A review of Practical Herbs, by Christopher Hedley.
The world of herbal medicine owes a great debt of gratitude to Henriette Kress. Her web site, her teaching and her participation in internet discussion groups demonstrate an indefatigable generosity of spirit freely given for the benefit of all. I often wonder where she finds the energy. Now she has given us a herbal in English. ‘Practical Herbs’ is the title and practical is an exact description. Practicality runs throughout the book from tips on correct identification and ethical picking to a wide range of recipes, culinary as well as medicinal. I have learned something on every page.
Henriette has lived this book and it shows. The knowledge is hers rather than the second hand book learning so common in herbals and there is something here for every reader.
The book is copiously illustrated with her own superb photographs and, to cap it all, beautifully written and with a generous helping of her gentle wit. My advice on buying herb books is to have a good look at the book and buy it only if you can answer a wholehearted ‘yes’ to the question, ‘would I like to share a cup of herb tea with this person?’. If the answer is ‘no’ then don’t buy the book, no matter how highly recommended. For myself I would happily share many cups of herb tea, and walks and talks, with Henriette.
Herbal medicine is above all things a craft and Henriette has demonstrated her mastery of that craft.