Alchemy Of Herbs

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“Alchemy of Herbs puts the power of some of the most potent herbal medicines on the planet into your hands. These medicines have been tried and tested for millennia. And now, by combining ancient wisdom with modern scientific understanding, Rosalee de la Forêt helps you put nature’s pharmacy to work. Whether you want more energy, better digestion, deeper sleep, or to get sick less often, Alchemy of Herbs will give you the knowledge you need to restore your health and to contribute to lasting wellness. At once inspirational and deeply practical, this is a book to treasure, and to keep close at hand for the rest of your life.”
— Ocean Robbins, co-host and CEO of The Food Revolution Network

“It’s rare to find a writer who can describe complex ideas with such clarity and skill that anyone can grasp their subject—Rosalee de la Forêt is one of those souls. In this book, she’s broken down the energetic qualities and medicinal uses of herbs into an accessible and coherent format. If you’ve ever struggled with matching herbs to people—the true gift of an heterosexuality gives you the tools to understand how herbs can effectively ‘nudge’ the body’s leanings back into a state of balance. Alchemy of Herbs contains detailed medicinal profiles, zesty recipes, and time-honored plant wisdom. The perfect makings of a top-shelf herbal book that you will treasure for years, and turn to for inspiration time and time again.”
Juliet Blankespoor, herbalist and founder of the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine

“This is a wonderfully accessible guide to introducing a medicine chest of healing plants in daily life. The information is presented in a refreshingly approachable way, by an author who loves both herbs and the simple joy they bring into our lives. The abundant recipes show how to access the healing gifts of the herbs as food, created to be both delicious and efficacious. True herbalist!” David Hoffman n, herbalist and author of Medical Herbal ism and Holistic Herbal

“Another green blessing of herbal information from a practicing herbalist. What a delight to look at the herbs that Rosalee de la Forêt loves and to encounter her avid desire to include you in the joy of herbal medicine.”
Susun S. Weed, author of the Wise Woman Herbal series

“I first met Rosalee de la Forêt several years ago and was immediately impressed with her knowledge, passion for herbal medicine, and ability to clearly communicate this information. It turns out she is also a very good writer, and it is with great pleasure that I now hold her first book in my hands. Alchemy of Herbs is a wonderful introduction to 29 common herbs and spices, allowing you to understand how to use them safely and effectively for home health care, how to make your own kitchen medicines, and how to make tasty recipes so you can incorporate them into your diet.”
David Winston, RH(AHG), clinical herbalist, ethnologist, and author of Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief

“So many books geared toward those just beginning to explore the world of medicinal plants offer very basic ‘take this herb for that problem’ information, under the assumption that the foundational underpinnings of herbalist are somehow ‘too hard’ for beginners to grasp. Here, in plain English, Rosalee de la Forêt shows us that the way that herbalists choose herbs for individual people with particular imbalances isn’t some magical power or a skill attainable only by those who can devote their lives to intense study. Instead, it is rooted in common sense patterns that anyone can learn to recognize, given a model to do so. That this is done using familiar herbs and spices available to all is an invaluable bonus. A book for everyone.”
jim McDonald, herbalist and founder of herb craft.org

“Herbal medicine can offer so much. But where to start? How do you know what herbs are good for you, and how to separate fact from fiction? Rosalee de la Forêt presents an excellent approach to learning the rich world of herbs. As an experienced educator and practitioner, she weaves together tradition, experience, and science to present a holistic view of each of the plants, while providing specific and practical advice for how you can bring them into your home and life. Alchemy of Herbs is a treasure for any health-seeker’s bookshelf.”
Renee Davis, RH(AHG), founder of Gold root Botanical Medicine

“Many books introduce readers to herbs and their activities, but Rosalee de la Forêt skillfully introduces people instead to herbal ism—the nuanced art of matching plants to people. Drawing energetic traditions into a modern context and right into our kitchens, she provides a simple and elegant system to look beyond symptoms and generic cures and into the heart of true herbal healing.”
Larsen Bunche, clinical herbalist and co-director of Vermont Center for Integrative Herbal ism

