Back in the day, herbs were the main source of healing substances around. While medieval ‘healing’ practices may have been questionable (think blood-letting, trepanning, hot irons for haemorrhoids, and using urine as an antiseptic) there was a lot to be said for herbal remedies. Modern medicine prefers the use of patented pharmaceuticals and herbs have become the domain of naturopaths such as Reece Carter who has written this book for those who want to dabble in growing and making their own herbal remedies, and have an affordable stock on hand.
‘The Garden Apothecary’ is an easy to read ‘how to’ book about growing and preparing the most common herbal remedies, beauty products and healing foods. This is not a science book but gives basic descriptions of what ailments the herbs are used for, and gives a special shout out to oats, despite not being strictly herbal, for their cholesterol lowering ability. It offers easy to follow recipes and gardening tips, as well as how to make your own tinctures, infusions, decoctions, oils, creams, ointments, teas, syrups, sprays and even a candle. If you don’t know the difference between an infusion, decoction and tincture, just know you get to use vodka to make one of them.
Carter is obviously very fit, healthy and youthful and states the book is for ‘daily health woes and minor annoyances’ such as insomnia, libido, headaches, eczema, scars, stress, indigestion, immunity, flu and allergies. He is at pains to point out these remedies are not a replacement for medical treatments.
My only lament is there no recipe for a cream skin cleanser. All is forgiven because I now know how to make a wall garden from an old wooden pallet. Better still, I know what to put in it.