It's amazing that I can go out and buy several $20+ 'recommended' books, and the 5-8 dollar paperbacks end up being the best. Such is the case with Kathi Keville's Herbs for Health and Healing. While not an herbal that is the end all of every herbal out there, it's extremely informative, enlightening, easily digestible, and chocked full of useful information.
The author genuinely has a love of herbs and a belief in their performance; for a change we have an herbalist who really is one, and not just trying to cash in on the latest craze. This little gem is broken down cleverly, with each section as exciting as the last. The introduction alone is useful, highlighting some of the common reasons to use herbs and natural remedies; she lists facts that are eye openers and refreshing.
Why Use Herbs? further demonstrates her reasoning, listing the troubles of combating side effects, the benefits of herbs, how they work, why they do, and more.
The second, Herbal Preparation, briefly touches upon various way to use herbal remedies and make your own. It's of course clear to see this should be included, and included in this order. She mentions main herbal preparations, with some brief illustrations. There is not outright detail, but it's clear enough to get the basic idea.
The third section, Herbal Medicine, breaks down the larger sections into various body systems, beginning with the Brain and nervous system, ending with The skin. Each system is introduced with the roles it plays, things that can go wrong, and why they do. From here on she lists major complaints, symptoms and causes, backs up the herbs recommended with various studies, then backs up further with personal experience, and THEN usually has a basic formula to recommend. Excellent quick resource for a variety of maladies, clearly and confidently written.
For part 3 we have Living with Herbal Wisdom. Here she devotes an entire chapter to Men's Health, then Women's, then Childrens. Everything from hormones and infertility, to colic, to male baldness is touched upon. The section for children is an especially welcome entry; teeting, earaches, sugar blues, you name it.
And....this isn't all. Chapter 14 lists Herbal first aid, helping you establish a 'first aid kit' , why the herbs are recommended, how to use them, etc. Here she goes into detail on poison oak, ivy, bug bites, stings, mosquito repellants, and sunburns.
Chapter 15, aptly titled Cautions and Considerations, warns about using things safely. Topics include essential oils, identification, contamination, endangered herbs, and rare reactions. 16 dives briefly into the huge pool of aromatherapy, something that is obviously a first love for Kathi. In fact, she has other books on this subject alone. Techniques and measurements are all laid out. The list keeps growing - chapter 17 brushes upon Skin Care - including hair of course. Homemade beauty recipes, as well as combating skin issues and problems - are mentioned. Great extra! Finally, chapter 18 is about cooking for health - delicious recipes are given for soups, oils, vinegar, spices, pestos, veggies, hot sauces, homemade coffees, ending with candies such as ginger and horehound drops.
I repeat, sometimes the more expensive, bigger, prettier book is skimpier. From skin and cosmetics to cooking to first aid to body conditions, it's all here. It's not the most advanced herbal out there but it's not too basic for those with experience. Beginners will easily understand, while those who know their stuff will keep learning as the page turns. At this price, it's a bargain, a steal, almost a sin if not purchased.