“Alchemy of Herbs is a must-read for any herbalist, whether fledgling or experienced! Part reference guide, part recipe book, and part herbal, this is a book that every herbalist will reach for again and again. Rosalee de la Forêt has a knack for teaching others how to use herbs in the best way possible by matching people to herbs. This book is the definitive guide for the subject, giving anyone the confidence to use herbs to their fullest potential. Each chapter is engaging, relaying herbal information through a variety of anecdotal stories, scientific studies, and traditional usage, mixed with a variety of unique and inspiring recipes and gorgeous photographs. This is a book you will want to leave sitting out on your desk, coffee table, and kitchen counter, all at the same time.” Kristine Brown, RH(AHG), herbalist and author/illustrator of Herbal Roots Zine

“Alchemy of Herbs is a sensory wonder, bringing us our medicines in the most delightful and tantalizing way they can be experienced: as culinary medicines. Step away from the bottle and the capsule and experience herbs in the full richness they can offer both as medicines and as partners in a life rich with plants.”
Bevin Clare, associate professor of Integrative Health at Maryland University and president of the American Herbalist Guild

“As a French herbalist, I have a particular affinity for herbs that are both culinary and medicinal. We have a long tradition of healing food where I live in the South of France, mainly through the incorporation of aromatic herbs in our daily meals. Alchemy of Herbs is what I had been hoping for for years. Rosalee de la Forêt sends us a very important message: health does not necessarily mean yucky potions. This book brings together beautiful pictures, tasty recipes, and health recommendations from an expert healer. In a nutshell: this an invitation to cooking for a long and healthy life.”
Christophe Bernard, founder of Althea-Provence.com

“Informative, concise, knowledgeable, and generous . . . Rosalee de la Forêt’s sophisticated approach and her personal experience with herbs comes through in her beautiful recipes, which eloquently combine food and herbal medicine. Keep this book on your kitchen shelf—you’ll refer to it for healing and inspiration, always!” John Flattery, author of Southwest Foraging

“In this inspiring and practical book, Rosalee de la Forêt empowers you to awaken your senses in order to choose the best herbs for your needs. And what better way to experience the benefits and pleasures of herbs and spices than in the kitchen? Whether you’re brand-new to herbs or have been using them for years, you’ll love these enticing recipes for delicious drinks, everyday meals, and simple remedies.”
Emily Han, author of Wild Drinks & Cocktails: Handcrafted Squashes, Shrubs, Switches, Tonics, and Infusions to Mix at Home

“In Alchemy of Herbs, author Rosalee de la Forêt joyously shares her deep wisdom of herbs to inspire and empower us to transform our kitchens into nature’s apothecary where delicious, healing foods and herbal remedies pour forth. Golden Milk, Hawthorn Cordial, and Nettle Leaf Dukkah are just a sampling of the many tasty, curative recipes offered. She unveils the enchanting, yet readily accessible world of herbal ism that makes me fall right back in love with the plant kingdom; and you will too!”
Dina Falconi, herbalist and author of Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook

“In her wonderfully written book, Alchemy of Herbs, Rosalee de la Forêt encourages the reader to ‘break free from the insanity of the One-Solution Syndrome’ by choosing personalized herbal formulations based on what our own senses tell us our bodies need. What better scenario is there for using our senses to divine this knowledge than cooking with flavorful and aromatic healing herbs and spices? Self-empowerment begins in the kitchen as Rosalee tempts us with dozens of mouth-watering recipes and encourages us to ‘move forward with the mind-set of an explorer.’ Those new to plant-based healing as well as experienced herbalists will find that this beautifully illustrated book exemplifies the heart and soul of herbal healing through delicious food as powerful medicine.”
Jeff Carpenter, author of The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer: The Ultimate Guide to Producing High-Quality Herbs on a Market Scale

