Book Review – Medicinal Plants

One of the things I want to do this year is have a little play for marigolds (Calendula) and experiment with the flower’s medinical use. Not only are calendula fantastic for the garden – especially a vegetable plot where the bring in lots of insects to eat those ‘orrible critters – but, yes, they have healing properties too. These include antiviral and inflammatory properties! So, when I was sent The Gardener’s Companion to Medicinal Plants, naturally, I was curious.


The Gardener's Companion to Medicinal Plants

The Gardener’s Companion to Medicinal Plants – A Beautiful Book


Now, let’s just say at the start that this book is GORGEOUS. I love a gardening tome laden with photography, but there’s something alluring and beautiful about botanical illustrations. And there are plenty in this book…i.e on every page. Plus, there are a few lovely photos too!


Dandelion Flowers

The companion includes some lovely and inspiring photos

Botanical illustration - Buddleja

Beautiful botanical illustrations are paired with interesting history and science


The companion itself is an A-Z of medicinal plants, many of which might be considered a weed. Each has a small description followed by the parts used and its known historic use. Then, to bring things up to date a little, there’s also a ‘Medicinal Discoveries‘ which unveils some of the modern findings behind these plants. For instance, Buddleja, that lovely butterfly bush but also a common weed growing along railway lines and disused buildings, was traditionally used to treat eye problems. And now, modern science has found clinical data to support this, with the extract of buddleja flowers having the potential to treat dry eye and glaucoma! Pretty impressive. Meanwhile, you might want to plant a couple of oak trees as the bark has some antibacterial properties.

Along with all the history and science, there are some great recipes here too. There’s instructions to make Calendula lip balm, for example. Or maybe leaves those nettles so you can make soup. Alternatively, try some rosemary infused oil.


The Gardner’s Companion to Medicinal Plants is really lovely, and backed up by some rather influential writers; herbalist Jason Irving, KEW medicinal plant researcher Professor Monique S. J. Simmonds, and Chartered Chemist Dr Melanie-Jayne Howes. It’s a great read, has some very useful recipes if you want to dabble with some homegrown medicine from your own backyard and makes a beautiful gift.

You can find it at Amazon, both on the US and UK sites.

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I'm Geoff, and I'm a plant hoarder.

Like magpies collect bright shiny things, I can't resist plants. An exquisite flower, soft ferny foliage or a beautiful majestic tree - I love them all!

Here, I'll indulge in all things flora and share my passion. Join me as I develop my garden and hoard more plants without apology.