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Southwest Medicinal Plants

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Member Reviews

Southwest Medicinal Plants is an excellent book on wildcrafting (harvesting plants from their natural or wild habitat primarily for food or medicinal purposes) across 8 states in the southwest.  Each specific plant described includes: how to identify plant species; it’s medicinal uses; where, when, and how to wildcraft; and even provides tables for each plant specifying herbal preparations from the plants for teas, tinctures, lotions, and juicing and poultices when applicable.  You will find that many plants which you may consider weeds are actually medicinal herbs.
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Visually engaging and informative plant entry kept my interest and so I think this would be a solid book to have to reference. I can't get over the entries for naturalized non-native (to the region) plants however.
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This book is a guide to how to forage for wild medicinal plants. This is part of a series of regional plant guides from Timber Press. This particular guide covers the Southwest region. (Arizona, New Mexico, Southern California, and parts of Texas, Utah, Oklahoma, Colorado, Nevada.) Medicinal plants were known to our ancestors long before we had pharmacies and modern medicines. Learning about these plants is fascinating!

The author makes it easy to learn by breaking it down for us into manageable learning bits. First, there is a whole section that talks about the philosophy of collecting and how to do it respectfully. Then, you learn what tools will be needed for wild-harvesting. There is a section showing how to prepare the plants after they are harvested. So, how to make tinctures, how to make poultices, etc. There is a section telling one how to correctly harvest the plants too. You have to do it so that the future generations of the plant are considered. Don’t be a greedy harvester, but only take what you need. And harvest in ways that don’t kill the plant where possible. The methods are detailed in the book. We then learn what seasons are best for harvesting which plants. This is useful since some vary in the amount of medicine in them by season! The introductory sections are excellent and you should not skip over them before you proceed to the species accounts. 

After all the introductory things have been presented, we get to the meat of the book. Most of the book is made up of the species accounts. For each plant that is featured, we learn a lot of details. For example, a species account might include the following: Common and scientific names, what part to use, what is it used for, how to identify it, where and when to harvest, how to harvest it, its medicinal uses, how to protect future harvests, and preparation directions. 

Each account has photos of the plant to help you identify it. Different plant parts are shown, depending on what you are supposed to harvest, or what is useful to identify that plant. The photos are nice and clear and are in color. Some photos show the plant as it is being prepared or harvested, so you can see what that should look like. 

What I liked about this book: 

It seemed that the author has used all the plants and preparations that are detailed here. So, the reader gets the benefit of his experience and he can warn if, for example, a particular plant tastes bitter or something like that. So, you are prepared in case you try it yourself. You will have a better idea what to expect. I also liked that the sections were very thorough. Each description is detailed enough to identify the plant, and you get great directions on how to harvest what you need, as well as how to prepare it properly. There are a lot of details that require one to learn in the field and the author saves the reader time by presenting those in the text. So, for each situation or plant, it’s like you have an experienced person next to you, guiding you along the way. I loved that so many species were covered and wished there were even more. It’s fascinating to learn and I think I will get other books in this series to find out more. 

The only thing that I could classify as a dislike was that some of the common names are not the ones that I have learned for those particular plants. I think common names vary by region, and I am not in the southwest region, so that may account for it. There are plenty of alternate common names listed and the ones I knew were always in that list. So, it’s not a big deal, unless you are looking up a plant alphabetically and the common name that you know is not the one it is filed under. However, there is always the index! Or, if you use an e-reader, you can use the Search feature. 

Overall, I give this book five stars out of five. It is an excellent resource and every wild-crafter should have it on their shelf. I just love learning about plants and their uses and this book makes an awesome addition to my collection. Many of the plants can be found outside the southwest region, but there may be a book for your region too! I really enjoyed this one and I am sure other readers will as well.
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This book is a guide to foraging wild medicinal plants in the Southwest (Arizona, southern California, southern Colorado, southern Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, western and central Texas, and southern Utah). I spend about a month of each year in Nevada and was curious about what plants were useful for medicine. The author started by explaining how to gather the different parts of a plant for medicinal use (leaves and flowers, bark, roots, etc.), how to store them, and the different ways to use them. He talked about how to make a tincture, oil infusion, decoction, infusion, poultice, syrup, etc. I've read descriptions on how to do these things before (and done some of them), but I felt that he added useful details that I hadn't heard before and clearly explain each process.

The main part of the book was an alphabetically organized list of 112 plants found in the region. For each listing, we're given the common names, the Latin name, the parts of the plant used, a description of how to identify the plant, when and how to gather the plant, the medicinal uses of the different parts the plant, how to ensure a future harvest, any safety cautions, and details about how to use the plant (the proportions used in a tincture, etc.). For each plant, there was a picture of the plant (often including its natural habitat) and usually a picture or two of distinguishing details, like the flower or a close-up of the leaf. Overall, this is an excellent resource for anyone interested in gathering and using medicinal plants from this area. It's very informative and provided practical information.
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Timber Press, one of my all-time favorite publishing houses, is working on a series of books on foraging edible and medicinal plants. This latest book in the series, Southwest Medicinal Plants, is authored by John Slattery, an incredible bioregional herbalist and educator. With over 112 plants covered (including the cottonwood, jojoba, and osha), Slattery gives us a thoughtful overview of native trees, shrubs, roots and more that have healed the people of these lands for centuries.
Both educational and uplifting, this book is a must for anyone looking to work with their native plants in a sustainable and healing way.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Timber Press for providing me with an ARC of this book.

Great information on the diversity and regional habitats of the southwest. 

