Recommended Reading ~

Maria’s Favorite Herbals

Also check out Henriette Kress' recommended reading.

Which author or book do I recommend most? Well, that depends on what your needs are, if you want more on a specific topic (gardening, women’s health…) and your taste (readable, quick reference, scientific, folk…)...

But, if I were to recommend just five or six herbals 
for the average person (newbie herbalist)'s bookshelf, they’d be...

  1. Of course, my book, Body into Balance - it's an excellent introduction to herbs and thinking about the body systems and common health concerns holistically. It's now used in several herb schools across the country as a core textbook, yet it's easy and fun to read. It covers the course material in my introductory herbal courses very closely.
  2. Rosalee de la Foret's Alchemy of Herbs 
    and/or Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide
    (both similar books with great recipes and profiles on popular herbs, Rosalee's goes a little more in depth and includes some science)
  3. Andrew Chevallier’s Herbal Medicine (new edition now available! encyclopedia-like)
  4. Sharol Tiglner’s Herbal Medicine (some parts of old edition available online)
  5. Julie Bruton-Seal & Matthew Seal's Backyard Medicine(excellent book for common wild plants)

But why stop there??

Additional Great Beginner-Intermediate Level Herb Books

  1. Katja Swift & Ryn Midura's Herbal Medicine for Beginners
  2. Rosemary Gladstar, Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal
  OR Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health (2008 softcover version)
  3. Henriette Kress’ Practical Herbs Vol 1 & 2
  4. Steven Horne & Thomas Easley's The Modern Herbal Dispensatory
  5. Allan Tillotson, The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook
  6. James Duke, The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook
  7. Christopher Hobbs, Medicinal Mushrooms
 (and many other great books)
  8. David Hoffmann, The Herbal Handbook
  9. D. Hoffmann, The Holistic Herbal
  10. Rob McCaleb, The Encyclopedia of Popular Herbs
  11. Michael Moore, Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West and others
  12. M. Moore, Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West
  13. Lesley Tierra, Healing with the Herbs of Life
  14. Michael Tierra, Planetary Herbology or The Way of Herbs
  15. Matthew Wood, The Book of Herbal Wisdom
  16. David Winston, Adaptogens (topic specific - stress, vitality)

Localvore Herbalism:

Using Wild - and Sometimes Cultivated - Herbs in the Northeast

(Not all herbs covered in these books are “local” to NH,  but many are.)

  1. Julie Bruton-Seal & Matthew Seal, Backyard Medicine
  2. Michael Moore, Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West and other books
  3. Arthur Haines, Ancestral Plants Volumes 1 & 2
  4. JJ Pursell, The Herbal Apothecary
  5. Beverly Gray, Boreal Herbal Wild Food and Medicine Plants
  6. Matthew Wood, The Book of Herbal Wisdom
  7. M. Wood, The Earthwise Herbal (especially the New World Plants volume)
  8. Maud Grieve, A Modern Herbal Vol. I & II
  9. Guido Mase, Wild Medicine Solution

Other Bioregions:

  1. Southwest/West: several books by Michael Moore
  2. Timber Press’ Medicinal Plants guides by region (Pacific Northwest, Midwest, Mountain States)
  3. Phyllis Light, Southern Folk Medicine (Southeast)
  4. Patricia Kyritsi Howell, Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians (Southeast) 

*  Also check out Chestnut School of Herbalism's regional foraging/field guide recommendations here

Science-Based Herbals & Reference Books

  1. David Hoffmann, Medical Herbalism
  2. Simon Mills & Kerry Bone, Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy 

(also available online)
  3. Rob McCaleb, The Encyclopedia of Popular Herbs
  4. Mark Blumenthal, The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs
  5. Mark Blumenthal,  Expanded German Commission E Handbook
  6. American Herbal Products Association Botanical Safety Handbook
 (safety data only)
  7. David Winston, Herbal Therapy & Supplements
  8. Mosby’s Nursing Drug Reference
 (not herbal, for drug side effects and interactions)
  9. Michael Murray, Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine
  10. Michael Murray, Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements
  11. Murray & Pizzorno, Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine

Older/Historic Herbals

  1. Maud Grieve, A Modern Herbal Vol. I & II
  2. Rudolph Weiss, Weiss’s Herbal Medicine, Classic Edition
  3. Many classic herbal texts are available for free on  and in PDF format as well as on

Medicinal Mushrooms

  1. Greg Marley, Mushrooms for Health (approachable, NE mushrooms)
  2. Robert Rogers, Fungal Pharmacy
 (huge and amazing guide)
  3. Christopher Hobbs, Medicinal Mushrooms
 (new edition coming soon)
  4. Paul Stamets - various books
  5. David Wichland at Wichland Woods in Keene doesn’t have a book, but he grows great mushrooms and teaches classes. His speciality is growing mushrooms in the landscape, and he sells equipment and teaches classes on this.

Field Guides & Botany Books

  1. Also check out 7Song (a guru of herb ID/botany)’s recommended books/botany resources here
  2. And while NO website or app is complete for ID, this is one of the best for New England: and for the entire United States, see
  3. Once you're pretty sure of your plant ID or have it narrowed down to the species, you can check out the USDA Plants Database, Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, and other sites.
  4. If you're really stuck, ask around on FB groups Botany Everyday or Plant Identification (still double-check those results!)

