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Book review: Native Healers – Foundations in Western Herbal Medicine

By Anita Ralph and Mary Tassell.

Published by Aeon Books, 2020



Native Healers is written as an accompanying textbook for the Heartwood Herbal Medicine Foundation course. On a broader scale, the book offers an approachable introduction to anyone interested in herbal medicine, going beyond the ‘this herb is good for that ailment’; it teaches readers about the history of herbal medicine, key plant components, the human body, food and nutrition, and common conditions with both the orthodox view on treating these and the herbalists’ view. Throughout the book there is a focus on 15 common, safe plants that can be used by the lay herbalist to treat a variety of ailments for the whole family. This book goes into a lot of detail, but in an easy to understand way. Dotted throughout the book are recipes and case studies which help to illustrate the points made and encourage you to experiment and try the herbs for yourself. The authors encourage you to taste the herbs, concentrating on all of your senses as you do this, as a means to tune into and get to know the herbs. It is therefore a well-rounded book, combining detailed scientific knowledge with traditional herbal wisdom. There is so much information in the book that you will want to return to it again and again.


You can listen to Anita and Mary talking about their book and herbal medicine for families on YouTube channel here:

or in the podcast I recorded with them here:

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