An Herbalist's Guide to Formulary

“A cornucopia of herbal insights blended with the practical skills to bring nature’s healing gifts into family life.”

     —David Hoffmann, BSc, FNIMH, medical herbalist

"This treasure chest of plant wisdom offers science as well as engaging stories."

     --Amanda McQuade Crawford, MA, clinical    

        psychotherapist and herbalist

***Packed with useful information for the healing arts practitioner and health professional who aspires to use and understand herbal medicine.


Having taught the practice of herbal medicine for more than 2 decades, author, herbalist, and herb school director Holly Bellebuono discovered that one of the biggest concerns for new herbal students and for healing arts practitioners trained in other modalities is how to create an effective formula for a client. Because there are so many herbs that can be applied in a given situation, an understanding of how herbs work in combination is one of the foundational skills of any herbalist.


In this book, Holly teaches how to take the actions of herbs -- how the herb works in the body, such as astringent, sedative, or demulcent -- and use that knowledge to create a 4-Tier formula that is effective, minimal, and safe. Here, Holly walks the reader through sample case studies and teaches you how to frame a formula using tonic herbs, specific herbs, and other herbs for corollary or secondary issues. In this way, the remedy you create for your family or community member, or for your client, will be constructive, logical, intuitive, and using the most appropriate plant medicines for any given condition.

Holly has conveniently organized this reference book by body system and she includes detailed information on materia medica for all the major body systems, including the digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular, urinary, reproductive, endocrine, skin, and more. The book features more than 130 plants from around the world and explains how to use these herbs to address illnesses based on Western, Eastern, and Ayurvedic traditional principles. She references current research and also describes traditional methods for combining and creating an effective formula, guiding the reader through a welcoming and non-technical understanding of the physiology of the body and explaining how herbs function so the reader can design a holistic treatment for both acute and chronic conditions.

Practical, useful, and modern, An Herbalist's Guide to Formulary is a vital resource for every herbal, alternative, or integrative medicine practitioner.

Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, November 2017

paperback, $19.99

Link: Llewellyn

Link: Barnes & Noble Bookstores

Order here from the author

An Herbalist’s Guide to Formulary by Holly Bellebuono

October 23, 2017 Spirituality Today

Herbalism & Plant Healing Book Review

As health care costs rise exponentially and mounting evidence points to the continuing failure of allopathic medicines to deal with the root cause of illness, people are increasingly turning to alternative remedies when seeking healing.

Anyone who feels drawn towards herbalism as one of these natural approaches to personal health might might be interested in An Herbalist’s Guide to Formulary by community herbalist and apothecary director Holly Bellebuono.

Types of Classification

In her book Bellebuono presents an easy to understand, four-tier system of classification for organising herbs. They are;

1. Tonic Herbs – that are meant to be taken on a long-term basis to nourish, support and sustain the body
2. Specific Herbs – that are the primary one given for a specific condition or illness
3. Collary Herbs – that address issues that are associated with an illness
4. Vehicle, or Carrier Herbs, that have an affinity for a certain organ or system within the body

Having shown how not all herbs are the same – or operate in exactly the same way, the author considers the main parts of the human body and their role, or function, in keeping us alive.

The first area she considers, from a herbalists perspective, is that of the process of ingestion and the actions of the stomach.

In An Herbalist’s Guide to Formulary Bellebuono offers advice on how various food types enhance the digestive process. She identifies which herbs work to cure illnesses and diseases in this area of the body and aid channels of waste elimination.

From there the author examines the human respiratory system and offers further advice on its care and healing – once again, by using herbs. Following on from there she next considers several other major areas of the human anatomy; such as the brain, the immune system, and the skin.

Finally she describes the effect of herbs upon hormones and the endocrine system, their use in pregnancy and childbirth, and finally their effect upon the urinary system.

The book closes with additional insights into herbalism via appendices and closes with a bibliography and index

Our Review of An Herbalist’s Guide to Formulary by Holly Bellebuono

From specific concoctions to heal Crones Disease through to natural remedies for stress and hair loss this is a book that is full of great advice on the use of herbs in healing. However, I found it to be much more than that and a fascinating exploration of the terrain covered by natural remedies along with their history and cultural context.

Rather than simply be a dull list of medical ailments and their associated plant cures the book is a genuinely intriguing journey into a world of healthcare that should be much better understood by the general public than it currently is.

Whilst many may indeed consider the subject to be overly complex, or even antiquated, An Herbalist’s Guide to Formulary by Holly Bellebuono stamps out its ground and goes a long way in dispelling these myths by bringing the subject up to date in an engaging and very grounded way.

I did not expect to enjoy reading this book anywhere near as much as I did and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in maintaining a healthy and strong physical and mental body using a few common but powerful types of plants.

Our Rating


Spirituality Today Magazine

An Herbalist’s Guide to Formulary: The Art and Science of Creating Effective Herbal Remedies by Holly Bellebuono (Llewellyn, Nov.) explores the ancient art of formulary with an award-winning herbalist and instructs on the creation of herbal medicines for acute and chronic conditions.

Publishers Weekly

I have always been fascinated by the idea of creating medicine from nature, the old practice some called hedge witchery. Bellebuono takes a practical and yes, scientific, look at the ways nature might be able to help heal or optimize the human body. She explains the history of using plants to heal, in both traditional western medicine and in more holistic practices. I found this guide to be very useful (the menopause section in particular), and was impressed that the author did not offer her recipes as the only answer, or the right answer for everyone. I recommend this book for anyone with a curious mind and an interest in learning alternative ways to care for themselves and their loved ones.

Rosemary Smith, Librarian, on NetGalley

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This is an amazing book. Holly Bellebuono takes a well-rounded, non-preachy attitude about her passion for herbal and plant medicine. It is well researched and would be a valuable addition to any herbalist's library or for anyone interested in using plant-based medicine for better health. If I have any criticism at all, it would be that the book deserves to be printed on better paper and have a color section. Maybe, in its second printing--and it certainly deserves to be popular enough for one--it can have a higher quality container for Holly's knowledge and wisdom.


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