The Complete Book of Herbs: A Practical Guide to Growing and Using Herbs

August 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Guides

With more than 340,000 copies sold in hardcover, this essential, full-color resource is now available in paperback. Revealing the enormous potential of herbs, this sourcebook includes information on planting, growing, and harvesting herbs, as well as the main uses of herbs. It also offers an exhaustive identification guide, recipes, ideas for gifts, and much more.

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3 Responses to “The Complete Book of Herbs: A Practical Guide to Growing and Using Herbs”
  1. R. Tynan says:
    129 of 130 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The First and Last Book You’ll Ever Need on Herbs, May 28, 2000
    By 
    R. Tynan (USA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: The Complete Book of Herbs: A Practical Guide to Growing and Using Herbs (Mass Market Paperback)

    Look no further, this book will give you everything you ever wanted to know and more about herbs. The only thing else you might want is a more elaborate book on herb garden design…but don’t be dismayed the section on herb garden design is very complete and inspiring.

    ACTUALLY TELLS YOU HOW TO USE THEM! My wife and I love to use herbs particularly culinary, tea, and medicinal. This was the only book we came across that had detailed and useful information that was easily understood on how to use herbs in practical ways.

    The book covers garden design, making herbal decorations, use in the kitchen with many recipes, household uses of herbs, beauty care use of herbs, essential oils, health uses of herbs, cultivation and harvesting of herbs and a very complete index of over 100 herbs. The herbal index is great. It contains full color photographs of the foliage, flowers, seed, dried leaves, and roots as applicable to each herb. A short history is given along with cultivation, harvest information, and uses (including what parts for what use).

    It has a nice section on making potpourri. The beauty use section is complete with recipes. The table of essential oils is very complete and useful. The health section describes different general preparation techniques and an A-Z guide of ailments with accompanying herbal remedies. The herb cultivating section is complete and useful.

    The title says it all, get this book and you will learn something new about herbs every time you pick it up. We reference it all the time. It is invaluable to any gardening or health library.

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  2. K. Bourn "bohemiangirlpdx" says:
    56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Absolutely EVERYTHING you need from an herb book!, July 10, 2003
    By 
    K. Bourn “bohemiangirlpdx” (Portland, OR United States) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    You truly could not ask for a more complete reference on growing and using herbs. Lesley Bremness’ book, beautifully illustrated throughout with sumptuous color photographs, is the first book I turn to for all my herb-related questions, whether they relate to garden planning, how tall a particular herb will grow, or an herbal remedy for dry skin. She provides extensive, well-organized, easy-to-read information on the cultivation and uses of perhaps 100 herbs, going well beyond the “usual suspects” to include such herbs as Elecampane, Melilot, and Houseleek.

    One of the best aspects of the book is its 100+ page “Herbal Index.” A full page (sometimes two) is dedicated to each variety, with good-sized color photos depicting the stem, leaf, seed, flower, root, dried flowers, dried leaves, crushed roots, other varieties, etc. A small photo tops of the growing plant tops a sidebar. This approach makes herb identification much easier than the books that rely on the garden glam shots where the herb looks gorgeous but its particulars can be difficult to see. Each herb page begins with a description of any lore historically ascribed to the plan and perhaps the origins of its name. For instance, the Borage description notes that the Old Masters often used the “beautiful pure blue” flowers to paint the Madonna’s robe.

    The sidebars in the Herbal Index pack an amazing amount of information into a relatively small amount of space: Details about cultivation, including soil and sunlight preferences, harvesting and preservation, and the decorative, culinary, household, cosmetic, and medicinal uses of its various parts. More details on the uses can be found in the “Using Herbs” sections.

    Interspersed in the Herbal Index are certain theme sections depicting a handful of herbs grown for flowers or foliage and salad herbs, for instance.

    The one drawback to the Herbal Index, as other reviewers have noted, is its arrangement by Latin name, rather than common name. Since the common name appears in good-sized print, flipping through to find what you’re looking for isn’t burdensome. Resorting to the thorough index at the end is another option.

    This drawback is more than made up for by the thorough information in the Herbal Index and the 100 pages of well-illustrated uses for herbs. Here, the ideas go well beyond the usual recipes for meals and potpourri. The Herbal Decorations chapter includes lovely photographs of nosegays annotated with the Victorian language of flowers meanings, herbal garlands, herbal wreaths, and herbal table decorations. The culinary section features recipes for herbs the average person doesn’t think to cook with, such as lovage soup and a marigold glaze for ham. The Herbs for the Household chapter discusses natural ways to deter pests using herbs, a marjoram-based furniture wax, horsetail “scouring pads,” plus instructions for herbal dyes, herbal papers, scented ink, herbal toys, and a perfumed box. A variety of soaps, facial cleansers, bath additives, facial steams, floral waters and hair rinses appear in the Herbs for Beauty chapter. The Herbs for Health organizes medicinal uses of herbs alphabetically by ailment.

    The book begins with a section on herb garden design. Among the themes illustrated are plans for a moonlight garden, a delightful circular children’s garden, a Chinese garden, and an Egyptian-style paradise garden. Bremness also provides plans for gardens ranging in size from containers on a patio to a small corner of a yard to a large all-purpose garden (which seems to truly have a bit of everything). The planning section is the one place in the book where Bremness relies on some finely detailed color pencil drawings rather than photographs, although she still mixes in a delectable array of inspiring color photos.

    “The Complete Book of Herbs” is a resource that herb gardeners, whether novice or experienced, will turn to again and again. I continue to find it as useful today as when I started my first garden some seven years ago. Treat yourself to the hardback edition if you can find it and afford it. It’s well worth the investment.

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  3. Enrique Torres "Rico" says:
    41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Terrific reference material, October 23, 2001
    By 
    Enrique Torres “Rico” (San Diegotitlan, Califas) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      

    This review is from: The Complete Book of Herbs: A Practical Guide to Growing and Using Herbs (Mass Market Paperback)

    Growing one’s herbs is satisfying but using them completes the cycle. If you’ve ever wondered what to do with all the herbs you’ve managed to put in your garden over the years this book can help you. If you are just starting out with herbs this book can get you going properly. Not only does it have recipes but it has some ideas that I never could have imagined let alone used. The bulk of the book is dedicated to the herbal index which is extremely helpful. Each illustrated herb is broken down and expalined simply as to it’s use, from root to leaves. The only problem I found with this section is that it is organized by their botanical names, which unless you’re so inclined is difficult to find quickly. This is a minor problem that is remedied by the oversized common name, which of course is not alphabetized but more recognizable. A page is dedicated to over 100 of the most common herbs used. It tells you how to cultivate the individual herb and it’s uses, which includes the medicinal use. Even if I don’t use all the herbs or have them growing in my garden it is fascinating to know the historical and contemporary use of herbs. This book is a constant learning experience that can be read over and over. A perfect garden companion for that break under a tree. The knowledge can prove to be invaluable. Even such common herbs as Thyme can present posssibly new insights into it’s benefits. Have trouble sleeping? The leaves of Thyme can help insomnia as well as stimulate the production of white corpusules to resist infection amongst it’s many other attributes. There is much more information than I need here but there is something for everyone, from herbal dyes, to baths and massages and to the ever popular potpourri. This is, as the title suggests, the complete book on herbs. A great book for the kichen or to help you plan your herb garden, this book has as many uses as the author presents uses for the herbs.

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