Saturday, April 20, 2019

Master Recipes from the Herbal Apothecary

Master Recipes from the Herbal Apothecary is an encyclopedic herbal with recipes for a wide variety of uses and conditions. Released 5th March 2019 from Timber Press, it's 288 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats. Author JJ Pursell is a naturopathic doctor, educator, acupuncturist, and herbalist.

The book begins with introductory chapters covering terms and concepts including a list of supplies necessary for making the recipes included in the book. The author discusses safety and some simple related biochemistry about active ingredients and different methods of delivery for therapeutic dosage. The introductory basic recipes including the general instructions and introduction represent about 22% of the page content.

The following chapters are presented as a materia medica with similar sections grouped together in chapters: day to day health, immune system, women and men's health, babies and children, emotional support, travel issues, eldercare, etc. Each of the chapters includes specific well written and photographed recipes. The ingredients are varied and specific.  The book also includes a metric conversion table, a bibliography for further reading, and a cross referenced index.

This is an apothecary stillroom book. It's a lot less 'happy hippy' and a lot more 'formal medicine' in feel. The recipes include a number of ingredients which won't be easily sourced outside of another herbalist's stores.  For readers looking for an informal easy fun recipe for calendula lip balm, this isn't your book. (There is an included antibacterial salve (p. 244) which does in fact include calendula and can be used as a lip protectant... I stand by my statement, this is not a trivial beauty recipe book).

I would imagine few people other than herbalists and wildcrafters will have free access to the ingredients listed in the amounts and breadth called for; serious students will have to develop a relationship with a reputable supplier. The emphasis is on reputable.  The author has included a resource list which includes (presumably) reputable and knowledgeable professionals.

This book has a very specific focus. I can definitely see this becoming a well used, personalized tome, with clippings and reipes, penciled notes in the margins, falling apart from long use - for those readers who fit within its niche focus.

Five stars for those students/herbalists/people who really want to take control of their holistic health. Limited use for the casual gardener unless they are willing to purchase ingredients.

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

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