Those of us who have chosen the path of herbalism walk a long and winding road. The popularity of herbs and natural health care has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years, and while that's wonderful for our society, it has also given rise to an overwhelming amount of conflicting, poorly researched, money-driven, or just plain wrong information and poor-quality products. It can be difficult for the newcomer to find a comfortable foothold. The links I offer here are a few organizations, businesses, and books that I have found to be helpful and reliable. I hope they help to shed some light on your own journey.
Burdock and Rose
The blog of Lisa Rose - expert forager and herbalist in Grand Rapids, MI.
The website of Jim McDonald, an herbalist practicing just north of Detroit and one of my own teachers. An awesome collection of thoroughly researched information as well as his class offerings.
Herbal Roots Zine
A fantastic resource for teaching children - or beginning adults - about herbs. Full of not only information, but crafts, puzzles, songs, and recipes. A good portion of the content does require a subscription (worthwhile - Kristine is an amazing herbalist and teache), but there are also quite a few freebies and articles.
This does involve a monthly fee of $10, but for the serious student it's the best deal going. Chock-full of articles, videos, audio clips, and guided classes for everyone from beginner to practicing clinician. Also includes a fantastic discussion forum. All content is downloadable.
The Medicine Woman's Roots
The website of herbalist Kiva Rose, full of beautifully written monographs as well as some updates on what's happening in the herbal community.
Northeast School of Botanical Medicine
This school is run by Ithica-based herbalist 7Song, and their website contains a wealth of information on plants, body systems, and practical matters such as medicine-making tools and first-aid protocols. If you like the scientific approach, this is for you.
A blog by Juliet Blankespoor of Chestnut Herbs. Thorough, well-written, practical information on plants and medicine, plus some lovely poems and photographs.
Mountain Rose Herbs Channel on YouTube
A bunch of instructional videos, mostly dealing with making basic preparations. I do have to note that I think some of the information here is oversimplified, but it's a good visual aid and a decent place to start.
This business is run by Maria
Noel Groves, an insightful herbalist and writer who practices all aspects of the field. I recommend checking out the virtual herb walks and signing up for the newsletter - full of good recipes.
A quick note: Please, please always buy organic or responsibly wildcrafted herbs. Any health benefit of using them is negated by ingesting the chemicals of conventional farming techniques, and in my humble opinion, no one should condone or encourage the use of practices that damage the environment.
Black Locust Gardens
A smallish operation in the Ann Arbor Area run by good people. Highest-quality organic plants, fresh, and dried herbs.
Zack Woods Herb Farm
A relatively small, family-run herb farm with some of the best, freshest dried herbs I've found, plus an offering of live plants. Also a good place to look for more obscure herbs that may not be carried by the larger suppliers.
Another small, high-quality herb grower owned by good people. They also offer a wide range of related products.
For those looking to buy in larger quantities, this is another quality, ethical supplier. They also ship fresh-picked herbs, which can be hard to find.
Strictly Medicinal Seeds
A large but extremely well-run family farm in Oregon managed by serious herbalists. Organic, non-GMO, etc.
Beginner's Guide to Medicinal Herbs by Rosemary Gladstar
A wonderful introductory text, outlining the characteristics and some useful recipes for some of the more common herbs, including many you probably have in your kitchen. Also gives a good overview of preparation techniques.
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
Full of fascinating and educational information about the effects of food and diet - especially traditional diets - on medical issues, plus lots of excellent recipes.
Body Into Balance by Maria Noel Groves
Arranged by body system and herbal actions. The focus here is on using gentle herbs and lifestyle habits to encourage the body to function in a natural, healthy way. Some specific remedies are given.
The Gift of Healing Herbs by Robin Rose Bennett
This guide gracefully walks the line between practical and spiritual, addressing every aspect of each plant discussed (and there are many). Helpfully arranged by body system. Full of stories and recipes.
The Herbal Medicine Maker's Handbook by James Green
An in-depth manual describing the theory and applications of tinctures, salves, glycerites, oxymels, and even herbal jello, among others. Many of the actual recipes and instructions are, in my opinion, a bit outdated and over-complicated, but it lays a good foundation. Written in a humorous and accessible tone, it makes a good read for the beginner, and a valuable reference for those further along. It also includes a helpful listing of terminology.
A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve
Perhaps the definitive herbal in the Western tradition. It was written in 1931, which means it's thin on scientific information, and a fair few of the uses are outdated, but there is no more fascinating or comprehensive collection of history, folklore, botanical descriptions, and basic properties.
Alchemy of Herbs by Rosalee de la Foret
A practical materia medica arranged by taste profiles. Solid modern, traditional, and energetic information a wide variety of herbs. Chock-full of excellent food-as-medicine recipes.
The Wild and Weedy Apothecary by Doreen Shababy
This A-Z collection of all things herbal takes you on a rollicking ride through recipes, stories, fun facts, history, and good old basic instructions. Very much in the folk herbalism tradition.
The Herbal Handbook by David Hoffmann
Packing a lot of information into a small package, this book organizes herbs by body system and action (such as demulcents for the respiratory tract), and gives reasonably detailed information on quite a few example plants.