“Rosalee de la Forêt has done a wonderful job of melding both the culinary and medicinal uses of herbs in a way that allows just about anyone to incorporate herbs into their daily lives. The recipes in Alchemy of Herbs are not only very appealing, but simple enough for the novice cook or herbalist. For those who are looking to spice up their lives and improve their health, I would say that this is the book for you.”
Natalie Vickery, herbalist and founder of Thermostatically.com

“Rosales de la Forêt has broken down some of the more complex parts of herbal medicine into clear and straightforward pieces. It’s very practical, but not at the expense of art and beauty. This book will be a classic.”
Traci Pi-card, herbalist and founder of FellowWorkersFarm.com

“It’s exciting to watch more and more people becoming empowered in taking better care of themselves and their families with the use of herbs and spices. Rosaleen de la Fort shares concepts like energetic and taste in such a way that makes it easier for people to understand them, and how to find which herbs are best for them as individuals. I’m sure that this book will prove invaluable to those wishing to make that leap into feeling comfortable and confident in making herbs a part of their lives. Everyone will learn something new!”
Tina Sams, editor of Essential Herbal Magazine and author of Healing Herbs

“I highly recommend Rosaleen de la Fort’s lovely collection of personal stories, recipes, and herbal information. Reading it is like working in the kitchen alongside the delightful Rosaleen, whose talent and experience with herbs is expert. Her book is unique in that it explains both the chemistry and the energetic of medicinal herbs and at the same time introduces their use in a friendly and inviting way.”
Holly Bellebuono, author of The Healing Kitchen and The Essential Herbal for Natural Health

“Rosaleen de la Fort’s book is an excellent introduction to the energetic and science behind the use of our most common culinary and medicinal herbs, providing the reader with a solid foundation for further learning and exploration.”
Todd Calderon, Dip. Cl.H., RH(AHG), CAP(NAMA), Ayurvedic practitioner, medical herbalist, and author of Food as Medicine?

What you once saw as everyday flavorings, will soon become your personal kitchen apothecary.

While using herbs might have seemed complicated or costly, this book offers a way to learn that’s as simple and inexpensive as cooking dinner.

With the guidance of renowned herbalist Rosalee de la Forêt, you’ll learn how to match the properties of each plant to your specific needs, for a truly personalized approach to health for you and your family.

In addition to offering dozens of inspiring recipes, Rosalee examines the history and modern-day use of 29 popular herbs, supporting their healing properties with both scientific studies and in-depth research into herbal energetic s.

Grow your knowledge of healing herbs and spices.

Start using nature’s pharmacy to feed, heal, and nurture your whole family.

Did you know there’s a powerful herbal medicine chest in your kitchen?

Imagine being prepared for that next cold, scrape, headache, digestive issue, stressful day, or sleepless night with simple ingredients from your cupboard. Instead of pills, reach for:
Cinnamon Tea to soothe your throat . . . Garlic Hummus to support your immune system . . . Ginger Lemon Tea for cold and flu symptoms . . . Cayenne Salve to relieve sore muscles . . . Cardamom Chocolate Mousse Cake for heart health . . . A glass of Spiced Cold Brew Coffee as a powerful antioxidant . . .

Alchemy of Herbs will show you how to transform common ingredients into foods and…

Alchemy of Herbs reintroduces us to familiar kitchen herbs and spices, shows them in a new light, and helps transform our perception of their value. What were once common, everyday flavorings will become your personal kitchen apothecary. Herbalist Rosalee de la Forte shows you how to match the properties of each plant to your own unique needs, helping you create a truly personalized approach to health for you and your family. While using herbs can often seem complicated or costly, this book offers a way to learn that’s as simple and inexpensive as cooking dinner. In addition to offering dozens of inspiring recipes, the author examines the history and modern-day use of 29 popular herbs, supporting their beneficial properties with both scientific studies and in-depth research into herbal energetic.

I was excited to hear about Rosalee De La Foretaste new book, Alchemy of Herbs*, as the author is part of the Learning Herbs site that I have followed for years.  I highly enjoy their blog posts and newsletter for kids about the benefits of plants that you can find in the wild.  Our family makes heavy use of healing plants (especially wild ones), and I was eager to learn more.

