Friday, November 22, 2013

Favorite Books that Inspired the "Herbal" Series

Like many ideas in life, the one for our herbal series was inspired by books. Today we are sharing our three favorites in three different categories along with some of our favorite excerpts. Perhaps they will inspire you as well!

"Maria floated across the room to her side. She looked at the big books with their bulky dark brown leather covers. One of them lay open, and Oma pointed to its thick, unevenly cut pages.

"This book is called an herbal," she said. "My daughter, Juliana, and I have worked for many years to bring together all these recipes for cures. The papers for these pages was made by my servants out in the shed behind the castle."

Maria reached tentatively toward it. Oma nodded. "Yes, you may touch it."

Maria ran her fingers over the rough texture of the paper. She noticed the intricate lines penned in heavy ink and the wonderful drawing of an herb. Somehow, she felt as if she were touching the plant itself and taking the words into her soul…"

"You know, every noblewoman must know something about the herbal arts. It is expected that we will at least know how to take care for the physical needs of our families and households…"

~ Excerpt from Dr. Oma: The Healing Wisdom of Countess Juliana von Stolberg by Ethel Herr

This book is recommended for young ladies* of 12 and on in order to introduce your daughter (and perhaps yourself) to the historical world of the "herbal". You will be inspired by the life of Juliana von Stolberg as you learn about the healing arts, the history of the Dutch people and this faithful woman from the past.

*Note: One point I would discuss with my daughter is that the secondary character (Maria the granddaughter) married a man whom was an alcoholic which warrants a conversation. Beyond that, it is a very educational and endearing read of a grandmother passing on her godly faith and healing knowledge down to her granddaughter. It also shares the history of the Dutch people. I especially appreciated the medicinal healing aspects in this book. It is an important art that our young women would benefit from and I hope that this little novel would foster an interest in it.

Country Crafts: Kitchen ~ Pantry ~ Decoration ~ Style by Stephanie Donaldson
(Note: This is a reprinted, revised version of the Country Store)

“In Tudor times, in the sixteenth century, the pantry could be described as the control center of the domestic economy. It was here that the countrywoman would store her precious herbs and spices, and make lotions, potions* and distillations. In doing so, she could be described as the family doctor, pharmacist, herbalist, perfumer, candlemaker and pest controller all rolled into one, and the health and well being of everyone in the household was her responsibility.”
~ Stephanie Donaldson, The Country Store, Reprinted & Revised as Country Crafts

"In Elizabethan England it became customary for gentlewomen to write down the secrets of their household management in a book to pass on their skills from one generation to the next. As well as recipes, this book would include simple remedies, lotions and potions*, potpourris and polishes, many of which we would recognize and even keep in our pantry today."
~ Stephanie Donaldson, The Country Store, Reprinted & Revised as Country Crafts

With its beautiful photography, Country Crafts inspired me to store foods and handmade goods according to the seasons like our ancestors have done for many years. The author includes suggestions for pantry items, medicinal recipes, bath and body ideas as well as home decoration. I am in love with this book!

*Note: Although "potion" is often referred to in the occult world, it's definition can also mean a liquid with healing properties.

Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide by Rosemary Gladstar

"One of the greatest benefits of herbal medicine is that it gives us the ability to become more self-reliant. Feeling that we have choices in how we care for ourselves and our families, and that we ourselves can play a central role in treatment and preventive medicine, can help us build a positive attitude of empowerment. With very little effort, time, or money, we can grow our own herbs, make our own medicines, and care for our families and ourselves, much as people have been doing for millennia. Herbalism is truly an accessible, inexpensive, natural, gentle, and, most importantly, effective system of healing. Herbs are among the safest medicines available. 

As recently as a 100 years ago, almost every American household had a kitchen garden with an “apothecary” section designated for healing plants. It’s fun to re-create these traditional gardens. Dig up a small plot by the back door, plant your favorite medicinal herbs (and edible herbs as well), and step back in time."
And alas, this book is a treasure trove of information for the beginner herbalist. It shares all the basic terms and how to begin making your own home apothecary along with some basic herbal recipes. I highly recommend this book!

This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: Modest Mom Monday'sMake it Yourself MondaysHomestead Barn HopNatural Living Tuesday'sTeach Me TuesdayRaising HomemakersMake Bake CreateWise Woman Link UpWildcrafting WednesdayWhatever You Want WednesdayFrugal Days, Sustainable WaysHomemaking WednesdaysHomemaking Thursdays,  From the Farm Blog HopFarmgirl FridayClever Chicks Blog Hop and Deep Roots at Home. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these.


  1. Oh, thank you. Will have to see if the library has any of these. I always prefer 'natural' remedies over chemical ones and have been learning more and more:)

    1. Hope you find them, they are fun and informative reads :)

  2. These all sound great!! Checking the library as well!:)

  3. Isn't it a blessing to have such wonderful books at our fingertips. Love the quote by Abraham Cowley.

  4. Great post! Dr. Oma sounds like a great story, can't wait to read it. Out of all my herbal books Medicinal Herbs is my favorite and the one I go to the most. I love it and think every home should have a copy.

  5. I vaguely remember mentioning a while back that I am writing a post on Juliana. Dr. Oma is truly one of those favorite books and add to it the delight she took in the medicinals of God's, it spurred me on to learn more. What a wonderful inspiration she was to young and old! Love this post, JES!

  6. Can't wait to go to the library tomorrow and see what I can find out about these books! Thanks for more reading material.
    Rebecca Ayers

  7. Great post. Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide is one of my most referenced books, covered in post-its and filled with dog-eared pages. Congrats on being chosen as a featured post on this week’s Wildcrafting Wednesdays! I hope you'll join us again and share more of your awesome posts.


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