Building Your Herbal Home-Library.

There will be MANY books that are referenced in class that come highly recommended to deepen your experience of this process (especially depending on your specific areas of interest). Each of those texts will be included in the monthly class notes and suggested additional readings on the main HA:WR page. The books below, however, are the "if you can only chose 4- 5 books to own and use for this class" selection. Acquiring these texts for supplemental use during our course is completely optional. These are mostly chosen because they support the nuts and bolts of medicine making, botany, and intro herbalism, and local plant ID. Some of them may be available through the public or UA library, Tucson Herb Store, Bookmans, Antigone, or online.

You might notice that people of color and indigenous folks are NOT well represented on this list, and that is definitely on my radar. However, even as I continue the effort of searching for comparable resources by different authors,  these are some of the ones that I return to time and time again for solid understanding of certain key concepts.

I chose to keep this list as small as possible, but if you are looking for a different perspective or alternative resources to these please feel free to ask me! I have plenty of others, and while they don't necessarily cover these exact concepts (other voices & perspectives will be introduced throughout the series) I will be happy to give you a list that best suits your unique path.


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The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook by James Green


This is a detailed HOW-TO for almost any type of herbal preparation that you might make at home. A good perspective on the scientific aspects of various herbal preparation that asks you to consider the reductionist perspective with a grain of salt. Vocally favors the holistic view and traditional ways of preparing and applying herbal medicine while making basic concepts of early pharmacy and plant constituents incredibly easy to grasp.

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Body into Balance by Maria Noel Groves


BEAUTIFUL, ACCESSIBLE, APPLICABLE explanation of the body systems and appropriate herbs for each. While isn't an Anatomy and Physiology book per se, I honestly think its better for our purposes - which is helping ourselves and our loved ones to achieve better health and balance through understanding the basic processes of our bodies and how to appropriately support or intervene with healing plants.

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Botany in a Day by Thomas J Elpel


Truly my favorite "first" botany book - more effective for leaning plant parts and helping the reader to familiarize themselves with characteristics of common botanicals than most other texts I've used. Contains simple, easy to remember distinguishing features to identify plant families, which is one of the most practical and easy ways to begin to identify plants in the wild, with or without a field guide.

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Wildflowers: A Field Guide to Flowering Plants of Arivaca & Southern Arizona by Maggie Mo Millnovich

I highly suggest you find a good Southern AZ field guide. I have lots, and most of them pretty good - you are welcome to use any of your favorites.

Recently I came upon this particular publication and I think its one of the best examples I have found that gives really clear, usable images of, not only the flowers but, other identifiable parts of the plant as well. Most field guides focus on identifying the flower, which is great as long as the plant you are trying to identify is IN flower, which isn't all of the time. This layout really lends itself to very practical use and covers most of the plants that you can find in Tucson and many of the surrounding areas. It seems great for beginners, using clear and simple botanical terminology to describe the plant's distinguishing characteristics (others can be a little obtuse if you're just learning the vocabulary).

The problem is, its impossible to find a hard copy to by online (but you can access the digital version HERE).

The inside of the cover says to contact the publisher at Connection, POB 338 Airavaca, Arizona or email to obtain a copy (I'm going to try this route).

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Infusions of Healing:  A Treasury of Mexican-American Herbal Remedies by Joie Davidow

This is somewhat of a bonus recommendation for folks looking to connect with this lineage. It is definitely not as detailed as the Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook in terms of explaining, in depth, various preparation techniques nor does it include nearly as many ways to prepare herbs. Partially this is because it focuses on a more traditional approach to medicine where exact measurements and "active ingredients" aren't as important as they are in western medicine.  It includes an extensive materia medica of commonly used plant medicines in the Mexican American tradition and also contextualizes some of the practices within the Aztec view of health and healing. It also covers what anthropologists call "folk illnesses" specific to the Mexican American culture (we'll get into this a lot more in class).

I love this book and have gone back to it many times. Ideally if you could own this one AND James Green's book that would be awesome because they both offer very different and yet complimentary information, but I think this can be a nice beginners guide to medicine making on its own, too, if you prefer this angle.


Additional Supplemental Readings.

These are books & other media resources that reiterate concepts that will be covered throughout the series and can be used to go deeper into specific areas of healing than we will have the luxury of doing during our limited time together. At times, I might reference certain chapters of these books to help enrich a particular section or subject that we discuss in class. New resources may be added to the list as time goes on and will be indicated with a  ** if included after our March 10th start date.

Just as with the book list above, these books are completely 100% optional. Any 'required' reading will be made accessible either by sharing digital or photocopied exerts.


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