I’m often asked about which books I use and recommend for all levels of herbalism so I’ve compiled a list on some of the best books you can pick up ranging from beginner herbalism to setting up your own successful clinical herbal practice.
Some of these tomes dig DEEP into the science of herbs, custom formulations, and how various body systems work, but don’t let that prevent you from picking them up! There are so many books in this list that I go back to time and time again simply based on writing style, whether or not I need in-depth information or the basics, or just because what’s in the book is so fascinating to learn.
The bottom line comes down to this – your herbal journey doesn’t just take a semester, an herbal course, or a few books, it’s a life long journey and a fun way to fill your bookshelves!
So, whether you’re just looking for the basic fundamentals of herbalism or want to delve into the complex interworking of herbs, I’ve got a book for you to peruse.
120+ Books for Your Herbal Library
I have broken up the list of herbal books below into three categories – beginner, intermediate, and advanced. This does NOT mean that if you are a beginner you should not pick up an advanced book or if you are advanced that you shouldn’t pick up a beginner’s book.
Even the best herbalists out there refer to and brush up on the basics when needed! So don’t feel like you’re restricted from buying intermediate or even advanced books. Most often, the advanced resources can be hard to find so when you DO come across them for a decent price, it’s worth picking them up.
I hope you enjoy the book list!
Herbal Books for Beginners
These books focus on the basic fundamentals of common herbs, their properties, identification methods, preparation, and how to use them for various common ailments and health conditions.
1. A Modern Herbal Vol. 1 by Maud Grieve– A classic among herbal books, this volume contains herbal folklore of the British Isles that is a blend of early herbal sources and modern science from 1931. Contains herbal profiles from A-H.
2. A Modern Herbal Vol. 2 by Maud Grieve – A classic among herbal books, this volume contains herbal folklore of the British Isles that is a blend of early herbal sources and modern science from 1931. Contains herbal profiles from I-Z.
3. Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients into Foods and Remedies That Heal By Rosalee de la Foret – Chock full of remedies and recipes featuring 29 common herbs for the perfect kitchen apothecary.
4. Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies by Julie Bruton Seal and Matthew Seal – Covers 50 common herbs and their uses including herbal remedy recipes.
5. Body Into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care by Maria Noel Groves – Discusses how the common ailments we experience are caused by a deeper imbalance within the body and how to support your own wellness through the use of herbal remedies.
6. Botany in a Day by Thomas J. Elpel – One of the best resources for learning plant identification and patterns (including clues regarding medicinal and/or edible usage) through over 100 plant families.
7. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants By Robin Wall Kimmerer – A truly mesmerizing book on how science can be enriched with ancient knowledge. A must read!
8. Breast Cancer? Breast Health! The Wise Woman Way by Susun Weed – Offers wise woman wisdom on how to support breast health after a cancer diagnosis.
9. Common Herbs for Natural Health by Juliette de Bairacli Levy – A wonderfully insightful book based on the revival of herbal medicine in the United States through the knowledge and herbal remedies of Juliette de Bairacli Levy.
10. Complete Earth Medicine Handbook by Susanne Fischer-Rizzi – A beautifully illustrated guide on 33 common healing herbs including medicinal properties, history, and recipes.
11. Down There: Sexual and Reproductive Health by Susun Weed – A walkthrough of the female and male reproductive organs and body parts that describes their healthy states and common imbalances.
12. Earthly Bodies & Heavenly Hair: Natural and Healthy Bodycare for Every Body by Dina Falconi – Includes heavenly recipes from shampoo to creams.
13. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: 550 Herbs and Remedies for Common Ailments by Andrew Chevallier – A wonderful resource of herbal remedies covering over 200 ailments.
14. Flower Power by Anne McIntyre – A guide on using flowers for healing the body including sunburn, migraines, nausea, cramps, and high blood pressure.
15. Food as Medicine: The Theory and Practice of Food by Todd Caldecott Offers practical nutritional guidance based on the theories of Ayurvedic medicine.
16. Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi – A field guide and wild food cookbook featuring beautiful illustrations.
17. Healing Wise by Susun Weed – Teaches the foundations of the wise woman tradition by contrasting it with the heroic and scientific views of healing.
18. Healing with the Herbs of Life by Lesley Tierra – A very detailed book on Traditional Chinese Medicine that covers TCM fundamentals, the TCM view of healing and diseases, and a detailed materia medica.
19. Herbal Healing for Children by Demetria Clark – A must have for any parent interesting in supporting their child’s health with herbal medicine.
20. Herbal Healing for Women by Rosemary Gladstar – A comprehensive guide for making simple herbal remedies for women of all ages.
