I admit it, I am addicted to books. I’m a big time book collector. There’s no going back. I’ve actually been a book collector since the wee early days, probably around age 4-5 or so. I made the mistake of listening to a book collector a few years ago who said you can’t go wrong in collecting books, especially antiquarian books, because they retain their value. Book collecting is safer financially than the stock market and healthier than gambling. There’s a nice little guide about book collecting in the 21st Century from Alibris.  And, a compendium of book collecting resources is available from the Digital Librarian on Book Collecting and Book History. It’s good to have the facts about any hobby or interest!

Well, I meant to write about herb books that I find myself writing about book collecting. Now that I have cleared the air, here are a few books on are my herbal bookshelf:

  • Organic Body Care Recipes by Stephanie Tourles (Storey Publishing, 2007). This is like a fun textbook with 175 recipes to make your own herbal skin care It has a nice index too, which always gives the book extra value. Tourles is a licensed holistic esthetician and certified aromatherapist and has written several great books on natural skin care. Some of my favorite recipes are the facial scrub, face mask and body butter. She also goes into the science behind our skin and applies basic science to good skin care and overall health. Health truly is more than skin deep and comes from within. She also lists individual ingredients and herbs and describes their basic properties. One could create their own recipes based on teh foundations that Tourles provides. A great home reference!
  • Naturally Healthy Skin: Tips and Techniques for a Lifetime of Radiant Skin (Storey Publishing, 1999). by Stephanie Tourles. This is the 1st book I read by Tourles and I cherish this reference! I will even carry it with me to the health food store. The recipes are wonderful and every herb or ingredient is described. This makes a perfect companion to Organic Body Care Recipes. Again, Tourles looks at the science behind healthy skin and healthy bodies. She provides the basic care ingredients for a variety of conditions, from dry skin and hair, to what to look for in skin cancer screening. Tourles also gives feedback on when to see a professional and which type of professional for each condition. My favorite recipe in this book is for the lip balm in which the ingredients are very simple and wonderful for dry winter conditions. Basically just organic jojoba oil, vitamin E oil, raw honey, and an essential oil of choice (mine is orange – yum!). I also love the tea recipes in here and felt empowered to make my own tea blends. Another aspect I appreciate is that Tourles gives skin care tips and techniques for all ages. It helps to read ahead so one can know what to expect in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and up. This would make a great gift for a mother-daughter to walk through the natural stages of life and to be comfortable in our own skin. The book has a great index and a list of resources and suggested reading. Tourles has done her research and is experienced. I trust this reference guide and would recommend it to anyone wanting to try making their own products at home.
  • Gifts for Herb Lovers by Betty Oppenheimer (Storey Publishing, 1997). I really like the Storey Publishing house and the books they produce for do-it-yourself home care. Their tagline is “books for country living” and every book I’ve viewed of theirs is an inspiration, especially for a self-described craft addict! Gifts for Herb Lovers is a great book filled with charming gift ideas. This is another great home reference book or a nice book to give to someone interested in crafting herbal products. With over 50 projects that are well written and easy to follow, I can’t wait to start collecting herbs to make some of these projects. Some of my favorites: Tea Bags and Herbal Teas; Living Wreath; Herbal Candles; Herb and Garlic Braid; Handmade Paper; Herb Printed Note Cards; and more. This book also has a nice index, a source list, and notes on techniques. Highly recommended!
  • Herbal Remedy Gardens by Dorie Byers (Storey Publishing, 1999). I spied this book on my Mom’s bookshelves a few months ago and begged her to let me borrow it – longterm! She gave in to my book collecting whims and plees and and donated it to my book collection. This is another lovely book filled with all kinds of herb garden plots and plans. I am so ready for spring and can’t wait to start working with herbs. The herb garden plans are divided by theme, but can be combined in any way to fit the individual needs and interests. Along with descriptions and properties of herbs and plants, the author gives recipes and uses for each herb. This is a great home reference for any gardener, especially for those with herbal interests. Complete with an index, glossary, recommended reading, and resources, this book will delight your senses and will launch you into an early spring fever.
  • Your Backyard Herb Garden by Miranda Smith (Rodale Books, 1997). Allright, I’m really ready for spring – I’m reading books about herbs, gardens, wildflowers, and birds! This is a beautifully photographed book and an excellent herb gardening reference. This text will make a nice companion to Herbal Remedy Gardens and give some more of the growing tips, along with Plant Zone information. Helpful for both wild herb identification as well as cultivating herbal gardens and lists easy to read symbols for growing tips in the herbal directory section. This book also contains recipes for home, health, and food purposes. Also contains information on pests and diseases to be aware of when growing herbs and nontoxic remedies to avoid problems in the herb garden. Highly recommended as another great reference for herbal gardeners; contains index, recommended reading, and resources.

Happy Reading and Researching and Don’t forget to think spring and start planning your sustainable garden!