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"Not since I read

Henry David Thoreau's "Wild Fruits"
have I enjoyed such intimate words
on the bounty that surrounds us everyday." 

--Tom Owens

out of stock

The Essential Herbal

The Essential Herbal has quickly become a treasured favorite book, resting happily on the shelves of America's herbalists, students, and crafters. We've been blown away by the response to The Essential Herbal, honored to hear from herbal crafters from around the country who have dog-eared its pages, tried and enjoyed every recipe, underlined and highlighted their favorite parts, and given multiple copies as gifts. 

Written in a warm and welcoming style, and called "among the best of the herb classics," it is a favorite kitchen-crafting guide to herbal medicine. This is the "art" in the "art-and-science" of herbal medicine!

This friendly guide to herbal medicine-making addresses common health issues and shows, step-by-step, how to make and use natural remedies for healing.


Based on Holly's 20 years of herbal medicine and women's natural health experience, this guidebook profiles 13 versatile, safe, and easy Essential Herbs -- a baker's dozen -- to help you feel healthy, naturally. Packed with advice, tips, and more than 200 recipes for every member of the family, The Essential Herbal for Natural Health has become a favorite reference for the whole family.


Holly chose the herbs in this book specifically for learning the basics of herbal preparations; she lists helpful protocols throughout as well as easy and fun recipes to address a wide variety of issues. The book is charmingly illustrated with detailed line drawings by artist Geninne Zlatkis.


Inspirational. This book is an excellent start for someone who is just beginning to use herbs.  Beautifully produced on cream paper with soft green illustrations, it makes herbs and their remedies both accessible and appealing and encourages you to respect the lore of generations by passing on what you learn.

Juno Magazine (Britain)

Written in the warm open style of the best of the herb classics, Holly Bellebuono’s “An Essential Herbal for Natural Health” embraces the art of  ‘kitchen & backyard medicine’ and anchors it firmly to hearth and home.     An eminently   practical guidebook filled with Holly’s favorite herbal recipes, healthful hints, and practical suggestions, The Essential Herbal is also an inspiring and powerful treatise to this ancient healing tradition.   As Holly states in her opening remarks, ‘above all, enjoy the process, love the plants and share what you learn’.

Rosemary Gladstar

With helpful information on identifying and harvesting the essential herbs, The Essential Herbal for Natural Health is a treasure trove of simple recipes

and ideas for healthy living for the whole family. Holly's love of the

natural world and the healing power of the plants around her is contagious!

It will undoubtedly inspire readers in their own backyard herbalism

adventures.  As my own family learns more about the tools to health and

wellness growing all around us, I'm grateful to have Holly's book along as

our friendly guide on the journey.

Amanda Blake Soule

SouleMama blogger, author of The Creative Family, editor of Taproot Magazine

Not since I read Henry David Thoreau's "Wild Fruits" have I enjoyed such intimate words on the bounty that surrounds us everyday. It is clear that Ms. Bellebuono's years of study and practice have taken her across time, into past generations, and back again. She has returned from her journey with much to offer on behalf of those who came before. There is great value in this... long term value. Understanding and accepting this precept, perhaps we might all take a step down Ms. Bellebuono's path to share something with our community elders, our folk heroes, our poets, and our ancestors. Once we take that step we may find ourselves thinking about our parents, our grandparents, their parents and their communities and that they all relied upon this common language and understanding of their natural environment. Ms. Bellebuono speaks this common language with us in this wonderful collection of thoughts, experiences, and recipe's for a more natural, healthy, and timeless life. While this book concentrates on practical applications of herbalism for our time, it truly is about so much more.

Tom Owens

A fascinating compendium of herbal formulas for every common problem, from cradle cap to athlete's foot. Something for everyone here.

Susun Weed

A balanced, basic introduction to creating herbal medicines; recommended.

Library Journal

If you are searching for ways to nurture those you love in a natural and kind way, this book will make you very happy. I have spent the last few days immersed in this book, and now that I am ready to start making teas and potions I feel like I have a wise aunt standing at my side.

Coming from the Appellations, and now with an herbal apothecary in New England, Holly Bellebuono's knowledge of plants and their lore spans the country side, but here she narrows it down to focus mainly on thirteen common herbs.
She walks with you from the fields and woods into the pantry, helping you find, pick and preserve the herbs giving you their herbal history and benefits as well.
There are 200 recipes for healing teas, tinctures, salves and lotions. The recipes are short (usually no more than 6 ingredients) with easy and clear directions.
I started with the Warming hand and foot salve and it is great!

Lovely hormone tea, Everyday immune tonic, Heart burn tea, Lavender-Bees wax Salve and Rose brandy are on my list to make next.

Thank you Holly for giving us a little more control over what we put on and in our bodies.

Kirstin Uhrenholdt

author, The Family Dinner; and The Family Cooks

Hi Holly,
I live here in Watauga County and purchased your book when you were here this spring (you autographed it for me in Earthfare). I just wanted to let you know how important your book has been to me in getting me to start making some of my own remedies. I had already "played" with using local plants for salads, but I have definitely paid more attention to local plants and have begun using them with the recipes in your book. Then I had great success helping a friend with stomach pain with catnip tea; such a simple thing but so effective. So thanks for your beautiful book that has spurred me on to creating. The liver cleanse is making, and the mint/nettles syrup tonic  is in the fridge.


This book is full of information. i have used a couple of the recipes, and the have all worked. i recommended this book.

Nicole Rambeau

I just picked this book up and am thrilled in one place I can find such helpful information about a dozen or so herbs..that I can easily grow and now use in recipes from salves, to teas, to tinctures for colds, energy, good health etc..a beautiful book....something that will now sit on my shelf along with Nourishing Traditions..a similar book but with recipes for food!


Pat Reinhardt

A well-written, easy to understand book for the layperson and professional. Gives us the thirteen essential herbs for healing and maintaining our health. These thirteen herbs are readily found in our backyards and fields. The book is well organized, which is helpful - especially, for giving us places to order herbs, beeswax, or necessary equipment to make salves, tinctures and other healing concoctions. Most of the herbal remedies can be made with common kitchen equipment and readily available products from your local store. Bottom line for me - if the world
were to fall to pieces and I was to go deep into the back-country - this would be one of the books I would take with me to survive.

William Waterway Marks

I am new to herbalism, and among all the books I've gotten from the library and Amazon, this continues to be my favorite, as well as the most useful. I do wish that there was a more comprehensive appendix of herbs and their various uses, but the quality of the rest of the book more than makes up for it. I have made a ton of teas and several salves from this book and have loved them all. There are so many family-friendly formulas and remedies for just about anything you can think of. I also appreciate that the author writes like a regular person, none of this mystical new-agey tree-hugging stuff (sorry if that's you, just not my thing). Very user-friendly, accessible, and fun. Even though I've read through it several times, I keep grabbing it to curl up on the couch with when I just want something to browse through. If you're new to herbalism and just want to buy one book to try it out, this is the one!

UPDATE: I just got Bellebuono's new book, The Authentic Herbal Healer, and it is that "comprehensive appendix of herbs" I was looking for. It is much more textbook-like in nature than The Essential Herbal, and it is excellent. Both books have their place, and they are both wonderful!

Amanda F.

I wish that this had been the first book I'd read on the subject, instead of finding it years into my interest in herbal medicine. It's simple, straightforward, and well-organized. I love the author's tone and attitude, recipes that work as teas, tinctures, or salves, as well as the focus on a handful of common herbs instead of special-order botanical supplies. I will be using this book more than most of the others on my shelf!

Scottie Hill

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