This excerpt from the book is a perfect description of it's contents:

"This book is not explicit direction on what you have to do, or should do; it is a collection of knowledge from the field as well as a guide to developing one's senses, developing one's true knowledge through the direct and discerning experience of Nature herself. "

With chapter's including Becoming a Bioregional Herbalist, Herbal Medicine Making, and Seasonal Harvesting, you gain a lot of knowledge before you even get to the alphabetized index of medicinal plants of the southwest. In the indexed section you are given a breakdown of how to identify (with detail pictures), wildcraft and harvest each specific plant and then are given medicinal uses and herbal preparation recipes. 

Overall, a fabulous resource for anyone living in or visiting the southwest.
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Southwest Medicinal Plants is a tutorial and wildcrafting guide and herbal for regional medicinal plants by John Slattery. Due out 4th Feb 2020 from Timber Press, it's 392 pages and will be available in paperback and ebook formats.

This is an accessible well written herbal guide to over 100 indigenous medicinal plants found in southwest North America, including Arizona, New Mexico, Southern California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, Oklahoma, and parts of Texas. The author is an experienced wildcrafter and herbalist and writes well and confidently. The nomenclature he uses is precise for clarity, safety, and identification. It's clear in the text that the author really feels a connection to the natural world and his respect and love shine through. The intro covers the widely disparate terrain contained the southwest along with safety and caution, responsible collecting, and wildcrafting through the seasons. Tools and supplies are covered in the text and are (mostly) easily accessible and will be on hand already for most readers or can be sourced at minimal cost. There are simple recipes/guides for different preparation methods as well, such as tinctures, infusions, etc.

The bulk of the book contains an herbal type listing of the plants arranged alphabetically. The plant name is followed by species specifics, medicinal parts used, a descriptive paragraph, wildcrafting tips, where and when to harvest, and other info. Specific recipes are listed in a colored sidebar. Each also contains several clear photos showing different aspects of growth, habit, and seasonal appearance.

Useful book, well written and illustrated. Five stars.
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I found this to be an interesting botanical read; I was excited to peruse through this book especially since I was born in Texas and had spent 18 or so years of my life there (and a few years in Southern Oklahoma, and currently 8+ years in Southern California). The flora does greatly vary depending on the type of region you're in, and so many of the species are unassuming at first glance, often second and third glance as well since yes, many of them do look like your regular ol' scraggly weeds and thorny shrubbery.

The beginning section goes over some basics such as the regions of the Southwest United States that spans 8 states, identifying plants in each region throughout each season which I found to be very informative, tools and tips for wildcrafting, and how to make simple medicines. I wouldn't say the wildcrafting and medicine making is very in-depth per se, in fact I wouldn't consider this book to be a very good resource for these topics as they're greatly inconclusive.

Instead, this is a fantastic reference for plant identification in these regions with its many monographs that make up almost the entirety of this book, which includes information on parts of the plant used, how to identify, guidelines on harvesting and wildcrafting, some medicinal uses, some medicinal preparations, and includes some photographs. Some monographs include herb safety warnings as well which I really appreciate.

This is an excellent collection of botanical monographs considering how many are included (112!), which you'll find native to about 1/3 of the United States. Definitely a book you should consider having in your collection if you're in the U.S. and have a serious interest in herbalism.

Thank you to Timber Press for providing me with this eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
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This is an excellent resource and I really enjoyed Southwest Medicinal Plants by John Slattery.  He provides a great deal of information on the plants, this book has excellent photos and detailed instructions on how to make and use herbal remedies with the plants contained in this book. I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review
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I really enjoyed Southwest Medicinal Plants by John Slattery.  He provides great information on the plants, excellent photos to go with the information, and detailed instructions on how to make and use herbal remedies with these plants.  I will be checking out other guides by him as well.
I received an ARC from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
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I figured I'd love this book, as I have its companion book for my region -- Midwest Medicinal Plants. I reviewed that one last year and loved it so much I asked for it for Christmas. It's one of my all-time favorite foraging/herbal books.

I appreciate that this book is written by a different author, one who is familiar with the plants in his region (Lisa M. Rose wrote the Midwest version). Both books are packed with color photos, good ID information, and information on each plant's medicinal uses. Simple directions for infusions, tinctures, etc. are provided with each plant too. This is a great book for foragers and beginning herbalists to get to know the useful plants that are all around them and learn how to use them for external and internal remedies.

I read a temporary digital ARC of this book for the purpose of review.
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I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  			
From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.			

Southwest Medicinal Plants combines two big trends: foraging and natural medicine. This comprehensive guide is accessible to everyone, from beginners seeking reliable advice to experienced practitioners on the hunt for new information. 

Readers will find plant profiles, colour photographs, step-by-step instructions for essential herbal remedies, and seasonal foraging tips. Southwest Medicinal Plants is for readers in southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, western and central Texas, Oklahoma, southern Colorado, southern Utah, and southern Nevada.

This was an interesting read although I do not live anywhere near the SW United States ... SW Ontario, yes.  LOL. But, I love reading about plants that I might be able to grow and benefit from on a medicinal level. The book is expertly researched and the information presented was interesting to read about and I took so many notes and sent friends who live in that area the information about the book so that they can buy it themselves when it comes out in February.  I am assuming that they are mostly plants for arid areas so I may not be able to grow them on my balcony but I certainly enjoyed reading about them. (Yes, I am a #nerd)

As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "Social Influencer Millennials" on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it 🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱		
A side note to the publisher - South-Western STATES should be on the cover: I live in SW Ontario, and I assumed that it would be the USA, but someone in a hurry for a gift might snap it up and then return it in disgust.  (I assumed it was the USA but someone skulking for a gift on Amazon might not.)
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