Angela Paine’s much anticipated new book looks closely at the healing properties of many common plants found in Britain, both ancient – from the last ice age to more ‘modern’ times – the Roman invaders. The 27 flora and fauna covered include some that are considered common weeds, everyday herbs which the reader will probably find in a garden centre, as well as wild flowers, vegetables and the odd tree or two. Each is given detailed scientific analysis, complimented by the historical context in which they were used medicinally by our ancient ancestors. This is followed by advice on how to apply, or in the case of the section of poisonous plants, not to apply, this ancient wisdom today. The historical and botanical information is presented in a painstakingly detailed yet clear and engaging way. The practical aspects, such as growing and harvesting, add to each plant’s accessibility to everyone – novice or seasoned herbalist. This is a genuine honouring of the plants that grow around us (many of the plants were exported to other lands, such as the USA with settlers, giving this book a universal appeal).
Every aspect of each plant is thoroughly explained and clear guidance given. The bibliography is extensive and very constructive, including pharmaceutical works, enabling further investigation by the reader. It is an invaluable work in both practical herbalism and Celtic or British history. Most of all, I enjoyed the general encouragement and genuine love of plants which flows throughout the book, truly inspiring everyone to ‘have a go’. The only down side I found was the lack of clear diagrams or photographs to help identify each plant; I understand that printing costs probably prohibited this inclusion, so therefore I would advise for safety reasons, any would-be plant collector to first view pictures of the particular plant before picking to use medicinally.
Nevertheless, this is a most notable work and one that will become a well-thumbed and loved favourite on my bookshelf – if it’s not in my bag as I go foraging, that is! A wonderful book and I would highly recommend it.
Book Details: Angela Paine. Healing Plants of the Celtic Druids. Moon Books (14 Dec. 2018). ISBN: 9781785355547.
Review Details: Healing Plants of the Celtic Druids was reviewed by Thea Prothero for Indie Shaman magazine and this review was published in Issue 41.
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