Recommended Books

West and Southwest Herbalism

  • Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West, Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West, Los Remedios, Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West – Michael Moore
  • Healing Herbs of the Upper Rio Grande: Traditional Medicine of the Southwest – L.S.M. Curtin revised and edited by Michael Moore
  • Healing with Plants in the American and Mexican West – Margarita Artschwager Kay
  • Herbal Medicine of the American Southwest – Charles Kane
  • Las Plantas Medicinales de Mexico – Maximino Martinez

General Herbalism

  • All the various Clinical Herb Manuals by Michael Moore (available for free here – Herbal Energetics in Clinical Practice is particularly noteworthy, since this is the only place where Michael laid out the system of western constitutional herbalism that he developed)
  • The Earthwise Herbal (vol 1 & 2), The Book of Herbal Wisdom – Matthew Wood
  • The Way of Herbs, Planetary Herbology – Michael Tierra C.A., N.D.
  • A Modern Herbal – Mrs. Maude Grieve (available for free here)
  • The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics – Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.  (parts available free here)
  • Homeopathic Materia Medica – William Boericke (though it’s a homeopathy book, the specific indications for when to use particular plants are still helpful for herbalists – available for free here)
  • Invasive Plant Medicine: The Ecological Benefits and Healing Abilities of Invasives – Timothy Lee Scott
  • The Yoga of Herbs: an Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine – Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad
  • Anything by Rosemary Gladstar
  • Anything by Susun Weed
  • Growing At-Risk Medicinal Herbs: Cultivation, Conservation and Ecology – Richo Cech
  • Herb-A-Day – James Duke, Ph.D.
  • Healing Lyme: Natural Healing and Prevention of Lyme Borreliosis and Its Coinfections – Stephen Harrod Buhner
  • Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief – David Winston
  • Herbal Consitutents – Lisa Ganora (a textbook on organic chemistry and plant constituents written by an herbalist tailored in order to be relevant and accessible to herbalists)

Medicine Making

  • The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual – James Green
  • Making Plant Medicine – Richo Cech

Anatomy & Physiology

  • The Anatomy Coloring Book – Wynn Kapit, Lawrence M. Elson
  • The Physiology Coloring Book – Wynn Kapit, Robert I. Macey, Esmail Meisami

Plant Energetics

  • Flower Essence Repertory: A Comprehensive Guide to North American and English Flower Essences for Emotional and Spiritual Well-Being – Patricia Kaminsky & Richard Katz
  • Secret Teachings Of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature – Stephen Harrod Buhner
  • Mastering Bach Flower Therapy: A Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment – Mechthild Scheffer
  • The Healing Herbs of Edward Bach: An Illustrated Guide to the Flower Remedies – Julian & Martine Barnard

Botany, Keys, & Field Guides

  • Field Guide to Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs – Christopher Hobbs, Steven Foster, Roger Tory Peterson
  • Desert Tree Finder: A Pocket Manual for Identifying Desert Trees – May Watts & Tom Watts (slim, cheap, pocket-size, and handy)
  • Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification – Thomas Elpel (note: this book is a botany tutorial that discusses the medicinal, edible, and other uses of all the plants included, as well as general medicinal properties of whole plant families)
  • Flowering Plants of New Mexico – Robert Dewitt Ivey
  • Arizona Flora – Thomas Kearney and Robert Peebles
  • Flora of North America – (a large part of the 30 volume set is available for free here)
  • An Illustrated Guide to Arizona Weeds – Kittie F. Parker
  • The Trees of Sonora, Mexico – Richard Felger, Matthew Johnson, Michael Wilson
  • Cacti, other Succulents, and Unusual Xerophytes of Southern Arizona – Matthew Johnson
  • Also look at SEINet, which publishes various Southwest desert flora keys online
  • Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants – Steven Foster & James Duke


  • Wild Plants and Native Peoples of the Four Corners – William W. Dunmire & Gail D. Tierney
  • Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province: Exploring Ancient and Enduring Uses – William W. Dunmire & Gail D. Tierney
  • Native American Ethnobotany – Daniel E. Moerman (available for free here)
  • Nanise: a Navajo Herbal – Vernon O. Mayes & Barbara Bayless Lacy
  • People of the Desert and Sea – Ethnobotany of the Seri Indians – Richard Stephen Felger and Mary Beck Moser
  • At the Desert’s Green Edge: an Ethnobotany of the Gila River Pima – Amadeo M. Rea
  • Mayo Ethnobotany: Land, History and Traditional Knowledge in NW Mexico – David Yetman and Thomas R. van Devender


  • Food Plants of the Sonoran Desert – Wendy Hodgson
  • Gathering the Desert – Gary Nabhan
  • Prescription for Nutritional Healing – Phyllis Balch & James Balch
  • Nourishing Traditions – Sally Fallon

Other Southwest Natural History

  • A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert – Steven Phillips
  • Wings in the Desert: a Folk Ornithology of the Northern Pimans – Amadeo M. Rea
  • Fear Falls Away & Other Essays from Hard and Rocky Places – Janice Emily Bowers

Other Plant Books of Note

  • Smoke Plants of North America: A Journey of Discovery – M.R. Ross

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