Friday, 22 February 2013

Book Review: Herbs of the Northern Shaman by Steve Andrews

Herbs of the Northern Shaman - A Guide to Mind-Altering Plants from the Northern Hemisphere

by Steve Andrews, with photographs by Katrinia Rindsberg

Second Edition
ISBN 978-1-84694-369-0

I was supposed to be reading Witchcraft Medicine when this little gem arrived in the post.  

Originally published in 2000 by Loopanics Unlimited, this book was out of print for quite some time before O-Books re-published it with some re-writes by the author and completely new illustrations.  It's now looked after by the sister imprint of O-books, Moon Books (both are subsidiaries of John Hunt publishing).

I say illustrations, but those of you who have read more than the odd book on herbs and plants - especially books aimed at the more esoteric uses of them - will be familiar with the old woodcuts and line-drawings that are used to illustrate them.  Unless you know what you are looking for, it's almost impossible to recognise any plants in the wild from those woodcuts!  Not so with this book.  Every single entry is accompanied by the most spectacularly beautiful - and easily recognisable - photograph taken by Katrinia Rindsberg.  

Frankly, the rest of the book could be utter drivel and I would buy it for the photographs alone, but it isn't!  Bonus!  Steve Andrews writes with authority, revising some of his earlier entries, including medicinal uses, mythology, as well as physical effects.  There is a bibliography, botanical and medical terms glossary as well as a useful index.  

I've already read this straight through twice, and it will probably live in my foraging bag when I've not got my nose buried in it.  Utterly brilliant.

Buy it from Amazon UK here
Buy it from Amazon US here


  1. Thank you so much for this excellent review!

  2. You are more than welcome, Steve, this has got to be the book I recommend to friends more often than any other.