I have had the recent pleasure to read two new (to me) herb books. The Wild Medicine Solution by Guido Mase´ describes herbal aromatics, bitters and tonics and their uses in food and medicine while sharing an elegant, supportive herbal philosophy. It was enjoyable to explore these flavors in depth; their history and cultural uses, what makes them what they are, how to use them and why, and which herbs feature them. After being ‘schooled’ in the Chinese Medicine concept of the flavors for the past three years it was incredibly refreshing to stretch my understanding. Mase´macro photos capture the spirit of the herbs, helping me understand their messages even more.
Jeremy Ross’ Combining Western and Herbs and Chinese Medicine has been on my wish list for quite some time. I didn’t have to buy any text books this term so this is what I purchased instead, and am I glad I did. How many times have I wished for a Bensky for Western herbs? Dan Bensky’s book is a modern compendium of Chinese single herbs with just about everything you every wanted to know about them (there’s also a formula book). Ross describes the nature, flavors, channels entered, uses, dosage, when the herb was first mentioned in herbal literature, common combinations and ratios for formulations.
I have only one gripe with Ross’ book: it doesn’t include an entry about chamomile. Maybe I’ll make my own entry about chamomile someday.