Book Review: Herbal GoddessSuzanne Hartmann June 1, 2016
Author: by Amy Jirsa
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Book Publication: 2015
Now that the warmer weather is here, our access to fresh herbs plucked from our own gardens or the local farmer’s market increases dramatically. Those who are looking for guidance about which herbs to grow or bring into their kitchens will find Herbal Goddess: Discover the Amazing Spirit of 12 Healing Herbs with Teas, Potions, Salves, Food, Yoga, and More of interest. In this book, we learn from the experiences of master herbalist and yoga instructor Amy Jirsa, who has plowed through the plant world’s overwhelming amount of information and culled the vast array down to 12 of her favourite healing herbs.
Although many of us have forgotten the once common wisdom that knew which plants were used for specific medicines, “herbalism is our cultural heritage,” according to Jirsa. And she believes that we all still carry this instinctual insight on how to heal ourselves – we only need to find the path back to that knowledge.
No home apothecary should be without these select go-to herbs for day-to-day living. Many of us will recognize popular herbs such as chamomile, rose, and lavender, which made the list for their well-known calming properties. And stay the spade: those dandelions and nettles you thought were weeds are also included! In fact, you might be surprised to learn that both of these wild plants provide valuable nutrients and can serve as amazing detoxifiers.
While the book can be read in any order, it’s divided into individual sections. Each short chapter focuses on one of the 12 herbs, and includes beautiful photographs so you’ll be able to identify the herb when you come across it. Also provided is basic herb terminology, details on what part of the herb is used, how to harvest it, and preparations such as drying blossoms. There are also recipes for making teas, body care products, and special dishes, as well as themed yoga poses.
Whether you’re a total novice or an experienced herbalist, Herbal Goddess will inspire you to dig deeper into the world of herbs. Jirsa suggests starting slowly and simply. Her advice is to take about a month’s time, and get to know each plant, one by one. With this type of close examination, you’ll really begin to understand the natural properties and effects of each herb. With these valuable tools firmly rooted, we may once again be able to take charge of our mental, physical, and spiritual health. Unleash the herbal goddess within yourself!
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Suzanne Hartmann is currently an MFA candidate at the University of King’s College. She has been awarded the National Association of Japanese Canadians Endowment Fund’s 2020 SEAD grant for her MFA project titled Minyō Memories: Celebrating the Postwar Japanese Canadian Community in Toronto.