Reading List: Winter 2011

For those of us residing in the Northern hemisphere, Winter’s knocking on our door. Now that we’ve travelled, harvested and feasted, we’re ready to get cozy by the fire and do some serious reading and tea drinking. I tend to keep all the books I’m currently reading stacked next to the bed and piled on my desk. And I’m always reading many concurrently. So here’s what I’m reading now–for pleasure, research, and to inspire new thinking. (And one thing: if you click on the links to the books, it’ll take you to Amazon, but I’d like to recommend that you check your local and/or used book seller first.)

Complex Herbs, Complete Medicines: A Merger of Eclectic & Naturopathic Visions of Botanical Medicine by Francis Brinker

complex-herbs-complete-medicinesI saw this book a couple months ago on my colleague Jonathan Treasure’s bookshelf. The title grabbed me, because I’m very interested in complex medicines for complex bodies as a concept. Jonathan said it was great, and I trust it because the man is a genius. So bought it I did, and I’m joyfully deepening my knowledge of the history of pharmacy and Eclectic medicine. It’s a good one for your bookshelf.

In the Bubble: Designing for a Complex World by John Thackara

John Thackara is a designer currently residing in France. I came across his work a little while ago in my research on contemporary healthcare innovation and found his blog posts on the subject to be exquisite. He’s an incredibly forward-thinking holistic designer. He gets it. Naturally, I wanted to read his book and got it in the mail yesterday. I’ve just started on it and love it. The first chapter is on lightness in design. I love that he’s starting with that–I feel very strongly about beauty, elegance and heavenly qualities in all design work (especially anything medical or health-related). If you’re interested in complexity and design, this is a good one.

Conservation Medicine: Ecological Health in Practice by A.A. Aguire et al. (Eds.)

Conservation-Medicine-9780195150933I love this anthology. The venn diagram on the cover shows the relationship between environmental, animal and human health. Ecological medicine says these 3 are connected and interdependent, and this book is a series of essays elaborating on this. Also discussed is global ecological integrity and resilience, biodiversity and human health, the ecosystem approach to health, and the emergence of diseases that specifically emergence from habitat disruption (i.e. Lyme disease).

Invasive Plant Medicine: The Ecological Benefits and Healing Abilities of Invasives by Timothy Lee Scott

51htzN-xx5L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_When this book came out last year, there was quite a bit of buzz about it. And it’s well deserved. This book–part herbal, part ecological theory, part field guide–is a very well researched and accessible. And there are plants covered that are really invasive and fall out of the scope of a lot of other books on uses for weeds and invasives, which typically cover things like dandelion and St. John’s wort but leave out scotch broom, Japanese knotweed, bindweed, English ivy, etc. A book for ecologists, herbalists and all plant lovers.

About Author

Renée A. Davis MA RH is a designer and educator in botanical and mycological medicine. Her training began at the Pratt Institute of Art and Design in New York City and concluded in biomedical sciences at the University of Washington. She currently directs research and development for a nutraceutical mushroom company in the Pacific Northwest.


  • rebecca
    December 8, 2011 at 11:40 am

    What a fab list- there are quite a few that I’ve been meaning to read, and I’m looking up the rest now. I love this little plant community we have- I don’t think I’ve ever found a group of people who’s reading recommendations I’ve actually ALL ENJOYED before :).


    • Renée A.D.
      December 8, 2011 at 12:13 pm

      I know, I really enjoy this sweet community also. Sharing with people is 90% of the joy. I’m just feeling really honored that such amazing and creative herbalists are around!

      Rebecca, I especially thought you’d be into the Flavor Bible, you evil genius of a kitchen witch!

  • Hethir
    January 6, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Great list. Thank you for posting it. I go through so many books, it is great to find these that go deeper down the rabbit hole of herbalism. Please share more of your favorite books and materia medica 🙂


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