BOOKS … we love books ! For anyone who knows us and have come into our home they will know that we have stacks of them, the main feature of all the homes we have been in are the bookshelves (and the houseplants).
Books are an amazing way to learn, go within, go out into the world and expand yourself in whichever way you want without necessarily even needing to move – unless its for a tea / coffee refill.
To keep things light we have decided to write a fully comprehensive list of books which we love and have opened our minds and hearts to the vast world of natural healing. We know you can’t order them now, but maybe that's for the better so that you can take some time to see which resonates the most with you. That or to all the kindle fans – download away!
(Side note this order isn’t in what we rate as a favourite to least favourite – they are literally all so different that you cant even compare what they have to offer.)
'Food of the Gods' by Terence Mckenna
Where to start? This book is not only one of the more controversial on this list but it is also quite intense and mind altering. For those who do not know Terence Mckenna was an ethnobotanist, mystic, psychonaut, lecturer, author, and an advocate. In this book he explores his theory about human evolution and how our mind consciousness expanded over a rapid period of time. Not to give any spoilers (as we really want you to find out for yourselves), but this book explores a deeper relationship to the world of mycology and how it has aided our growth through the ages.
'Cunningham’s Encyclopaedia of Magical herbs' by Scott Cunningham
This book has a very special place in my heart – I found an old copy in the famous Bikini Beach Books in Gordons Bay with little notes and herbs folded in tissue amongst the pages. Since then the binding came loose and it is being held together by a rather large amount of tape. In summary it has had a life of much love and use. This book has been classified as a classic in its field, sharing the medicinal benefits of the plants with illustrations, along with their magical uses, genders, planetary rulers and much more. This book may not be for every herbalist, but what I think is beautiful about it is the ritual element it brings into the world of healing – reminding us that healing doesn’t always only take place on one level.
'Field guide to Mushrooms and other Fungi of South Africa' by Gary B Goldman and Marieka Gryzenhout
A lot of people ask us why we aren’t scared going into the forest and picking mushrooms – how do we know which ones are safe or not? The simple answer comes in the form of these kinds of books - and this one is especially amazing to us as it focuses on South Africa. Field guides are one of the most simple ways to educate yourself on the different types of mushrooms and their edibility – it even has a brief mention of their status as medicinal or not. With an extensive amount of mushrooms covered, including in-depth descriptions, subsections and a full break down for identification it is very rare to find either Cullen or I without this book when we go into the forest.
'The Herbal Drugstore: The Best Natural Alternatives to Over-The-Counter and Prescription Medicines!' By Linda B. White
We were gifted this book by an unexpected person in the village we live in, and it was so good we had to find another copy to gift to my mom. This book is fully comprehensive in so many ways: it explores all the studies, facts and opinions on the use of herbal medicines to create complete profiles for more than 280 pharmaceutical drugs with their herbal alternative. It also includes dosage instructions, information about drug- herb and herb-herb interactions, charts and lists, in depth profiles, detailed instructions on preparing medicines and a resource directory. Whether you are an experienced herbalist or a complete newbie, this book definitely gives you enough impartial information to feel that you are in control of your own health.
'An Empire of Plants: People and Plants that Changed the World' by Toby Musgrave and Will Musgrave
The relationship that humans have with plants is multifaceted - we have used and still do use them for food, trade, medicines, spices, clothing and more throughout time. Our history is therefore intertwined in many ways: this book explores that exact relationship looking at the stories of seven plants - tobacco, sugar, cotton, tea, poppies, quinine, and rubber – and how the desire for these plants as resources led to the age of empire, turning the world around in the process. It provides a beautiful description and representation of this evolutionary relationship we have, and how we have plants to thank for much of which the industrial word has today.
'Medicinal Plants of South Africa' by Ben-Erik Van Wyk, Bosch Van Oudtshoorn, Nigel Gericke
This book comes with two other’s by the same author (Van Wyk), which in our opinion form that basis of the best books to provide an entire overview of medicinal plants, it includes this one, ‘Medicinal plants of the world” and “People’s Plants”. 'Medicinal plants of South Africa' is a photographic guide to the most commonly used and known medicinal plants of Southern Africa as well as their botany, main traditional uses and active ingredients. It marries the broader traditional use with the scientific evidence, allowing for the reader to be able to identify, understand the history and grasp an understanding of the chemical constituents which allow it the be effective.
'The Fragrant Pharmacy' by Valerie Ann Worwood
I remember this book as a consistent reference throughout my life, having it to thank as my young self's healing when it came to some nasty cases of athletes foot, burns, stings and all the other things that come along with being a kid on a plot. Focusing on essential oils extracted from plants, roots, flowers and beyond it shows how one can benefit from this system of medicine in order to alleviate symptoms, prevent disease and aid the healing process. My favourite part of this book is how it provides instructions and recipes for application from household use, to pet remedies, haircare, healing specific ailments and other.
When it comes to expanding knowledge there really is something for everyone - if books aren't your thing then that's ok, try these on audio-book.
Keep an eye out for our next blog on one of our favourite figures in herbalist history.
Also please comment your favourite books in these theme, we would love to hear your suggestions
Sending blessings of radiant health
Sources (Pictures) :
Cunningham’s Encyclopaedia of Magical herbs https://mackenziesdragonsnest.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/encyclopedia-of-magical-herbs-cunningham-scott-9780875421223.jpg?w=529
Field guide to mushrooms and other fungi of SA: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.co.za/book/field-guide-mushrooms-other-fungi-south-africa/9781775846543
An Empire of Plants: People and Plants that Changed the World : http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61wIwktEuDL._SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_.jpg
Medicinal Plants of South Africa: http://www.loot.co.za/product/ben-erik-van-wyk-medicinal-plants-of-southern-africa/jyhj-713-g690
Fragrant Pharmacy: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/827820.The_Fragrant_Pharmacy