The Physick Garden

Ancient Cures for Modern Maladies

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Pub Date 26 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 09 Jun 2022

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The intriguing tales of the plants that have been used to heal and cure our bodies, brought to life with beautifully surreal illustrations from Alice Smith. 

Since the dawn of time, people have used plants as remedies, to both positive and deadly effect. These herbal treatments have become enshrined in folklore, in old wives' tales and in the curious names we have given local species. Many have also found their way into modern medicine cabinets – but not always in the form you would expect.

This book imagines a physick garden of healing plants that have been used across the globe by different generations. But were Italian Renaissance women dicing with death when they dropped belladonna in their eyes? Can comfrey really be used to heal broken bones? And can St John’s Wort scare away more than bad spirits? 

Taking you around the body, from the brain to the bowels, The Physick Garden introduces 80 plants with curious medicinal pasts. With striking illustrations and lively tales, this book will show thatsometimes there is method in the madness.

The intriguing tales of the plants that have been used to heal and cure our bodies, brought to life with beautifully surreal illustrations from Alice Smith. 

Since the dawn of time, people have used...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9780711266339
PRICE $24.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 11 members

Featured Reviews

Excellent read with beautiful illustrations! The only thing missing is illustrations of just the plants. Definitely a book to pick up for reference purposes.

Thank you for the ARC from NetGallery and the publisher.

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I absolutely adore the illustrations! They are so beautiful. Very short descriptions but it’s a great overview of the topic! I really enjoyed the descriptions of the histories of the plants alongside their uses.

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This is a beautiful book that contains a lot of information in one place. It is less something that could be used to identify and look up the properties of particular plants, but as a compendium of plants it's a beautiful object and one I would use as a reference - I will likely pick up my own hard copy of this. The illustrations mix botanical and medical illustration in a way that I find very beautiful and that also conveys a lot about the plants themselves. I've seen copies of the book in a couple of local independent bookstores and it should do well.

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This fabulous work of art allows us to dream when we walk in the forest, on plains, within nature's nest. The text is lovely, the illustrations gorgeous, original, striking, and telling. The authors remind us, from the very beginning of the book, that we should not use it as a health guide but peruse it as a book that is meant to intrigue, surprise, and delight. It deals with plants and their secular, worldwide use in curing people. These cures can be effective but they can also be preposterous and highly dangerous. The opus is meant to have us wonder, to have us learn about the past. It is an ode to nature and to is benefits to us (while being aware of the dangers involved). Thank you for this lovely work!

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This book is led by the illustrations, rather than the text. They are beautifully done, although somewhat abstruse at times, particularly as they were attributed to the herbs and various parts of the body.

The herb profiles are good for beginners, or those gardeners hoping to be inspired to grow more, and various, medicinal herbs. There are no sources given for the information, but the information is accurate and well researched.

It’s good to see books published which cross some of the traditional boundaries, and where illustrations are so valued.

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An entertaining peek into herbal remedies for head, chest, abdomen, pelvis and skeleton.
Every plant is listed with its common name, Latin name and alternative names. It is followed by a one-page description of historical use, dotted with anecdotal information and current research notes.
Furthermore, every plant is accompanied by a fabulous “steam-punky” collage showing not only the plant itself but the body part(s) it is used for.
There will be readers dashing out to forage and put this book into practice, so it would be useful to add warnings when a plant could be mixed up with a poisonous plant (e.g. khella and hemlock).
All in all, a very charming and captivating tome on herbalism.

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