December 2011
The Herb Lady

Books on Herbs

I want to know all there is to know about herbs. What book should I buy to do so?"

This is a request I received recently. My answer is, "There is no one book regarding all herbs and, no matter how many books you read, you’ll never know all there is to know about herbs."

As I prepared for my recent move, I reluctantly parted with many of my books. Downsizing was absolutely necessary as I left my great-grandparents’ home to live in an apartment. Carefully I chose the books to keep. The following list of my kept books will perhaps help you to make a selection.

The Herb Book by John Lust contains over 2,000 listings. "The most complete catalog of nature’s miracle plants ever published" is a statement printed on the cover.

Back to Eden by Jethro Kloss should be on every herbalist’s shelf. It is not my most-used reference, but its author was an outstanding user of God’s bountiful supply. To me, he is an icon.

North American Wildlife is a Reader’s Digest publication. Most every wild plant is listed. From this book, I can determine where plants grow in the U.S.A.

Magic and Medicine of Plants is another Reader’s Digest publication. It’s wonderful for identification. It even contains a picture of Yellowroot (Xanthorhiza simplicissima). This is the plant from which yellowroot tea is made. One elderly gentleman told me, "Why, Ma’am, it’s just good for whatever ails you." You’ll find yellowroot tea at the Montgomery Farmers Market as well as other places.

Tommie Bass…Herb Doctor of Shinbone Ridge by Darryl Patton. Tommie was a legend in his own time. He’s Alabama’s true claim to herbal fame. I’m glad I had an opportunity to meet him and hear him speak.

Wildflowers of Alabama and Adjoining States by Blanch E. Dean, Amy Mason and Joab Thomas. It’s not the best book for my needs, but my son, while a student of the University of Alabama, knew Joab. (Later, Joab was president there.)

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs by Rodale Press. This is an outstanding reference. My much-used book is falling apart.

The Healing Herbs by Michael Castleman. This is another outstanding publication of Rodale Press.

The How To Book, Today’s Herbal Health and NSP from A to Z. All three of these books aid in the use of herbs for health.

Companion Plants Catalog. This company offers over 500 herb plants and seeds. There is a bit of interesting information about each. Their website is

Last, but not least, is The Alabama Herb Gardener. This is a treasure to me since it contains the first 20 columns which I wrote for The Montgomery Advertiser and published by them. So far as I know, there are no copies available. For information, I suggest you contact the publisher.

Thanks to the Salvation Army and the Alzheimer’s Support Group a good many people are now enjoying the books I was unable to keep. This gives me great pleasure.

Nadine Johnson can be reached at (866) 570-7302, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or P.O. Box 7425, Spanish Fort, AL 36577. She has a long history of involvement with herbs. She is also an independent distributor of Nature’s Sunshine Products.