Practical Herbs by Henriette Kress

Practical Herbs by Henriette Kress.

I had visited Henrietta’s blog, Henriette’s Herbal on more than one occasion when looking for information or when surfing the web to see what was going on the English speaking herbal world. I then bumped into her again when Herbalistes sans Frontières went on line and our Webmaster advised me to do things like Facebook and social networking. It was then that I decided that I really wanted to read her first book…so I excitedly ordered it from Amazon UK.

The day it arrived, as I took the package out of the letterbox I was surprised at how thin and small the book felt. I had been waiting for a big, thick book as there is so much information on Henriette’s blog, I thought that her book would be the same. Once out of the box, however, the cover and feel were really pleasant, a small but beautiful book.

Anyway I got my teeth into it straight away (always a thrill to get my hands on a good herb book written in English) and the initial reaction about size quickly disappeared. The first chapters are packed with practical information about making herbal preparations, from picking herbs to all the different ways that they can be transformed into medicines. However hard I tried it was very difficult, to find anything that had been left out, whilst reading it I thought it woudl be great to suggest to my students as a hand book (pity it isn’t in French). Being avery practical herbalist myself, it is evident that all the information is tried and tested and gained from first hand experience.

The bulk of the book refers to twenty or so common medicinal plants in alphabetical order. Oh no not another book with a page for each herb stating the same thing as all the other herb books, I hear you saying…fear not Henriette has managed in a simple and clear way to add all the basic relevant information that herbalists may need regarding each plant and to make it interesting, to the point, useful and relevant all at the same time. There are at least three photos for each plant, the layout is really pleasant to look at, straight forward and easy to use with really well defined titles and subtitles.

Throughout the plant pages there are regular short chapters entitled either ‘Quick help‘ or ‘Plant families’, these little interludes help to change the rhythm and as with the rest of the book are packed with useful tips and suggestions…in fact Henriette does not do blah, blah every sentence has something real to say about plants and herbalism.

If I had to advise a good book to beginners I would definitely suggest this one, also great for herbal students and grown up herbalists. I am going to try the rose beads, a brilliant idea and once again clearly and logically described with great photos.

Thanks Henriette for a book that I know won’t just gather dust on the bookshelf.


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