21. Herbal Renaissance by Steven Foster – Offers profiles on numerous herbs including information on botany, cultivation, harvesting, and historical and modern uses.
22. Herbal Vade Mecum: 800 Herbs, Spices, Essential Oils, Lipids, Etc.-Constituents, Properties, Uses, and Caution by Gazmend Skenderi – Offers basic information on hundreds of herbs. A great resource when you need to look up something quickly.
23. Herbs for Children’s Health by Rosemary Gladstar – A must-have guide on making herbal salves, syrups, tablets, and more that support your child’s health.
24. Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies by David Hoffmann – An essential reference for those interested in growing, harvesting, preparing, and using herbs for supporting health and wellness.
25. Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using, and Enjoying More Than 100 Herbs by Tammi Hartung – Profiles 101 herbs including their natural habitats, propagation, cultivation, harvesting, and culinary and medicinal uses.
26. Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech – A modern medicine making book and formulary.
27. Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use by Rosemary Gladstar – A wonderful beginner’s guide on making classic herbal remedies for everything from digestive distress to poison ivy.
28. Medicinal Mushrooms: An Exploration of Tradition, Healing, & Culture (Herbs and Health Series) by Christopher Hobbs – A thorough documentation on both Western and Eastern traditions of healing fungi.
29. Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West – An unsurpassed collection of authoritative information on more than 100 species of medicinal herbs in the Western uplands.
30. Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West by Michael Moore – Thoroughly covers herbs found in New Mexico, Arizona, west Texas, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and California.
31. Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West by Michael Moore – A guide on over 300 species of plants found in the Pacific West ranging from Baja California to Alaska including identification, safe use, collecting methods, therapeutic uses, and medicinal preparations.
32. Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets – A groundbreaking text on the mycological rescue of the planet.
33. Native Plants, Native Healing: Traditional Muskogee Way by Tis Mal Crow – Teaches identification, preparation, and uses of common plants found in Eastern North America.
34. Natural Health after Birth: The Complete Guide to Postpartum Wellness by Aviva Romm – An essential addition to every mother’s herbal library that provides advice for adjusting to the many challenges women face after childbirth.
35. Naturally Healthy Babies and Children by Aviva Jill Romm – Easy to follow herbal and dietary recommendations for common ailments and symptoms in children.
36. Nature’s Garden by Samuel Thayer – Features 512 full-color photos demonstrating the edible parts of various medicinal plants.
37. New Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way by Susun Weed – One of the best herbal books on menopause that offers herbal remedies for osteoporosis, hot flashes, fatigue, low libido, and more!
38. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb – A guide on how to quickly and accurately identify almost any wildflower and flowering shrubs and vines in Northeastern and North-central America.
39. Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs by Gail Faith Edwards – This book weaves herbal lore, personal experience, and the wise woman tradition around 113 herbs.
40. Peterson’s Field Guide: Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs by Steven Foster and James A. Duke – One of the best selling field guides of all time which identifies key traits, habitats, uses, and warnings for over 530 of the most significant medicinal plants in the Eastern Unites States and Canada.
41. Planting the Future: Saving Our Medicinal Herbs edited by Rosemary Gladstar and Pamela Hirsch – A celebration of at-risk medicinal plants that teaches how to protect these endangered species.
42. Practical Herbs 1 by Henriette Kress – A practical guide featuring comprehensive instructions for making herbal remedies like tinctures, salves, syrups, and teas.
43. Practical Herbs 2 by Henriette Kress – A practical guide featuring comprehensive instructions for making herbal remedies like tinctures, salves, syrups, and teas.
44. Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Remedies for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar – Features 175 herbal remedies for common ailments.
45. Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use by Rosemary Gladstar – One of the essential beginner’s guides on how to use simple common herbs for health and healing.
46. Southwest Foraging: 117 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Barrel Cactus to Wild Oregano (Regional Foraging Series) – One of the most comprehensive guides on foraging and using herbs in the Southwest.
47. The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicine by Matthew Wood – Covers over 40 medicinal plants using North American indigenous herbalism, TCM, Western herbalism, and homeopathy.
48. The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine by Brigitte Mars – Essential for the beginner herbalist. Covers over 180 different medicinal herbs and their uses.
49. The Forager’s Harvest by Samuel Thayer – A thorough guide on 32 of the most common edible plants with detailed information on how to identify them, where they are found, which parts are used, and how to prepare them.
50. The Gift of Healing Herbs by Robin Rose Bennett – An insightful read featuring the author’s own perspective and experience with using herbs for wellness.
