Tuesday, May 21, 2013

{Book Review} Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs – A Beginner’s Guide

I love alternative medicines. I love that nature has so many ways to help our bodies heal themselves - really heal instead of just covering up the annoying symptoms. I have always been drawn to nature and plants and since having a baby I have spent a lot of time learning about healing naturally.
Photo of Rosemary Gladsar
 from www. sagemountain.com

I really wanted to broaden and expand my herbal knowledge so I started researching online/independent study herbal courses. I wanted to learn from someone who I can trust, someone who knows what they are doing, and someone who loves to teach other people. And I found Rosemary Gladstar. Rosemary has been called the “Godmother of American Herbalism” and has been studying, teaching, and using herbalism for over 35 years. She has founded multiple herb schools, authored numerous books, founded a medicinal tea company, started and acts as president of a non-profit organization that conserves and cultivates North American medicinal plants, and she now lives and works on a 500 acre botanical preserve in Vermont called Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Center. Rosemary is definitely someone who knows what they are doing! I want to take her home study course but in the meantime while I save up the money I got one of her books and I like it so much I want to tell you guys about it!

This book is full of information, is beautifully written, contains vibrant color pictures, and it really makes you feel like you have a good friend in your kitchen helping and teaching you. I like that it is written in the same chronological order as if you were attending a class taught by Rosemary and is broken up into four sections.

In first section Rosemary’s enthusiasm and knowledge for herbs quickly becomes apparent as she gives an overview of what medicinal herbs are, how they are used, starting a home herb garden, and harvesting. The second section Rosemary uses her 35+ years of experience to teach readers how to successfully make their own herbal remedies. Rosemary covers everything from making herbal teas and syrups, to salves, tinctures, and pills. The third section is about nine herbs and spices that most people are familiar with when cooking (cinnamon, garlic, sage, basil, etc), however I most people probably don’t realize all the medicinal qualities in these cooking herbs. The last section teaches about twenty four herbs that are relatively common and used but beginners may not be as familiar with (St. Johns Wart, lavender, yarrow, calendula, etc). All thirty three herbs included are safe and effective, non toxic, and have few if any negative side effects and are great herbs for a beginner to start working with.

Here's an example of the layout of the recieps

For each herb, Rosemary includes a picture of either all or a portion of the plant, lists the botanical name (very important as there may be more than one species of plant with different medicinal qualities that goes by the same common name), a short introduction to the herb, a bit of information on how to grow it, a section on its medicinal uses, and then between two and five recipes that use that particular herb. Each recipe states what it is for, the ingredients, how to prepare it, and how to use it. The recipes are relatively simple, are easy to understand and follow.

I love that Rosemary inspires people to take charge of their own health.  This book isn’t about curing complicated diseases nor is it a fix everything with one product type of book. It’s about the “medicine of the home” to help non emergency health problems that arise in everyday life. This is something that years ago was common knowledge; something that mothers and grandmothers taught their daughters and granddaughters as a way to care for their families. I feel strongly that this art is just as important today as it was for our ancestors and I trust Rosemary Gladstar to teach it to me.

Because of this book we planted two elderberry bushes in our yard and I started growing sage, basil, and rosemary on our windowsill! I purchased some yarrow, calendula, and chamomile seeds that I’m going to plant in our garden in a few weeks. And I’m looking for some St. John’s Wart, Peppermint, Spearmint, Echinacea, Lavender, Lemon Balm, and Cayenne to plant!

P.S. I’m currently making the pickled garlic (page 72) and I’m working on the dandelion burdock tincture for liver health (page 126). I’ll let you know how they turn out!

Visit the publisher: http://www.storey.com

Visit Rosemary Gladstar's Sage Mountain website: http://www.sagemountain.com

I received this book from to publisher to facilitate my review. However this did not affect my opinions.


  1. I use a lot of herbs and vitamins to treat illnesses and aches; this would be a great beginners guid for me to begin making more intense medicinal treatments. With the side effects of medications, I’m just not willing to put a lot of stuff into my body these days.

  2. I love the idea of natural medicine. This book sounds like a great way to get started.

  3. How did you know I was getting interested in herbs again! I've always wanted to learn more but I always get overwhelmed at the massive amount of information that is found in books and online. I'm going to have to check out this book and see if it helps me at all. From your review, I think it just might. Thank you!

  4. I could really use this book. I am trying to get more into alternative medicines.

  5. I always grow herbs in my garden I would love this book to see which ones have health benefits! I think at home natural remedies are the best :)

  6. this looks like a great book. Home remedies are great and they save you money since you dont have to go to the doctor as much

  7. I couldn't do the house thing. I tried a rental and it was too much for me, so growing herbs myself are on my list of things to do. As soon as I can get some extra cash to begin a garden I'll be checking this book out. I'm adding it to my Amazon Wish List now!

  8. herbs are so wonderful!