Our mission is to share the wonders of the natural world by publishing books from experts in the fields of gardening, horticulture, and natural history. Grow with us.

Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition: An Ethnobotany of Britain & Ireland

By David E. Allen and Gabrielle Hatfield

Perfect for plant lovers, historians, and those interested in folklore.

Bookseller

Assembled by two of the most distinguished botanical and ethnological scholars in Britain, this book chronicles the medicinal uses of more than 400 species used by the plain folk of Britain and Ireland. The history of these plants' usages has been mined from rich firsthand accounts captured by surveys, from more than 1000 manuscript volumes of the Irish Folklore Commission, and from close to 300 other published and unpublished sources. The book includes chosen illustrations from herbals such as those by Bock, Fuchs, and Brunfels, and a selection of color photographs by Deni Bown.

Awards for this book: Society for the History of Natural History's Thackray Medal

Media reviews

"Perfect for plant lovers, historians, and those interested in folklore."

Bookseller

"[The indexes] add greatly to the reference value of the book, although the authors’ lively writing style is an invitation for casual reading as well."

—Barbara MacAlpine, American Reference Books Annual

"Just another herb book? No! [This book] takes a fresh approach to presenting seldom seen data in a single source."

—Steven Foster, HerbalGram

"The book brings together a wealth of scattered and unpublished information, filling in details of medicinal usage of plants often omitted in ethnobotanical works that concentrate on folklore and, to a lesser extent, the economic value of wild flora."

Plant Talk

"Britain's inherited knowledge of herbal medicine is a precious and dwindling resource. This book offers a formal collation of this wisdom and knowledge."

—Ed Ikin, Chelsea Physic Garden Magazine

"At an academic level, this is a very valuable contribution to British ethnobotany. At a less academic level, it would make an equally valuable contribution to anyone's bookshelf or bedside table."

—William Milliken, Plantlife

"This scholarly pair has produced an excellent work that combines impressive historical erudition with professional botanical expertise."

—Armando González Stuart, HerbalGram

"Medicinal Plants in Folk Tradition is not a self-help manual providing recipes for herbal medicines, but rather, invaluably, the two authors have set down systematically the lore that has survived in unpublished and published sources so that it is accessible and retrievable."

—Charles Nelson, Garden (Peterborough)

"Written in an easy-to-read flowing style, this book is packed with fascinating information on British and Irish folk remedies."

—Laura Hastings, Kew

"I found this a fascinating book."

—Freda Turtle, London Naturalist

"A fascinating look at a large body of information on medicinal plant use by "common folk," representing traditions going back hundreds of years. Will interest readers from many subject backgrounds."

—Charlotte Tancin, Huntia

"This was an ambitious scholarly work and, in light of the resurging interest in traditional and folk medicine, it is worthwhile to examine this book."

—Lynette Y. Wong, Plant Science Bulletin

"This book brings together a wealth of scattered and unpublished information, filling in details of medicinal usage of plants often omitted in ethnobotanical works that concentrate on folklore and, to a lesser extent, the economic value of wild flora."

Plant Talk

"A fascinating look at a large body of information on medicinal plant use by 'common folk,' representing traditions going back hundreds of years."

—Charlotte Tancin, Huntia

"If your interests lie in European ethnobotany or English floristics, this book is a bargain not to be missed."

—Wendy L. Applequist, Systematic Botany

"A superior unique resource that was 16 years in the making, and is recommended for all collections with an emphasis in medicinal plants."

—Kathy, Fescemyer

"This fascinating title is matched by an equally fascinating text."

Highland News

"Well illustrated, scholarly and written in engaging prose, a wonderful reference book."

Permaculture Magazine

"This is an extraordinary work ... There can be no doubt whatsoever that it will quickly establish itself as the premier reference on its subject."

—Roy Ellen, New Scientist

"This is an extraordinary work, which organises what we know on a systematic taxonomic basis, evaluates the accuracy of numerous individual records, and provides tantalising glimpses of what might be learned from studying the distribution of the remedies. There can be no doubt that it will quickly establish itself as the premier reference on its subject."

—Roy Ellen, New Scientist

About the authors

David E. Allen

David E. Allen studied archaeology and anthropology at Cambridge. An long interest in field botany led to his becoming president and an honorary member of the Botanical Society of the British Isles, and past president of the Society for the History of Natural History, which has awarded him a Founder's Medal for his substantial contribution to the study of the history of natural history. He is the author of numerous botanical books.

Read more about David E. Allen

Gabrielle Hatfield

Gabrielle Hatfield studied botany at Cambridge, followed by a doctorate from Edinburgh on the history of the use of plants in medicine in Scotland. She is a research associate at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a member of the council of management of Ethnomedica, an organization formed to collect and preserve a fast-disappearing aspect of the British heritage — its medicinal plant traditions.

Read more about Gabrielle Hatfield

View large jacket image

This book is no longer available

Unfortunately, we don't have any copies of this book for sale.

Similar books