Tuesday, 6 December 2011

FACTUAL REVIEW: Breverton's Complete Herbal - Terry Breverton

Release Date: 29/09/11


Nicholas Culpeper's The English Physitian: or an Astrologo-physical Discourse of the Vulgar Herbs of This Nation is more commonly known as Culpeper's Complete Herbal. It was first printed in September 1653 (Culpeper died in January 1654) and immediately became a classic reference that is as fascinating today as it was over 350 years ago. Breverton's Complete Herbal is a reworking of Culpeper's classic text for a modern day audience. Arranged alphabetically, this book describes over 250 herbs and spices as well as feature entries on scented herb/medicinal gardens, the great herbalists and New World Herbs not included in Culpepper's original text. Each entry provides a description of the herb: its appearance and botanical features, a brief history of its uses in medicine, dyeing and cuisine to bizarre remedies and concoctions designed to get rid of all manner of real and imaginary ailements. As informative as it is entertaining, this incredibly diverse compendium contains just about everything you'll ever need to know about the properties and provenance of herbs and spices of the world. From amara dulcis to yarrow, all-heal to viper's bugloss, Breverton's Complete Herbal is a modern day treasury of over 250 herbs and their uses.


This is a strange and unusual book as the purpose for which I’m going to be recommending it may seem a little alien to a lot of readers but before that lets take a look at it.

What this book does is bring a lot of the plants that we take for granted and explains their uses in traditional sense, it has hand-drawn images that help bring the subject to life, has a historical reference and then lets you know what it does whilst being set out alphabetically for the reader to find the plant without any real problems. What this does is educate as well as fascinate the reader and for me finding out some of this information is invaluable as it gives you a little something else trivia wise that will stay with you for a while.

For that reason, I’m recommending this title to writers. Why? Well how many times have you been writing a sequence and suddenly thought how would they fix x or y or what plants could treat 1, 2 or 3? Well if you’re me, quite a lot as its information that is useful to further the story whether its fantasy, historical fiction, science fiction or just a character stranded in the wilderness.

All in this was a fascinating book and one that if you look at it a little differently will open up a great many possibilities.


Nic said...

Hi there

there is nothing strange with this kind of book.
At the end of my teens when I moved out of my parents "reach" better said flat, my mom gave me 4 books.
They contained all the traditional things you would need if you run a household.
Describtions and usage of herbs (it helps), "natural" ways to clean up (no chemistry) and so on. They were and are really helpful.

The series was called something like "good advice from the grandmother"

Pat Hollett said...

I think this is a great book to recommend. There are times I'm curious about herbs and plants and their uses and wish I knew more. Here's the perfect remedy... thanks Gareth! :)