Making Plant Medicine by Richard Cech

(No Series)
  Nonfiction / Herbal

Making Plant Medicine is about making herbal medicine. This is a modern medicine making book and formulary with its roots in original herbalism designed for every medicinal herb gardener to cultivate the full potential of the plant-human relationship. Richo Cech tells very good stories based on his experience as a global wanderer, herbalist and medicine maker. In the context of his lifelong love of gardening, he has procduced this long-awaited book that is original, amusing and absolutely useful.

Cech writes a book I've been waiting for - something truly in depth that talks about tinctures in more than just a paragraph or so. While saying it's perfectly fine to make tinctures in the 'simplers manner' - and he explains how to do this - his reasons for making consistent batches with measurements for continued accuracy and control makes perfect sense. He brings up the merits many herbalists do regarding the benefits of alcohol as a medium - besides preserving the herbal properties better than other products in nature, besides working better to extract from most herbs over glycerine and ACV, and besides bringing up how alcohol is such a wonderful carrier of herbs or other substances through the bloodstream into the body, he brings up the important points on how little of alcohol is consumed when taking the standard tincture dose, and eases some common misconceptions. Several chapters are devoted to tinctures alone, through various ways of extracting, detailed information on straining, pressing, and sifting. Things I've never read anywhere else were in here, quite a treat considering all the herbals I've read out there.

But of course that's not all. Full chapters are devoted to glycerites and which herbs are best suited for them, Vinegar extracts, Teas and Decoctions, Herbal Syrups and Succi, Oils, Salves, Creams, Poultices, Soaks, and Compresses. The best herbs for each are given, with examples, and it's hard to walk away without being more confident than if you read other standard herbals briefly brushing over this important aspect of herbalism.

A true gem of Making Plant Medicine is the Herbal Formulary, which showcases over 500 herbs with each having it's exact best method of preparation discussed, as well as ratio. Before reading this, for example, I hadn't known Astraglus was best extracted in water with just a bit of alcohol to preserve as an unusual type of tincture/tea, rather than just a tincture alone. Tidbits about my favorite herbs makes this book priceless. It's backed with contradictions and use of each herb, and even packs more punch by delivering personal testimonials, dosages, and - of course - a full chapter devoted exclusively to the mathematics of tincturing. Marvelous!

Written in a straight forward, down to earth, and enthusiastic manner, it's hard not to get excited about herbs all over again when you read the stories of Richo and his family, their adventures with the herbs, and how complex our plants and bodies really are. A book that does not merely skim the surface in any stretch of the imagination.