Book Review – Master Recipes from the Herbal Apothecary by JJ Pursell.

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Timber Press for providing me with a free – temporary – electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley. Although I required their approval, the decision to read this book is my choice and any reviews given are obligation free.

Regular readers of my reviews will know I am interested in herbalism. And, indeed this book had been on my radar for a while. ‘Master Recipes from the Herbal Apothecary’ is a highly detailed, well researched book on herbalism for health, beauty, and well-being.

I do have some quibbles, but they are very minor, so feel I should get them out of the way first. Firstly, in the section where it lists all the most commonly “useful” herbs, I do wish it included where they grew/ the climate they preferred. As I know for a fact not all of them are going to be able to successfully all grow in the one backyard, as some were cold weather plants, some temperate, some tropical. So, actually stating this for all readers would have been good, as not everyone is going to have that plant knowledge. That way people would know their limits as to which plants they could grow themselves, based on their location, and which they will always need to source from shops.

Also, in the recipe sections, a clear statement of when dried herbs vs fresh herbs were used in a recipe would have also been beneficial. Yes, some recipes actually ask for some herbs in powder form, so I knew that meant they were dried and, well, powdered. But in other cases it wasn’t stated as to whether the required amount was in dry or fresh herbs. I would have liked this for every recipe. Simply for the reasons I’ve given above. Not all the herbs can be fresh as no all grow in the same place.

But, other than those tiny issues, this was still a fantastic book. So informative and extremely thorough on the areas covered. Men’s health, women’s health, children and infant’s health, animal health, and overall well-being. I loved the different sections and all they entailed. This is a very comprehensive book for any herbalist’s home.

It’s not all recipes though, it is also the storage, preparation, conversions of metric to imperial… everything a home herbalist will require. Including that all important message that this book should only be referenced for minor ailments and that a holistic general practitioner should be seen for anything too serious or major. This is the best balance of herbalism – the ability to look after health, beauty and well-being for the whole family for all things every day and minor, but the knowledge that sometimes modern western medicine may be needed.

Formatting and layout were up to the usual high standards I have come to expect from Timber Press.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. For people interested in herbalism at beginner level through to the more experienced. I would mention my minor issues with it, but emphasise they do not ruin the book, but are simply things the reader and home healer must take into consideration when stocking their own apothecary’s pantry.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I would. In paperback form, as I just prefer my recipe books in that form. But I can indeed see this book being squeezed into the ever diminishing spare shelving of my herbalism section of the bookshelves.

In summary: A very comprehensive and information book of herbalism.

Untile next time,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s