It turns out that Mother Nature is a brilliant chemist. Our ancestors have used indigenous herbs in daily life for thousands of years due to these plants' ability to heal and promote good health. Now modern science has identified the compounds that give herbs their medicinal qualities, scent, and flavor. The extraordinary diversity of herbal plants has the potential to improve our health and well-being, and we are wholeheartedly incorporating herbs, both fresh and dried, into our lifestyles—for well-being, healing, gardening, beauty, ceremony, and a richer, fuller life.
Presented in three parts, Rodale's 21st-Century Herbal by Michael Balick first explores the historical relationship between people and herbal plants and how it has evolved over time. In the second part, readers will delve into an A-to-Z encyclopedia of 180 of the most useful herbs from around the globe, not only familiar herbs like bilberry and nasturtium, but also cutting-edge herbs from other cultures, like red bush tea and maca, that are now available in the West. The final section highlights how herbs create a "fuller" life and features herbal cooking techniques, ways to use herbs for beauty and the bath, ideas for daily herbal use (such as green cleaning, fragrances, decor, smudging, and dyeing), gardening and growing how-tos (with illustrated garden designs), and advice for holistic herbal pet care.