The Home Reference to Holistic Health and Healing by Brigitte Mars and Chrystle Fiedler
Review by Molly Sams
I truly can say that I adored reading this book. I had not read the first in the collection but the second book seemed to be exactly what the doctor ordered. This book helps you find out how to take care of yourself and the ones you love with holistic methods. While many holistic books discuss first aid with herbs or how to treat physical ailments this book went deeper and discussed points about complete medicine and herbalism and how it can help those with emotional or mental strife.
Unlike other sources I have read throughout the years this book is honest and simple in its instructions and suggestions. It teaches basics of using herbs in self care, stress management, and other aspects of life that many may be struggling to maintain. I really enjoyed learning new practices and many times affirming ones I already put into place. This book is a wonderful cheerleader and guide for anyone who needs a pick-me-up or new ways or ideas to practice self-care.
This book goes into great detail about taking time for yourself and those you love. It explains in plain and in scientific language why it is important to calm down and enjoy the present. While I found myself having to reread the more scientific sections of the book I found it beneficial. It showed that there is scientific support for holistic and herbal medicine in the world. It is not all just based off assumptions or traditions, as some would believe.
In the book there are also several suggestions on how to do calm down and enjoy the present. While journaling or meditation may come naturally to some, Mars and Fiedler explain other examples such as cooking a healthy meal to remind yourself you are worth nourishment or herbal crafts (dream pillows, sachets, potpourri, etc.). I personally enjoyed the message behind each craft. They often had a purpose to calm you down, encourage deep breathing, or to ease anxiety or panic attacks.
Mars and Fiedler also go into how to maintain the body with diet and exercise creating a book that teaches you how to nourish and care for every part of the body as well as the mind. I appreciated that the authors discussed the importance of food and movement in their book as well as herbs. It reminded me of Sue Hess when she would say in Homestead Herbalism, “Food is medicine.” Since I was young my mother had always instilled this in me and I was happy to be reminded through my class and again through this book about this important fact. Without wholesome food our body suffers and is unable to take care of us properly.
The book also reminded me that herbs are (and should) also be seen as food instead of just supplements. In the book they discussed many herbs being used as main ingredients in recipes, which I found encouraging. It makes herbalism much more approachable to some who may be new to it or do not completely understand the many aspects of each plant. By respecting and using each possible source (food, herbalism, exercise, and rest) you are even more capable to care for yourself than you would be if you focused on one aspect. Instead of encouraging you to fixate on a diet, a exercise routine, or constant pampering Mars and Fiedler want their readers to focus on the whole. It may seem simple but many of us – including me – need to be reminded every now and then.
Finally the authors discussed the importance of letting go of stresses and maintaining a calm and sustainable life. Possibly my favorite section discussed mourning and grieving. Their ideas for dealing with this natural part of life were easily executed but unimagined before, well by me anyway. I loved that they discussed setting goals for one’s self while mourning the loss of a loved one or the ending of a relationship. That way you can encourage yourself and give others a way to support you. They even gave advice to those who may be supporting a friend or loved one who is mourning a loss of some sort. I don’t believe this role is often discussed in society so many shy away from the position for fear they will further hurt the person grieving. By telling their reader possible ways to support and talk to their saddened loved ones it may strengthen connections or create new ones.
Not only is this a wonderful book about herbalism it is a wonderful book about healing in general. The two authors created a thoughtful reference for anyone who wants to learn more about self-care or how to support himself or herself or loved ones in cases other than emergency or medical.
For those who wish to learn more about herbalism from a mental and emotional stand point or those who simply want to know more based on medical or scientific levels I seriously recommend this book. You will be able to come back to it again and again for a medley of ailments, advice, or just a few ideas. Happy reading!
You can get the book HERE