
7. Alchemy of Herbs
In her book, “Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients into Foods and Remedies That Heal,” registered herbalist Rosalee De La Forêt has one mission: to teach readers how to transform everyday ingredients into natural remedies. More plainly put, she wants to show you how to heal your body with foods and ingredients you already have in your kitchen cupboard.
Including both recipes and the history of herbs, this book is an essential read to begin your journey of making and using your own natural remedies.
Review | “I love the simplicity of introducing herbs through food and cooking. Food should always be our first medicine…I like that [the recipes] are all very doable: no specialized equipment, no huge orders of exotic herbs and spices and no tricky culinary skills required. The author has done a remarkable job of making herbal support both legitimate to the doubtful and accessible to the open-minded.” —Sue Kusch, Amazon Review
A comprehensive and stunning guide that includes 130 of the most useful healing herbs, we love Jennie Harding’s paperback book, “Herbs: A Color Guide to Herbs and Herbal Healing” for learning about herbs in their various and natural forms.
Harding’s book is useful for readers who are looking to explore herb cultivation, as well as readers who wish to learn about their properties, uses, availability, and safety. The charming illustrations and images are a delightful bonus.
Review | “This sits by my bed. Or it's tucked in my purse or backpack. Hell, this thing even finds its way into my beach bag. Basically, I love this little book…The pictures are very pretty and help in identifying the herbs. It has a great collection of herbs, including common and not-so-common ones.” —Clarissa, Goodreads Review