The Authentic Herbal Healer

Written by renowned herbalist and award-winning author Holly Bellebuono, The Authentic Herbal Healer packs useful information, education, and inspiration about using and understanding herbal medicine.

Organized by body system, the book includes detailed information on materia medica for all the major body systems, including the digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular, urinary, reproductive, endocrine, skin, and more. Bellebuono focuses on 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 describes traditional methods for combining and creating an effective formulary based on her two decades as a community herbalist, apothecary director, and teacher. As the director of The Bellebuono School of Herbal Medicine, Holly guides the reader through a welcoming and non-technical understanding of the physiology of the body and explains how herbs function so the reader can design a holistic treatment for both acute and chronic conditions.

Bonus sections include a complete list and guide to edible herbs, a section on wildcrafting (harvesting) wild medicinal plants, and Holly’s foundation for preparing an effective herbal formula for optimal healing. The book also includes a thorough section on personal self-empowerment and the philosophy of health and healing—a must for those involved in healing practices, alternative health care, and working with clients to address health and wellness.

Known for bridging pharmacology with spirituality and scientific inquiry with intuitive care, author Holly Bellebuono draws from more than 2 decades of herbal medicine experience. 

Practical, useful, and modern, The Authentic Herbal Healer is a vital resource for every herbal, alternative, or integrative medicine practitioner.

Pages: 387

Photos: black and white

Style: reference or textbook

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.


This book is really more of a textbook. It's packed with info and I haven't begun to scratch the surface. I began learning about herbalism about 6 months ago, and Bellebuono's books have been the most helpful, user-friendly, and practical books I have found to date. The Authentic Herbal Healer is more of an encyclopedic reference book; there are some suggestions for possible herbal formulas, but you won't find pages and pages of recipes. If you just want to dabble in herbs and are after recipes for teas, salves, etc, get The Essential Herbal first. Bellebuono is very readable and approachable for the average layperson; you won't find advice to "menstruate into the earth" or "burn some of your hair as an offering to the plant you're harvesting" here.


Amanda F.

This thick paperback textbook has three hundred and eighty seven pages which includes over two hundred pages dedicated to specific herbal medicines for different body systems, symptoms and ages along with over one hundred and thirty-five pages of materia medica, a breakdown of each herb or plant and its application. There is also an extensive reference, bibliography and index. Author Bellebuono begins her book with a history of herbal formulary. In the first section, there are seventeen chapters about herbal healing for different bodily symptoms. Example chapters include digestion, the endocrine system, inflammation and pain, the nervous system, tonics and nourishments and the different age stages of women and men. Each chapter usually starts with general diseases or illnesses and then explains herbs or plants that aid or help diminish the problem, giving gray-highlighted boxed formulas in tea, tincture, salve, lotion and oil recipes. The writer promotes her final chapter on positive self-empowerment for the herbalist. One can look up an illness or symptom in the first part and read herbal options and then research further the actual herbs used in the remedy. For instance, under the first section chapter on memory and cognitive thought, one learns chocolate, ginger, ginkgo and hawthorn are a few herbs to use. In the second section under ginkgo, one reads the herb's fruit and seed were historically used but now the leaf is used with cerebral, vasodilator, nervine, antioxidant and anticoagulant actions for the cerebrovascular, cardiovascular and nervous system. A contraindication could be possible anticoagulant medications. It could be for cognitive disability if used with lemon balm, bacopa monieri, guta kola and rosemary. The herb is prepared in tincture, extract or capsule format and is not edible. With the plethora of herbal medicinal options and information that the book has to offer, this is an educational tool for any herbalist, holistic healer or person who is looking for alternative choice to standard medicine practices.


Conny Withay

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