The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies, by Katolen Yardley, MNIMH
Published by Skyhorse Publishing, NY
Review by CHANCHAL CABRERA
This is a delightful book filled with recipes, quotes, herbal lore, medicine-making and herbal pharmacy. With a hard cover, gorgeous, full colour pictures of the herbs and medicines, and chock full of useful snippets, this is destined to be a well-loved classic. The book includes extensive references and glossary, reflecting the professional training of the author, but the style is light and easy to read so the information is easily accessible for all readers.
This book offers something for everyone from the weekend herbal hobbyist who will love the recipes for lavender and hops eye pillows, or the vitamin C tea, to the professional clinician who will prescribe the oregano anti-viral throat spray.
The book is organized into three parts: Background and Getting Started, Herbs and their Uses, and Preparing Herbal Remedies. These broad categories are then further divided into sub-sections. In part one, for example, there are sub-sections for herbal medicines around the world, harvesting herbal medicines and how we heal. Plus herbs foods as medicines and plants as teachers.
Part two includes sub-sections for herbal terminology, safety, dosage and clinical actions and applications. Part three includes instructions on making teas, fomentations, poultices, powders, honeys, tinctures, vinegars and other remedies, as well as all sorts of delicious and fragrant home and body care products.
By far the largest section (pages 48 – 200) is in part two and comprises monographs on herbs and recipes or formulas. Each entry includes a colour photo of the plant and a review of key constituents and actions, as well as recipes and formulations based on the author’s years of clinical practice.
Katolen Yardley has been a clinical herbalist for almost 20 years; she was Dispensary Manager at Gaia Garden Herbal Dispensary in Vancouver for over five years and has been the herbal pharmacy instructor at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine for the past six years. She uses these recipes every week and has tested them out on real patients. She knows how to get an herbal cream to set; how to stop a vinegar turning bad and a how to use herbs to remove fungal infections.
So far, so good, the book has lots of useful information and is filled with good ideas for herbal medicine making. However, I ultimately found it a frustrating book to use. The herbal monographs were not listed in alphabetic order, so it was hard to find your way around them. The contents page did not list all the herbs monographed or give their page numbers, nor was there a master list of the recipes so you could not easily find your way back to specific ones, and it was altogether difficult to navigate.
That said, I loved the pictures, the recipes and formulas are unique, and it will be a helpful addition to the library of all herbal enthusiasts.