The Good Living Guide to Natural and Herbal Remedies: Simple Salves, Teas, Tinctures, and More by Katolen Yardley. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing; 2016. ISBN: 9781680991574. Hardcover, 192 pages. $14.99.
This is a delightful book filled with recipes, quotes, herbal lore, medicine making, and herbal pharmacy. With gorgeous, full-color pictures of the herbs and medicines, and many useful snippets, this is destined to be a well-loved classic. The book includes extensive references and a glossary that reflects the professional training of the author, but the style is light and easy to read, and the information is easily accessible for all readers. This book offers something for everyone, from the weekend herbal hobbyist who will appreciate the recipes for vitamin C tea and a soothing mixture of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia, Lamiaceae) and hops (Humulus lupulus, Cannabaceae) for eye pillows to the professional clinician who will prescribe the oregano (Origanum vulgare, Lamiaceae) antiviral throat spray.
The Good Living Guide 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 subsections. In Part One, for example, there are subsections for herbal medicines around the world, harvesting herbal medicines, how humans heal, and a discussion of herbs as foods and medicines. Part Two includes subsections for herbal terminology, safety, dosage, and clinical actions and applications. Part Three includes instructions for making teas, poultices, powders, medicated honeys, tinctures, vinegars, and other remedies, as well as all sorts of delicious and fragrant home and body care products.
Part Two is by far the largest section (stretching from pages 48 to 200) and contains monographs on herbs along with recipes or formulas. Each entry includes a color photo of the plant and a review of key constituents and actions, as well as recipes and formulations based on the author’s clinical experience. Katolen Yardley has almost 20 years of experience as an herbal clinician, and she previously worked for more than five years as the dispensary manager at Gaia Garden Herbal Dispensary in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. For the past six years, she has been the herbal pharmacy instructor at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in New Westminster, British Columbia. Yardley uses recipes like the ones featured in this book every week and has tested them on real patients. She knows how to get an herbal cream to set, how to prevent a vinegar from turning bad, and how to use herbs to treat fungal infections.
The book has lots of useful information, and it is filled with good ideas for herbal medicine-making. However, if I could change one thing about this book, I would make it easier to navigate and find information. The herbal monographs are not listed in alphabetic order, and the table of contents does not list all of the profiled herbs or provide their page numbers. In addition, there is no master list of recipes, so I could not easily find my way back to specific ones. It was frustrating to know that there was a wealth of useful information if I could only track it down quickly. That being said, I loved the pictures and unique recipes and formulas. The Good Living Guide will be a valuable and well-thumbed addition to the library of all herbal enthusiasts.
—Chanchal Cabrera, MSc, MNIMH, RH (AHG)
Courtenay, British Columbia, Canada