The book includes information and recipes for 29 recommended herbs.  These are:  black pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, fennel, garlic, ginger, holy basil, lavender, mustard, nutmeg, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, sage, thyme, turmeric, nettle, elder, hawthorn, lemon balm, rose, tea, artichoke, cacao, chamomile, coffee, dandelion, ashwagandha and astragalus.

There are things I loved about the book but there were also things that annoyed me again and again.  None of these things might bother you at all, but I’ll list them in case it’s helpful.

  • This is a nicely sized, thorough book for the low price (currently low anyway, the suggested retail price is higher), especially since it has color photos.
  • The author gives a ton of medical information about herbs in general and each specific herb she profiles, including citing references to a vast number of scientific studies.
  • I enjoyed reading about the hot/cold, dry/moist aspect of herbal healing in the Western tradition and how the plants corresponded, especially since I recently attended a workshop about the similar teachings in Chinese medicine with Yin/Yang.
  • I like the idea of using these plants as foods and beverages, not in pill form.
  • I was frequently frustrated by the measurements.  The author explained that she gives dosage information in grams because it’s easier to weigh but I would have so appreciated a general estimation of how much that is.  For instance, she says about cinnamon: “The therapeutic amount for cinnamon is 1 to 6 grams per day.”  How much is that?  Could she just give me a rough idea of whether that’s a teaspoon or a quarter cup?  Anything????  Every single plant is that way, and while I understand that you want to weigh for precision, if I am planning whether to buy a bunch of something I need some sort of clue about the quantities and what sort of amount I’m going to need to work into our family’s diet. 
  • I was expecting the herbs to be ones that I could forage (gather wild) or purchase inexpensively in a grocery store.  This is not generally the case.  For instance, artichokes are listed as one of the 29 recommended herbs — but not the flower part that we eat, which is sold in stores.  She recommends consuming 2 to 6 grams of artichoke leaves (found lower on the plant, she says) or a tincture 3 times a day.  I live in Minnesota and am trying to grow artichokes in my garden this year (which requires an insanely long starter period inside first) but artichoke leaves are not something most of us have access to.  The only recipes she offers for artichoke leaves are for a tea and for bitters.  Otherwise, this seems like one of those “take 3 capsules” kinds of things.  Not many of us are able to find artichoke leaves and there are no cooking recipes in the book to use them even if we could. 
  • I would have loved more suggestions for how to use the herbs.  Each section goes into some rather thorough information about how the herb can be helpful for various ailments, and then there is the recommended therapeutic dose in grams and generally about two recipes.  Some of the recipes seem interesting but what I would really appreciate is a LIST of good ways to use that much of each herb REGULARLY in cooking.  After all, the author points out that we should consume most of them often and in large amounts.  It would have been simple and so helpful for each herb to have a list at the end of its section for other ways to incorporate it into regular meals such as “Other ways to incorporate X into meals include:  stir a teaspoon into oatmeal, add to smoothies, stir into yogurt, add one teaspoon to chili…”.  After she convinced me of the benefits for some of the plants listed, I really wanted to use them but had no clue what else to do with them besides the couple of recipes she gave.
  • This is also not a book for foragers, which surprises me since she’s affiliated with one of my favorite foraging websites.  There is no ID information given on the plants that you can gather in the wild.  There’s not even information on how to grow them in your garden.
  • Finally, vegans and vegetarians take note:  While the author says repeatedly that people who follow any diet can use the book, she includes quite a lot of meat, honey and other animal products in the recipes.  This is probably not a drawback for most, but I’m mentioning it for those who care.  For instance, the only recipes for lemon balm are for an infusion, for flavored water, and for lemon balm chicken.  If you do not consume animal products, then the few recipes included may be of even less use.

In all, I do consider this a helpful book, but it was not as good as I felt it could be.  At the current price, it’s probably an excellent addition to your bookshelf  (or a worthy book to put on hold at the library).  I will keep looking for that perfect herbal book for my family, though.

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