This richly illustrated book gives detailed information on 125 herbs and trees including traditional uses, scientific studies, personal experiences, magical and spiritual uses, flower essences, directions for growing, harvesting, parts used, drying, processing and storing in a variety of ways, making medicines, oils, tinctures, salves, body care products, information on wildgathering, wise woman tradition, ceremony and earth awareness.
"A jewel written by an accomplished herbalist, the graceful flow of words makes the reading of this book like smooth honey to the soul."
Rosemary Gladstar, Herbal Healing for Women
"Here is an herbal that delivers what it promises. Let it open your wild heart to the healing herbs. The Wise Woman Way shines here - wild, generous and free..."
Susun Weed, Healing Wise, A Wise Woman Herbal
"Like a good friend, full of sage advice, information, warmth, compassion, spirituality, and humor. One of the best organized herb books I have ever read."
Jean English, editor Maine Organic Farmer and Gardener
"Gail Edwards wonderful book is very special because she approaches the process of working with herbs in a sacred manner. Her kind, wild heart, as well as the wisdom the plants have shared with her over many years, shine through this book."
Brooke Medicine Eagle, Buffalo Woman Comes Singing
"I just wanted to tell you how much I love your book, Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs. I bought it a couple of years ago and share it with all my sisters here in the mountains. I have read many herbals - and love many of them, but yours is my favorite by far! All of my herbalist sisters here think the same thing about your book. I think you are such a wonderful teacher and wise woman. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful word medicine and experiences with the plants - your service to the world! Bless you!
Cheryl Morrison, Asheville, NC
Introduction by Susun Weed
Illustrated by Lynne Harwood, Tess Hartford and Gail Edwards
Published by Ash Tree Publishing, Woodstock, New York and available at bookstores nationwide.
Would you like to read the Foreword of Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs? It follows:
My personal history with the world of herbs is deeply rooted. For more than twenty five years I have been growing, loving, learning about, and using herbs. I've been fortunate to study with a few wonderful teachers and have read countless books. However, it is through the development and cultivation of my personal relationship with the plants that my deepest understanding of herbs, and the special energies they offer us, has evolved.
My family and I live close to nature and appreciate her ways. Our home sits on the northern edge of a great open circle of field and sky, rimmed with trees. From here, we watch the sun and moon rise and set, behold the beauty of the changing seasons, enjoy the howl of coyote and the honking of geese. We lovingly tend gardens, gather plants from the pristine wild all around us, and make good medicine. We nurture our children, care for farm animals, and come together with friends and students. We burn wood for heat and cooking and carry our water. The minimal electrical energy we require is generated by the sun, while candles, moon and stars provide our night-time light. Choosing to live simply, to walk softly on our Mother Earth, we are blessed in countless ways. In this plain and simple manner many years have passed, one moving into the next. All the while nature has disclosed many secrets and wondrous tales.
I've gathered the information you'll find in this book over years of observation, experimentation, and personal study. Plants reveal their natures slowly, over many seasons. Gardening has given me great joy since I was a child. The garden, and the entire natural world, is a wonderland of opportunity for learning first hand from the herbs. In this book, I gladly share what I have learned through patient, intimate contact with them. These words are the ripened seeds that spill from my wild heart to the dark moist soil within your own.
Much of the information in this book comes by way of an invisible thread, via a long line reaching back in time beyond the written word. This is the herbal wisdom carried down to us through the oral tradition, through folklore and old wives' tales. This empirical knowledge, the memories and experiences passed along by shamans, healers, midwives, wise women, all those who have loved and healed throughout time, is the wisdom of our ancestors, the wise ways of our grandmothers from all cultures and traditions around the earth.
Some of the information contained in this book comes by way of the scientific tradition, via chemical analysis, laboratory research, and well documented studies. Often, modern science verifies what our grandmothers knew about the therapeutic value and healing benefits of the herbs. Science sheds new light, poses new questions or rephrases old ones, and, from time to time, raises cautions and issues warnings. Despite some skepticism, the scientific community has a growing respect for the potential healing properties of plants.
I believe that, as members of the human species, each of us possesses deep, inherent awareness of the plants and their uses. What is required to tap into this great body of timeless knowledge, the collective wisdom of our grandmothers, is a gentle shaking loose of long stored, genetically encoded memories. I call this process of developing intuitive understanding of and connection with the natural world, Opening Our Wild Hearts.
To comprehend fully the incredible love, intelligence, vital life force, and healing energy of the herbs and plants, we need to enter into resonance with them. To learn the many secrets of the plants, we need to learn their language. To learn the language of plants, we need to listen deeply, with an open, humble and grateful heart. We need to let the plants tell us, in their own ways, how they may benefit us. This requires nothing less than opening our wild hearts to the plant world. Humans have been doing so for tens of thousands of years.
Come, let us call forth some ancient memories together...
Gail Faith Edwards
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