51. The Healing Power of Minerals, Special Nutrients and Trace Elements by Paul Bergner – Describes in detail how minerals and trace elements play an integral role in our health and wellbeing and how to replenish them in your diet.
52. The Herbal Apothecary: 100 Medicinal Herbs and How to Use Them by JJ Pursell – A comprehensive guide on 100 herbs, their properties, and their uses.
53. The Herbal Handbook: A User’s Guide to Medical Herbalism by David Hoffmann – Covers the history and practice of various herbal traditions and how to use herbs for numerous ailments.
54. The Herbal Kitchen by Kami McBride – Features 250 recipes for herbal oils, vinegars, pestos, dressings, salts, cordials, syrups, smoothies, and more featuring herbs.
55. The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual by James Green – An amusing yet authoritative guide to making many different herbal preparations complete with detailed instructions.
56. The Medicinal Herb Grower by Richo Cech – Covers the principles and practices of natural gardening techniques for growing organic medicinal herbs.
57. The Natural Pregnancy Book by Aviva Jill Romm – A comprehensive guide on natural pregnancy, symptoms and ailments, and dietary suggestions that promote wellness and comfort during this special journey.
58. The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer by Jeff Carpenter and Melanie Carpenter – Offers a new approach to growing local medicine.
59. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival by Katrina Blair – Focuses on 13 weeds found all over the world each of which represents a complete food source, medical pharmacy, and first-aid kit.
60. The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine by David Frawley and Vasant Lad – A guide on using herbs using the Ayurvedic tradition.
61. Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susun Weed – Simple and safe remedies for mothers during and after pregnancy.
Intermediate Herbal Books
These books dig a bit deeper into the theory of herbs and their actions within Western, Ayurvedic, and Traditional Chinese medicine. They go into the different body systems, specific conditions, preparation and dosage, and delve into the scientific principles of therapeutic herbalism.
62. Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief by David Winston and Steven Maimes – An excellent book on 21 adaptogenic herbs and 19 nervine and nootropic herbs including their actions, uses, preparation, and dosage.
63. An Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants by Mary Bove – A user-friendly book for common childhood ailments that has all the information parents need for safeguarding and improving their child’s health.
64. Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health by Aviva Romm – Provides evidence-based information on botanical interventions for many different medical conditions, fertility, childbearing, and menopausal health.
65. Culpeper’s Complete Herbal by Nicholas Culpeper – The original illustrated edition of Nicholas Culpepper’s Complete Herbal. A classic for over 350 years!
66. Herbal Antibiotics by Stephen Harrod Buhner – Describes in-depth 30 medicinal herbs and their action against antibiotic-resistant infections.
67. Herbal Antivirals by Stephen Harrod Buhner – Teaches how to use antiviral herbs to help treat and prevent infections such as SARS, influenza, and encephalitis by strengthening the immune system.
68. Herbal Defense: Positioning Yourself to Triumph Over Illness and Aging by Landis and Khalsa – An in-depth guide on herbal remedies for everyday ailments.
69. Herbal Medicine from the Heart of the Earth by Sharol Tilgner – Medical uses for 192 herbs including harvesting, preparation, dosage, actions, and contraindications.
70. Kings American Dispensatory by Harvey Felter and John Lloyd – An extensive materia medica originally published in 1854 at the Eclectic Medical Institute. (Vol. 2)
71. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine by David Hoffmann – A foundational textbook on the scientific principles of therapeutic herbalism.
72. Native American Ethnobotany by Daniel E. Moerman – An extensive compilation (4,000 plants and 44,000 uses!) of plants used by the North American native people for medicine, food, dye, and more!
73. Nutritional Herbology by Mark Pedersen – A one-of-a-kind resource on the nutritional value of herbs and their actions.
74. Planetary Herbology by Michael Tierra – Offers a practical guide on over 400 herbs and their uses.
75. Sacred Plant Medicine: The Wisdom in Native American Herbalism by Stephen Harrod Buhner – A spiritual book that reveals how shamans and healers “talk” with plants to discover their medicinal properties and uses.
76. Southern Folk Medicine: Healing Traditions from the Appalachian Fields and Forests by Phyllis D. Light and Rosemary Gladstar – The first of its kind to describe the history, folklore, assessment methods, and herbal remedies of the Southern and Appalachian regions.
77. The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy by Finley Ellingwood and John Uri Lloyd – Offers thorough descriptions of the medicines used in the late 1800s and much of the early 1900s including use, indications, side effects, dosing, and even combinations.
78. The Ayurveda Bible by Anne McIntyre – Explores the science of ayurvedic medicine, ayurvedic herbs, their uses, preparations, formulas, and application.
