Angela Paine, author of The Healing Power of Celtic Plants, has written another wonderful book Healing Plants of the Celtic Druids for all those interested in the healing with herbs. Many thanks to Penny Billington for the following review:
The Healing Plants of the Celtic Druids Angela Paine
Moon books 2018
I welcomed this book as a companion volume to complete the herbal lore covered so ably in The Healing Power of Celtic Plants. So what is left to say? Well, the book is packed, and presented in three sections: an introduction and preliminary information; the native herbs; poisonous plants; The Roman invasion; and plants introduced by the Romans but used by the ancient Celts.
Seventeen new plants join the original twenty five of the first book, and are explored just as thoroughly. Angela Paine once again covers every aspect of the medicinal use of herbs native to these islands with a full description of each plus habitat, season, how to grow and parts used. The descriptions are charmingly anecdotal, stories of the author’s discoveries giving us a context. In addition each herb has full notes on preservation, properties, chemical constituents, research and how to use, dosages and contraindications, making this a fascinating read. This is the meat of the book, well prefaced by chapter two, The Plants: How to Recognise, Find, Grow, Preserve and Use Them, which fully covers those subjects.
In addition, the introduction explains fully the author’s explorations and sources in her research, with short sections on ‘Who Were the Ancient Celts? The healthy lifestyle of the ancient Celts; The role of the Druid and Celtic medicine. The afterword, ‘lessons to be learnt from the Ancient Celts’ paints a rosy picture of a golden age written specifically from a woman’s perspective and mainly comprising health advice about good diet & eating habits, pure food, clean water and empowering ourselves to become more in touch with our environment and use nature’s bounty.
There are copious pages of references by chapter for the reader to follow up any aspect that is their particular interest and Paine references especially Mrs Grieve’s holistic herbal from the late 1800s and, most interestingly for Druids, the book of the Physicians of Myddfai, sourced from mediaeval texts. All in all, a useful addition to any herbalist’s bookshelf and especially for readers interested in pursuing points of connection to our Celtic forebears.