I love the internet. Especially Pinterest (you too? Follow me here.)
The internet is amazing for ideas, inspiration and learning. And in the early days, when I didn’t know anyone else in this natural beauty world, it helped me feel connected to a community.
But there are two main problems with learning from the internet:
1) You can’t always trust the information.
2) You get bite-sized nuggets, not the full picture.
And that’s ok for a project or two … but if you’re really interested in natural health & beauty, at some point you’ll need a more in-depth teacher! And that’s why I still have a bookshelf full of books.
So today I’m sharing my very favorite natural health & beauty books. The ones I used to get me started, and the ones I still refer to today.
I’d also love to hear from you in the comments – what are your must-have natural health & beauty books?
Vintage Amanda’s Favorite
Natural Health & Beauty Books
Note: The links below are affiliate links, so if you click one and make a purchase from Amazon, I’ll get a small commission. But as you know I only recommend resources that I personally use & find valuable myself. Thank you for supporting VintageAmanda!
If you only buy one book, make it this one.
Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar
This is my very favorite natural health and beauty book, written by the well-known American herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar. Whether you’re a beginner or more advanced, this book is filled with recipes for family remedies and natural beauty, and clear instructions on how to make different preparations. Seriously, if you read through this book you will be SO much more comfortable using remedies on yourself and your family. And Rosemary’s approach to life and health is just inspiring. I met her in person last year and now recommend her book even more (if that’s possible!)
This book has sections on stress, beauty, children, women, men and elders. It’s really practical and easy to reference. The only downside is that the recipes are all herbal, so you might have to order the non-culinary herbs especially for these recipes.
Seriously, if you enjoy VintageAmanda.com, you will like this book!
Classic Kitchen Remedies
Herbal Remedies by Christopher Hedley and Non Shaw
This is the book by my teacher, the UK herbalist, Christopher Hedley and his partner Non Shaw. It’s classic kitchen remedies, packed with time-tested remedies made from practical ingredients.
This book is very ‘kitchen’ focused, using regular ingredients most people have on-hand, which makes it really practical and easy to use! There are several versions available, some smaller text-only and larger ones with pictures (which are nicer, in my opinion). Really good for learning classic English and European herbal remedies.
My go-to for women’s health
Any health issues or questions, this is the first place I go. (No, don’t google it first, you’ll just make yourself paranoid!)
Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christiane Northrup, MD.
This book is massive and covers physical, emotional and mind-body women’s health issues. I use it as a reference book, rather than something to read cover-to-cover. It’s a nice blend of mainstream and holistic approaches to health.
Essential Oils & Aromatherapy
The Fragrant Pharmacy by Valerie Ann Worwood
This is another huge book which is my first point of call for any question about essential oils. What I like most about this book is that it’s super practical. Besides explaining the actions and use of various oils, there are just tons and tons of recipes for health and beauty, and Valerie’s ‘synergistic’ blends for different conditions. Super inspiring and informative if you’d like to feel more confident customizing your products with essential oils.
Herbal Reference Books
Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Thomas Bartram
This one-volume ‘encyclopedia’ was one of the first herbal books I bought because it has a little of everything in it. For any condition, or any herb, this is the first place I look for ideas on remedies and use. If you’re a budding herb geek, you’ll find it fun just to flip through this book and learn!
Herbal Therapy & Supplements – Merrily Kuhn and David Winston
This is not a fun book. But it is useful! It’s a very medical / safety / research oriented book. Not one you’d flip through often, but extremely useful for figuring out ‘what do I do with this herb?’ or ‘is that herb safe in pregnancy?’ Also useful to get studies and research around the actions of specific herbs.
If you’re seriously into Natural Beauty
A course at Neal’s Yard Remedies in London kicked off my serious pursuit of natural beauty product making – and this book was my go-to for the first couple of years.
Recipes for Natural Beauty by Romy Fraser
Lots of detailed base recipes, which you can customize for your skin. Also explanations of why you would choose different ingredients and product preservation. I used this more as a reference book for basic recipes and formulas.
Inspiring for Beginners (with lots of pictures!)
Grow your own Drugs by James Wong – lots of pictures and some creative recipes … but doesn’t give you the full education and philosophy like the Rosemary Gladstar book. He had a TV series here in the UK by the same name. Would be a good coffee table book, or gift for someone who is just getting started making products.
The Ultimate Natural Beauty Book by Josephine Fairley – similar to the above, but focused only on beauty. Lots of beautiful pictures and easy to recreate recipes. Great for inspiration. But not comprehensive enough for the more experienced product maker! I did love this one when I was first getting started though.
Did I miss a great natural health or beauty book? Let me know in the comments!