79. The Complete Woman’s Herbal by Anne McIntyre: A Manual of Healing Herbs and Nutrition for Personal Well-Being and Family Care – A thorough reference book of safe, simple, and effective herbal remedies for women from puberty through the elder years.
80. The Earthwise Herbal: Complete Guide to New World Plants and The Earthwise Herbal: Complete Guide to Old World Plants by Matthew Wood – An extensive study on old world herbs, their uses, preparation, and application both historically and in modern times.
81. The Earthwise Herbal, Volume II: A Complete Guide to New World Medicinal Plants – A complete guide on new world herbs (North American) and their uses.
82. The Eclectic Practice of Medicine by Finley Ellingwood – Offers comprehensive information regarding the treatment of disease using the Eclectic tradition.
83. The Energetics of Western Herbs: A Materia Medica Integrating Western and Chinese Herbal Therapeutics, vol. 1 (4th Rev. Ed.) by Peter Holmes – Profiles over 220 herbs with an emphasis on herbal energetics through both Chinese and Greek medicine.
84. The Energetics of Western Herbs: Vol. 2 (4th Rev. Ed) by Peter Holmes – Profiles over 220 herbs with an emphasis on herbal energetics through both Chinese and Greek medicine.
85. The Herbalist’s Way: The Art and Practice of Healing with Plant Medicines by Nancy & Michael Phillips – An exploration on how to become an herbalist and why.
86. The Male Herbal by James Green – A thorough compilation of herbal remedies for boys and men that support male health through a customized herbal program.
87. The Modern Herbal Dispensatory: A Medicine-Making Guide by Thomas Easley and Steven Horne – Covers 250 herbal remedies and how to make them at home including practical tips for use.
88. The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook: Everything You Need to Know About Chinese, Western and Ayurvedic Herbal Treatments by Alan Tillotson – An exploration of the framework within Western, Chinese, and Ayurvedic herbalism detailing body systems, herbs, and their uses for various health conditions.
89. The Plant Healer’s Path: A Grassroots Guide For the Folk Herbal Tribe by Jesse Hardin – A collaboration featuring works from renowned herbalists that explores folk herbalism.
90. The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism by Matthew Wood – A revival of Western medicine and its practices for modern use.
91. The Practicing Herbalist by Margi Flint – Provides thorough guidance on how to listen to and observe a client including information on herbs and dietary recommendations.
92. The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs: A Contemporary Introduction and Useful Manual for the World’s Oldest Healing System by Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, Michael Tierra – Offers extensive guidance and information on Ayurvedic herbs and how to use them for supporting wellness.
93. The Way of Chinese Herbs by Michael Tierra – A practical herbal resource that details the use of Chinese herbs including recipes.
94. The Way of Herbs by Michael Tierra – Offers comprehensive descriptions of herbal remedies for various health conditions and how to gain and maintain health through the use of 140 Western herbs and 31 Chinese herbs.
95. The Wild Medicine Solution by Guido Masé – Explains how bitters, aromatics, and tonics can be used in daily life to support vibrant health.
96. Traditions in Western Herbalism Essays And Class Notes: Essential Information & Skills by Jesse Hardin – A compilation of works from renowned herbalists that focuses on herbal practice, clinical skills and therapeutics, herbs and actions, food, wildcrafting, and self-care and sense of place.
97. Winston & Kuhn’s Herbal Therapy and Supplements by Merrily Kuhn & David Winston – Combines modern science with traditional herbalism in a comprehensive guide to present 115 herbs, their use, application, and safety.
Advanced Herbal Books
These advanced books offer a ton of evidence-based information on formulations, the practical use of herbs in a clinical setting, nutritional programs, how to treat patients, and in-depth studies on the effects, contraindications, and drug interactions of herbs. There’s a lot of fun books on this list!
98. A Clinical Guide to Blending Liquid Herbs by Kerry Bone – An advanced guide on the art and science of making herbal extracts and how best to formulate blends for the herbal practitioner or those seeking to sell their own blends.
99. A Clinical Materia Medica: 120 Herbs in Western Use (Combining Western Herbs and Chinese Medicine) by Jeremy Ross Covers 120 herbs in a massive encyclopedic text on TCM and western scientific tradition.
100. Adaptogens in Medical Herbalism by Donnie Yance – A scientifically based herbal and nutritional program to master stress, improve energy, prevent degenerative disease, and age gracefully.
101. AHPA Botanical Safety Handbook by Zoe Gardner and Michael McGuffin -Accurate and evidence-based information on botanical safety through traditional knowledge and contemporary research.
102. Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, 4e by Shirley Price – Covers the full spectrum of theory and practice concerning essential oils in clinical aromatherapy.
103. Clinical Botanical Medicine by Eric Yarnell, Kathy Abascal, and Carol Hooper – A wealth of detailed information using botanicals to treat various health conditions and diseases.
104. Clinical Naturopathic Medicine by Leah Hechtman – A clinical text integrating the holistic and traditional principles of naturopathic philosophy with evidence-based modern medicine that offers accessible instructions on how to apply naturopathic medicines to treat individual patients.
Combining Western herbs and Chinese medicine: Principles, Practice, and Materia Medica by Jeremy Ross – An invaluable text that discusses 50 western herbs, 380 herb pairs, 150 combinations, and 15,000 references on the principles of herb combining, practical herb use, and safety.
105. Fundamentals of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy, 2e by Michael Heinrich – covers the history, biology, and chemistry of plant-based medicines, pharmaceutical and neutraceuticals derived from plants, and their role of medicinal plants in worldwide healthcare systems.
106. Herb, Nutrient, and Drug Interactions by Mitchell Bebel Stargrove, Jonathan Treasure, Dwight L. McKee – Presents detailed evidence-based information on the most commonly encountered therapeutic agents in modern clinical practice and their interactions with herbs, various nutrients, and drugs.
107. Herbal Constituents: Foundations of Phytochemistry by Lisa Ganora – Explores the chemistry behind how medicinal plants work in the body. A wealth of information!
108. Herbal Contraindications and Drug Interactions plus Herbal Adjuncts with Medicines by Francis Brinker – A comprehensive review of studies and reports on herb side effects, contraindications, and drug interactions both negative and positive.
109. Herbal Formularies for Health Professionals, Volume 1: Digestion and Elimination, including the Gastrointestinal System, Liver and Gallbladder, Urinary System, and the Skin by Dr. Jill Stansbury – Part of a 5 volume set that serves as a comprehensive reference manual for herbalist and physicians alike offering hundreds of formulas to treat common health conditions and user-friendly lists that make choosing the right herbs to use simple. (Vol. 2, Vol. 3)
110. Herbal Medicine, Healing & Cancer: A Comprehensive Program for Prevention and Treatment by Donald Yance – For those seeking healing through alternative medicines, supplements, herbs, nutrition, homeopathy, and acupuncture.
111. Herbs and Natural Supplements: An Evidence-Based Guide, vol. 1 and 2, by Lesley Braun and Marc Cohen – An authoritative evidence-based reference that offers information on safe and effective use of herbs and supplements.
112. Meyler’s Side Effects of Herbal Medicine by J.K. Aronson – Summarizes the adverse effects of an extensive range of herbal medicines and the active ingredients they contain.
113. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy, 2nd ed by Kerry Bones and Simon Mills – Covers all major aspects of herbal medicine including fundamental concepts, traditional use, effective dosage, clinical applications, and safety.
114. Textbook of Natural Medicine by Joseph Pizzorno and Michael T. Murray – Covers preventative, non-invasive, and natural treatments using 80 different herbs and natural agents.
115. The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm: A Cultivator’s Guide to Small-Scale Organic Herb Production by Peg Schafer – Offers invaluable information for growers who are interested in cultivating high-quality effective herbs.
116. The Consultation in Phytotherapy by Peter Conway – Written for both herbal medicine students and practitioners that takes a practical approach to the methods of consultation in herbal practice.
117. The Earthwise Herbal Repertory: The Definitive Practitioner’s Guide by Matthew Wood and David Ryan – A cross-reference of constitutional types, energetic categories, and specific symptoms that helps the practicing herbalist narrow down the number of possible remedies for a specific condition.
118. The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety by Simon Mills and Kerry Bone – A balanced and objective perspective on the principles of herbal medicine safety including the complex challenges related to self-prescribed or professionally prescribed supplements.
119. The Practicing Herbalist: Meeting With Clients, Reading the Body by Margi Flint – Offers in-depth information on how to run an herbal practice through organization, operations, method of assessment, marketing, and record keeping.
120. Western Herbs According to Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Practitioner’s Guide by Thomas Avery Garran – the first book of its kind that exclusively uses Chinese medical theories and terminology using Western herbs.
121. Women, Hormones, & the Menstrual Cycle by Ruth Trickey – Dwelves into the common and complex conditions faced by women aged from puberty through the elder years and how to treat them using herbal medicine.
I would LOVE to hear about which herbal books are your favorite so please share them in the comments below!
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