5 Best Natural Health Books

5 Best Natural Health Books

I thought today I’d share my top 5 natural health reference books. Of course this is just a sampling of what is on my shelf, and I refer to a lot more than this; but these 5 will give you an idea of what to look for in several categories.

Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal

This book is packed full of helpful information for the entire family. Gladstar not only shares information on staying healthy, but herbal formulas that treat many common ailments. The chapters include “Taming Stress and Anxiety,” “Home Remedies for Everyday Ailments,” and ones for children, women, men, and elders. A practicing herbalist for over 35 years, Gladstar founded the California School of Herbal Studies, Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Center, and United Plant Savers(an organization “dedicated to the conservation and cultivation of at risk North American medicinal plants”)  I have used several recipes from this book with great success and recommend it highly.

The Green Pharmacy

Dr. James A. Duke is one of my favorite herbal authors. I started with this book and went on to purchase several of his others. An ethno-botanist retired from the USDA, Dr. Duke arranged The Green Pharmacy by ailment. Want to know what to do for canker sores? Go to page 114. He offers a brief discussion of each ailment and a list of herbs that may help the condition. His other books include The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook and Dr. Duke’s Essential Herbs.

The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine

With a 3rd edition due out in July, this wonderfully scientific book was written by Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND. Like The Green Pharmacy, it is arranged by ailment. Murray and Pizzorno however, discuss symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments from a medical perspective. They also cover diet, nutritional supplements, and herbal treatments—complete with dosages. One of my first natural health volumes, I still refer to the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine often.

Prescription for Nutritional Healing

With similar content as the previous book, Phyllis A. Balch, CNC and James F. Balch, MD wrote Prescription for Nutritional Healing for a layman to understand. Also arranged according to ailment, they give a comprehensive discussion of the condition, nutritional, herbal, and dietary recommendations, as well as lifestyle considerations. It also contains the section “Understanding the Elements of Health” which includes nutrition, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, etc. Sporting 776 pages of natural health wisdom, this volume is the most dog-eared and tattered on my shelf.

Nourishing Traditions

I often vacillate about where to keep this book—in the pantry with the cookbooks or on my shelf of health related volumes. In Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon challenges every politically correct nutritional dictum you have ever heard. This book contains chapters that explain the truth about fats, carbs, proteins, milk, salt, and a lot more. Be prepared, you will not read in this book to eat margarine for your heart disease, to cut back on your salt for high blood pressure, or to abstain from animal products for anything. Categorically a cookbook, Nourishing Traditions earns its place in my list because of the wealth of information in its introductory chapters and on the sidebars of every page.

If you’re just starting to build a natural health library, I hope this list gives you a place to start. There are so many books published, I know it can get overwhelming. Or, perhaps, you’ve already got a great library and have a few suggestions to share. Please do in the comment section below.


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