Review: Wayside Medicine - Forgotten Plants and how to use them by Julie Bruton-Seal and Mathew Seal

Published in Permaculture Magazine 2017

Review by Glennie Kindred

Wayside Medicine is the long awaited companion volume to Hedgerow Medicine, which is my all-time favourite herbal, and is another triumph for Julie Bruton-Seal and Mathew Seal. If you loved Hedgerow Medicine, then Wayside Medicine will not disappoint you. The two books dovetail together so well. It presents us with a whole new exciting array of familiar herbs and trees to incorporate into our everyday lives. As with all their books, it is a treasure trove of herbal knowledge and understanding, and the enthusiasm that Julie and Mathew have for the plants shines out of every page.

The subtitle, 'Forgotten Plants and how to use them', inspires us to take a second look at some of the familiar plants and trees growing around us. Some of these can be thought of as garden weeds, when in fact they can become treasured allies and useful medicines.

This is a gorgeous book. It is filled with the most stunning array of photos of the plants, taken by Julie. Many are macro shots. They are sumptuous depictions, lifting the plants from the over-looked to the exotic! Every page is a delight to the eye – every plant presented to make us appreciate their perfection and incredible beauty. This is coupled with a rich text that informs and astounds.

The book follows a similar format to Hedgerow Medicine, with clear descriptions of the plants, their habitats and families. Their herbal uses are presented in a thorough and often entertaining way, with stories based on their own experiences and Julie's deep knowledge and understanding as a practicing herbalist. Each plant is presented with historical facts and folklore associations, and this is interwoven with what is known about the plant today. The dedicated section on modern research for each herb adds another layer to our understanding. Many tried and tested recipes are included and these encourage us to jump right in and use the plants and learn about them for ourselves.

I am already buzzing with new understanding and possibilities for plants I have known and loved without realising the extent of their herbal and edible uses. This book amazes and delights in equal measure. It is an inspiration for the herbalist, plant-lover and gardener alike. Wayside Medicine has it all! I can't put it down!

Review by Glennie Kindred 2017