WILDFLOWER Field Guides for the Northeast:

  1. Lawrence Newcomb, Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide - The BEST field guide for our area (organized by flower shape and leaf arrangement NOT by bloom color, great mostly B&W illustrations, includes distinctive flowering trees and shrubs, which most other wildflower guides do not include, Latin names are very out of date)
  2. Marilyn J. Dwelley’s New England-specific guides
 (easy to use, organized by color and then by plant family, which is pretty cool, alas, terrible illustrations), but they appear to be out of print
  3. Peterson’s Wildflowers (organized by color, expansive, but slow to flip through, ok illustrations)
  4. Audubon Wildflower Guide
 (organized by color, good photos)
  5. Clemants & Gracie’s Wildflowers in the Field and Forest (Northeastern US) (organized by color, up to date, great info and Latin names, but oddly hard to use, not great photos, includes distribution maps color coded by bloom season)
  6. Ted Elliman & New England Wildflower Society's Wildflowers of New England (well organized by color, then flower shape and leaf arrangement, photos not always great representations, up to date Latin names)


  1. Sibley Guide to Trees (entire US) tricky b/c the range is so big, but includes distribution maps and great multifaceted illustrations of leaves, tree structure, flowers, fruits... exemplary for this. No shrubs, though.
  2. National Audubon Field Guide to Trees (Eastern)
  3. Peterson’s Eastern Trees (personal fave)
  4. Dwelley’s Trees and Shrubs of New England


  1. Wendy Applequist, The Identification of Medicinal Plants 

  2. Also check out Chestnut School of Herbalism's regional foraging/field guide recommendations here

Botany & Natural History

  1. Thomas J. Elpel, Botany in a Day - general understanding of plant families & medicines, his website is also loaded with great information (Montana-focused)
  2. Marc Williams, Botany Everyday (online classes, FB group)
  3. GoBotany by the New England Wildflower Society
  4. Stokes Guide to Nature in Winter

Foraging & Wild Foods

  1. Ancestral Plants Volumes 1 & 2 by Arthur Haines
  2. Any book by Samuel Thayer,  particularly Nature’s Garden - see excerpts online
  3. Any book by Euel Gibbons, particularly Stalking the Wild Asparagus
  4. Other good authors: Steve Brill, John Kallas...
  5. Peterson’s guide to Edible Wild Plants as backup only!
  6. Also check out Chestnut School of Herbalism's regional foraging/field guide recommendations here

Mom, Baby & Child Herbals

  1. Mary Bove, ND, An Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants
  2. Aviva Jill Romm, Naturally Healthy Babies and Children
  3. A.J. Romm, Natural Health After Birth
  4. A.J. Romm, The Natural Pregnancy Book
  5. Rosemary Gladstar, Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal
  6. Sheila Humphrey, The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
  7. Colleen Dodt, Natural Baby Care
  8. Andrea Candee & David Andrusia, Gentle Healing for Baby and Child. Pocket Books
  9. Janet Zand, et al.,Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child

Discover Herbs & Nature with Children

  1. A Kid’s Herb Book by Lesley Tierra
  2. Walking the World in Wonder by Ellen Evert Hopman
  3. Song of the Seven Herbs by Waling Night Bear & Stan Padilla
  4. Sharing Nature with Children by Joseph Cornell
  5. Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
  6. Visit the Children & Nature Network at to find a movement in your community.

Herbal Gardening

  1. My own book, Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies (releases March/April 2019)
  2. Christopher Hobbs & Leslie Gardner, Grow It, Heal It
  3. Tammi Hartung, Growing 101 Herbs that Heal or newer edition: Homegrown Herbs
  4. Jeff & Melanie Carpenter, The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer
  5. Jekka McVicar, The Complete Herb Book
  6. Peg Schafer, The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm
  7. Richo Chech, Growing At-Risk Medicinal Herbs and other books
  8. Patrick Lima, Herbs: The Complete Gardener’s Guide
  9. Shatoiya & Richard de la Tour, The Herbalist’s Garden

Cooking with Herbs

  1. Jekka McVicar, Jekka’s Herb Cookbook
  2. Brittany Wood Nickerson, The Herbalist's Kitchen
  3. Holly Bellebuono, The Healing Kitchen
  4. Jerry Traunfeld, The Herbfarm Cookbook and The Herbal Kitchen
  5. J. Traunfeld, The Herbal Kitchen
  6. Susan Belsinger, Many books, Visit

Natural & Herbal Body Care

  1. Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health
  2. Donna Maria, Making Aromatherapy Creams and Lotions
  3. Janice Cox, Natural Beauty at Home and other books
  4. Greta Breedlove, The Herbal Home Spa
  5. Dina Falconi, Earthly Bodies & Heavenly Hair
  6. Also visit

You Can’t Go Wrong

with almost any book, class, article, blog, or lecture by...

Rosita Arvigo

Paul Bergner

Juliet Blankespoor

Mark Blumenthal

Mary Bove

Stephen Harrod Buhner

Richo Cech

Rosalee de la Foret*

James Duke

Thomas Easley*

Steven Foster

Margi Flint

Cascade Anderson Geller

Kate Gilday*

Rosemary Gladstar*

James Green

Mindy Green

Christopher Hobbs*

David Hoffmann*

Steven Horne

Kathi Keville

Henriette Kress*

Dr. Tierona Low Dog*

Guido Mase

Rob McCaleb

Anne McIntyre

Jim McDonald*

Amanda McQuade Crawford

Michael Moore*

Michael Murray

Nancy & Michael Phillips

Aviva Jill Romm

Kiva Rose*

Deb Soule*

Paul Stamets

Lesley Tierra

Michael Tierra

Sharol Tilgner*

Allan Tillotson

Dr Andrew Weil*

David Winston*

Matthew Wood

*personal favorites