Saturday, August 19, 2017

Mountain States Medicinal Plants

With a slant toward the plants found in the western mountainous regions of North America, this book is a great resource to identifying, harvesting, wildcrafting, and using botanicals. The author is a wildcrafter and lecturer who owns Rooted Apothecary in Crested Butte, Colorado. The included plants and instructions are by no means limited to the western states, as the useful plants and instructions are found in wide areas of North America. 

The book is broken down into sections and begins with an introduction 'Wildcrafting your medicine', followed by 'Timing your harvest: A guide to seasonal wildcrafting'
The meat of the book is taken up with an ID guide to 101 different (by my count) wild plants.  The pictures are extensive and specific.  Dangerous look-alikes are covered quite well with ample photograps and descriptions and cautions.  

The book has a charmingly sweet vibe (ask permission of the plants you want to harvest and when many of them say 'No', respect that and move along). Is it a little bit 'woo/new age/neohippy'? Yes, however... We live in a world that has firmly embraced the idea that profit and personal gain is a worthy goal and the sacrifice and pillage of our environment and our planet is the natural order of things.  Humans are doing irreparable damage with blatant disregard.  A little respect and restraint toward our earth is wonderfully refreshing (and vitally important).

If you look at the trend in medicines and cosmetics today, every possible company (some of them incredibly disreputable) tout 'back to nature' and 'natural ingredients'.  What better way to know what's in the products you put in and on your body than to gather and control the ingredients, and make the final product yourself. Included are recipes for various decoctions, soaks, salves, syrups, teas and other items.

I enjoyed this book very much and recommend it.  The finished products are well crafted (if one follows instructions!) and gentle and not harmful.  Cautions about use specific herbs under specific conditions (pregnancy etc) are sensible and reasonable.

As a bonus, there are photos of the author's own apothecary jars and some small interior shots of her shop.  Beautifully organized and traditional, the jars and labels are beautiful.  I would love to visit the shop sometime.

The book ends with a resource and references section.

A good book for wildcrafting, beautifully made.

Four stars

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.

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