Dian Dincin Buchman's Herbal Medicine

(No Series)
  Nonfiction / Herbal

Classic bestselling book on herbs, now completely revised and updated to include all the latest information and discoveries in the world of herbs. Learn how to use herbs to relieve headaches, flu, alleviate muscle pain, stop allergies and change the way you look and feel. And see why this book has sold over 220,000 copies.

There’s something enjoyable about this book. I don’t mean just in content, or diagrams, or even in purpose – but in its readability. It’s fun to just sit down and real, all simple and cut down to the basics. Buchman makes sure to inject some folklore and her personal experiences, but beyond that it’s the classic guide for beginners.

She does heed caution with many remedies and suggests frequent doctor visits, double checking everything, and using herbs primarily for slight conditions, yet she seems like a determined and experienced herbalist. Much of her knowledge was obviously derived from her grandmother, a woman it's clear she was close to and learned much from. Even I felt special seeing some of the older woman's recipes after the love and admiration Buchman showed her.

The book is broken into four sections:

Section One: My Favorite Herbs:

Here she lists her favorite herbs, including Comfrey Root. This controversial herb is also a favorite of mine and many other herbalists; I'm delighted to see she shares my enthusiasm. She does warn about the use of comfrey internally because of studies, but then has remedies where they're used that way. Many of the herbs listed are easy to obtain and common, such as Cayenne, Cinnamon, and Cloves. She includes foods as a great way of healing, listing Honey as an aide. Lemon is a marvelous food, and she celebrates it within these pages with glee. It's easy to read the list, and all the herbs truly are good. I greatly enjoyed her experience with them.

On the negative side of things, she does this from a very basic point of view. It's extremely rare to find even one phytochemical listed on these herbs, she doesn't cite any studies, and not much detail. She doesn't list the actions of the herbs in a clear list like many herbals do; in short, it's extremely basic and is recommended more for a bare beginner. However, that's just for learning...for reading even a more advanced herbalist will delight in absorbing her words.

Second Section - A herbal Selector

Here she lists the obligatory diseases and disorders with their herbal therapies. It's not long and detailed but it gets to the point and is informative. She relates personal experience both she and her family had with these herbs, again refraining from phytochemicals, why most of the things work, etc. This section has many remedies and formulae blended in with the text, making it an ever bigger treat. Very, very little is discussed on conditions themselves, such as causes, symptoms, etc.

Section Three - How to make herbal medicine

A genuine treat! Very few herbals concentrate enough on explaining creating your own concoctions in detail. While not every single thing is brought up, and her section on things such as tinctures are surprisingly brief, she does offer much time and paper space showing how to create your own products. She keeps it simple and makes everything appear quite easy - which of course it is. The instructions are almost always accompanied by sample recipes, which helps a lot. This is the shining star of the book.

The final section is a reference on where to find more resources and information.

Overall, a book aimed toward the basic beginner, but one enjoyable for all. If you know much about herbs and their usage, you probably won't be enlightened too heavily by this, yet you will learn about personal experience she's had, discover a new thing or two, and share in a delightful, enthusiastic read. It's a great book to have lining the shelf, with some genuinely nifty formulas such as the original Vinegar of the four thieves, some neat candy, mouthwashes, and more. Also, you can't beat an herbalist that uses comfrey and honey so genuinely. But if you’re very new and need convincing (such as facts, reasons, etc), this isn’t the place to start.