It is rare to find an herbal reference guide to herbs so charmingly and exactly illustrated. Gardeners will find the illustrations helpful to see what less familiar herbs look like. But Culpeper's Color Herbal offers much more. Each herb is listed individually with a color illustration, a description, other information, specific exerpts from 16th century herbalist Nicholas Culpepper, and description of modern medicinal uses. This allows the reader, or the herbalist, the unique opportunity to compare traditional uses of the past with modern uses and current scientific research on active compounds. It is interesting to see which herbs science has proven to have medicinal value similar to the old uses. I was surprised, for instance, to find that Culpepper's old remedy for bronchitis, Colt's Foot (a familiar garden weed), is actually the source for a substance used in modern over the counter cough remedies! I was even more surprised when an Eyebright solution stopped a case of conjunctivitis - my first venture into herbal treatments! Descriptions are given for which parts of the herbs are useful medicinally. Appendixes I have not seen elsewhere provide 1) definitions of old time ailments, like the agues, for which old Culpepper prescribed, 2) a listing by ailment which herbs old Cullpepper used for which ailments and 3)a modern listing by ailment of which herbs are considered useful now. All of this information is presented extremely clearly and concisely - about half a page is devoted to each herb - making it an easy reference in a world of complicated herbals. I would not say this is THE total, definitive guide to herbs. It IS an herbal to come back to time and again in my library for reference and just plain pleasure. I recommend it for beginner through intermediate herbalist, those who want to venture into / expand their herb garden into specifics, the history lover and to the curious. A keeper.
...but I do not recommend Nicholas Culpepper's prescriptions. It is interesting to read what the 17th century physicians considered to be appropriate remedies and the illustrations are a wonderful aid to identification. However, if you want to practice medicinal herbalism, get a modern book to use in conjunction with Culpepper and take the advice of the modern book if there is a difference.
This is a great book with wonderful color illustrations by one of the master practitioners of our Western Medical Tradition. This is one of the few books that identifies each herb with its planet association. This relationship is an important element to an holistic approach to health. "As above so below". "