It’s a Good Thing
Herbal, Physic or Apothecary gardens or whatever name you so choose to use for a garden that produces medicinal plants, have been around a lot longer than your local pharmacy. I have had a fascination with them, myself, but have always shied away from using wild plants, even in my own garden, in fear of not identifying them properly. When I came across Madison Woods book, 10 Common Plants Worth Knowing, I just had to have a copy.
Madison lives in the Ozarks and speaks about the plants in her own ‘holler’. She is very specific on how to identify the wild varieties that you might see on your own property or perhaps on a walk down your road. However, if you are not lucky enough to have them, some of these plants can be purchased and you can plant them in your own gardens very easily.
Below: Witch Hazel, Beebalm and Red Clover are a few of the plants that Madison addresses.
- Madison breaks this all down in easy-to-understand language and yet is very specific. Yes, she uses the Latin terms for precise clarification along with the common names such as Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) or Purple Cone flower (Echinacea purpurea) and she clarifies WHY that is so important. (What you identify as a purple cone flower in Oregon might be a totally different plant than the one she is talking about in the Ozarks. The Latin names, however, stay constant with each varietal.)
- She tells you exactly what the benefits are from each plant.
- There is a how-to in the back on preserving and preparing the herbs into: teas, salves, decoctions, tinctures, poultices, compresses, ointments, skin healing and cleansing creams.
Besides all of that, Madison writes in an easy, enchanting way dotting personal stories and antidotes throughout. She gives references and resources for almost everything urging you to go and research and learn even further. All in all, this book is my new best friend. The how-to’s alone will be put to good use with my lavender, basil and mint and I am already planning to plant some of Madison’s wild plants in my garden next year. Can I buy this all at my local health store? Probably, but I also like growing my own tomatoes for my own organic and home made sauce and salsa. There’s a pride and sense of self-sufficiency about it.
And that’s a good thing.