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Top 10 Hot Herbal Reads

Summer is here…who’s ready to get their read on? Check out some of our staff recommendations for our Top 10 Hot Herbal Reads for the summer season. 

Top 10 Hot Herbal ReadsSome of these picks are super plant-focused, and some are “plant-adjacent”–but we guarantee we’ve curated a list of some of our juiciest summer reads, thanks to the herbalists on our team, and our awesome student moderators in our Wild Rose Village group.

The goal: To nourish the spirit and tickle the fancies of the diversity of plant people we have in our Wild Rose Community. We also love to share some of the content that we regularly create and curate for our Wild Rose Herbal Village Members–since lazy summer days are perfect for reading, we couldn’t help but share this latest Village resource with everyone. 🙂

Ready to get reading?

Check out our list below!

Fiction

1. Circe by Madeline Miller
Recommended by Communications, Megan Kendrick

A new take on the story of Circe, the famous witch-goddess (and herbalist) from Homer’s “The Odyssey”. This epic novel spans thousands of years of myth, magic and mystery from Circe’s perspective, including her use of many herbs and magic potions.

A perfect book for summer vacation, as you’ll have a hard time putting it down! – Megan, Wild Rose Village Coordinator

Top 10 Hot Herbal Reads

2. The Firekeepers Daughter by Angeline Bouelly 
Recommended by Communications Manager, Dionne Jennings

This is one of our “plant adjacent” fiction choices. Although not *technically* exactly 100% about herbs–this juicy work of fiction is where chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine meet in a whodunit to track down a murderer.

“I took this camping with me and had it finished in two days! I couldn’t put it down and wanted more before it was even over!” -Dionne, Communications Manager

3. The Oracle Glass by Judith Merkle Riley
Recommended by Communications Manager, Dionne Jennings

While again not technically about herbs, this is a juicy thriller involving fortune-telling, witchcraft and poison.  It is a fictional story built around the true historical character and poison priestess known as La Voisin, as well as others involved the Affair of the Poisons during the reign of Louis XIV in France. And as some of the original poisons were very much herbs, it therefore counts. 😉

This one is beautifully descriptive–it’s tense, it’s dark, and it has imagination and vision–it will sweep you away to another time and place. -Dionne

4. The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
Recommended by General Manager, Farrah Thompson

This is a light, fun, fast, easy read that carries you off in a visceral way, connecting you to a herbalist and cunning woman from the past.

 An easy summer read about a woman who, while visiting London, finds herself mudlarking along the river Thames for treasures.  She finds a mysterious old bottle and ends up on an adventure to determine the fate of an 18th century herbalist and the women who visited her secret apothecary. – Farrah, General Manager

Albeit fictional, the story will transport you and you feel as though you can travel back in time vicariously through the pages.

I also loved this! It speaks to one of our Herbal Fantasies about uncovering medicine knowledge hidden or forgotten from the past in present day times–and right under our noses. 😉 -Dionne, Communications Manager

Non-Fiction

5. Wild Drinks and Cocktails by Emily Han
Recommended by Village Moderator, Cindy Szymandera

A must have book for those that love to experiment with herbal drinks!  It includes many recipes for squashes, shrubs, switchels, tonics, infusions, liquerers, oxymels and elixrs!  I am having great fun making many of the recipes with the fresh fruit and herbs this spring! – Cindy, Village Moderator

6. Plants Have So Much to Give Us, All We Have To Do Is Ask by Mary Siisip Geniusz
Recommended by Communications Department: Cherianne Cybulskie & Dionne Jennings

This is a beautiful book, and rare in that it is one that comes from a traditional oral transfer of traditional knowledge.

Plants Have So Much to Give Us, All We Have to Do Is Ask is a 30 year culmination of knowledge, lived experiences and Aanishnaabe teachings. Mary’s knowledge base comes from her years as an oshkaabewis, (a traditionally trained apprentice), and as a friend to the late Keewaydinoquay, an Anishinaabe medicine woman from the Leelanau Peninsula in Michigan. She is also a scholar, teacher, and a practitioner in the field of Indigenous ethnobotany.

“I recommend this book to anyone look to learn more about plant medicine. I love that the book contains not only the common and latin name, but also the ancestral name of each plant.” Cherianne, Communications Coordinator

Geniusz records and shares Keewaydinoquays teachings (with permission) making traditional knowledge available to Indigenous folks who may not have access to elders or medicine people in their communities–and she does it through story.

I love the teaching through story–and I love the layout of the book, starting with the 4 sacred plants and their teachings. There is so much good medicine in here! -Dionne Jennings, Communications Manager

7. 101 Myths About Herbal Medicine by Robert Rogers
Recommended by Wild Rose Herbal Village Moderator, Ruth Eichinger 

Robert Rogers is an herbalist with nearly fifty years of experience in natural health. His research helps us to separate facts, fiction and fads and is a must read for everyone, helping to set your herbal journey off on the right foot. – Ruth Eichinger, Village Moderator

8. Occult Botany: Sédir’s Concise Guide to Magical Plants by Paul Sédir
Recommended by Village Moderator, Kristina Barnes

A great read to look at the magical properties of some of our common plants. – Kristina, Village Moderator

9. Forest Walking by Peter Wohlleben
Recommended by General Manager, Farrah Thompson

Written by the same author of The Hidden Life of Trees this is a book about connecting to the forests around you (from coast to coast, and from southern swamps to boreal forests in the north this has a bit for everyone), with the hope of taking the time you spend there from just a good experience to one that is truly restorative.

Peter Wohllenben reminds us in a captivating way how to use our five senses to really connect with the forest ecosystems around us, to tune us in to hear the messages it wants to teach.  If you love trees like I do, great read and reminder to be intentional with your time spent in their company -a walk in the woods can go from pleasant to immersive and restorative. – Farrah, General Manager

10. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Recommended by anyone who has ever read this, ever. Literally.

We know, we know. This is on every list, everywhere. But for extremely good reason. If you have been living off the grid and somehow have never heard of Braiding Sweetgrass, do yourself a favour and get yourself a copy.

Right. Now.

You will read it once, then twice and it’s still not enough–this is one of those books that you will enjoy and get something out of by even the 3rd time around. So if you have already read this masterful work by Robin Wall Kimmerer consider this your reminder to pull it out and nourish your spirit this summer by cracking it open again. And if you haven’t–buy it immediately! -Dionne

There is a reason that this ended up on the New York Times Bestseller list years after it was published…the book has legs, and everyone who reads it loves it and shares it, and thus its good medicine continues to be shared far and wide. Enjoy!

We Shared Ours–Now You Share Yours!

We invite you to share one of your top 10 hot herbal reads–feel free to tag us on your social channels with #wildrosecollege!

Enjoy your summer, and may your book cup runneth over,

Megan, Dionne, Cherianne, and the team at Wild Rose College

 

PS. Do you want in on more juicy herbal content? The Herbal Village is our virtual herbal learning community, packed full of multimedia learning resources, fellow herb nerds and plant folk. Learn more here.

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Written By:

Dionne

Dionne Jennings is a Community Herbalist and the Communications Manager for Wild Rose College with a mission to connect plants & people. She's passionate about plant medicine, loves teaching, writing, researching, growing, and medicine making. She has a special passion for researching and collecting stories of Ukrainian & Slavic Folk Medicine traditions.

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