Rose, Jeanne. Herbs & Things: Jeanne Rose's Herbal. (New York: Perigee Books [Putnam], 1972) 321 p. Index, bib., ill.
ISBN: 0-399-50944-5

There was a time, not so very long ago, when herbalism was so exotic and/or discredited as to be almost unheard-of. Nowadays, most people know peppermint for tummy troubles and camomile for anxiety, but it was not so a few decades ago. Toward the end of that time, when the back-to-nature movement and the self-sufficiency drive had raised the profile of natural healing, a number of volumes were published on herbalism, including this one. It is based on extensive raids on library resources (probably the University of California system) and includes a lot of material from older sources.
Jeanne Rose's Herbal bears the strong stamp of the decade in which it was published. Some of the material that is in this book has been discredited or pronounced dangerous by modern herbalists. On the other hand, much of the material that Jeanne Rose gleaned from extensive research is not covered in more modern herbals. So this herbal includes anecdotal documentation of magickal/symbolic uses of the herbs as well as physical ones.
Not only does Rose include an 'Organic Materia Medica,' describing plants and their uses, but she also gives a wide variety of recipes for various conditions and problems. Many of these come under the heading of magic: aphrodisiacs, brain recipes, herbal baths, beauty recipes; and there are useful notes on Sachets and Potpourris as well as making scent beads, incense, and rose materials. Also included is a section on 'forbidden secrets,' those highly toxic recipes recommended for flying and other manipulative arts, as well as astrological signs of plants, the languages of herbs, flowers and woods, etc.
Because of the age of the book, some of its recommendations may prove odd or even startling to today's reader-- see the rather offputting recipe for 'Douche Juice a la Bob'-- and some are downright illegal -- massage oil with cocaine as an aphrodisiac! In addition, Rose evidences a really nasty case of fat bigotry, so skip the polemic on 'Fat and how not to be' unless you need some illustrations resembling the Venus of Willendorf, especially since the diet recommended is about as healthy as colonic purges. On the other hand, there is a plethora of recipes for useful beauty treatments and muscle rubs. Rose must have ransacked the contents of a dozen large libraries to gather this information, and a partial bibliography is included. Some of the recipes are attributed to sixteenth and seventeenth-century sources, as well.
While I would recommend checking all herbal medical uses from this herbal in another, more modern one, I would also recommend this as a good beginner's herb text for magickal/folk magic herb information and background material.


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