Whether you are harvesting herbs to treat an illness or to use in the kitchen, you need to know what you are dealing with. I’ve looked into the recesses of the web to find helpful books that can aid you in identifying different herbs, as well as to know their uses.
Books for Herbal Identification
These books have crystal photos, as well as descriptions of the plant and their growth habits. A word of advice: don’t eat an herb until you research and cross reference it extensively.
1. The Complete Book of Herbs – Lesley Bremness
You will use this book a million times. It is particularly useful for its photos which demonstrate the blooms, leaves, roots and varieties of each herb. You can see the different parts of the herb, making it useful regardless if your herb hasn’t bloomed yet or if the plant isn’t just like the picture. The book is packed with different recipes, crafts and anything else you could ever want to use the herbs for.
Very comprehensive book on herbs, indeed probably one of the very best I have seen. I particularly like the index of herbs as it gives extremely clear descriptions, photos, properties of each herb, uses and cultivation. So many plants are listed, even some that are usually not included in herbals. The back portion is devoted to recipes and uses, decorative, cosmetic, and medicinal. This is a great reference for anyone wanting to learn about, grow, and use herbal plants. — Rose Thyme
2. Growing 101 Herbs that Heal – Tammi Hartung
Growing 101 Herbs that Heal is authored by Tammi Hartung, an organic farmer that works to be earth-friendly. This is the perfect book for anyone who wants to grow and use herbs for medicine. Tammi offers a lot of different knowledge on herb identification, and constantly reminds us that most plants in the wild have medicinal and nutritional uses when used properly.
This is a beautiful and very readable comprehensive guide to herbs, packed with information and techniques for making the most of herbs and transforming our awareness of plants and gardening. Readers will be encouraged to “cultivate plant relationships” which can become profound acts of self-help, ecological preservation, and cultural renewal. — Robert L. Rose
3. All You Ever Wanted to Know about Herbs for Pets – Mary L. Wulff-Tilford and Gregory L. Tilford
If you’ve never even thought about using herbs on your pets, you should definitely get this book. You can use to make your own homemade dog food, as well as support their bodies with herbs as they develop or age. It contains a ton of common herbs, photos for each one, making it perfect as a cross reference. Also by the author: Herbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet’s Life.
4. Peterson Field Guide to Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs – Steven Foster and Christopher Hob
Peterson Guides are the ultimate, containing an encyclopedia of material. Each guide sorts the plants in a variety of ways: leaf design, bloom color, root, and growth pattern. It is a total herb identification guide for a ton of different herbs. You can get it here if you’re in the Western part of the country, and here if you’re in the Eastern. These are highly recommended by not only myself, but many other herbal professionals as well.
I bought this for a present for my nephew and he just loved it. He camps a lot and has taken the book with him and says it’s very easy to use. — Julia Lewis
Other Recommended Books
- Mountain Medicine by Darryl patton
- Northland Wildflowers by John and Evelyn Moyle
- Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West by Michael Moore
- The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants by Army
- Nature’s Garden and The Forager’s Harvest by Sam Thayer
Do you have a favorite herb identification book? Are there any you can think of that belong on this list? Please comment below! We would love to know of other amazing herbal reference books or guides!