Brittany Ducham's Radical Remedies: An Herbalist's Guide to Empowered Self-Care is a thoughtful herbal guide that I felt was geared towards a competent herbalist looking to expand their knowledge of remedies, folk medicine, and natural self-care. While I have a working knowledge of herbal remedies, I would not recommend it for the novice herbalist, as the book felt aimed towards those looking to fully commit their lives to an herbalist lifestyle.
Radical Remedies is a Must-Have Guide for the Advancing Herbalist
Radical Remedies is organized into ten sections: first introducing the concepts behind plant medicine and utilizing the tools you have within your home and in the nature around you, before delving into specific aspects of self-care from your digestion to your mental and emotional wellbeing to your body’s immunity.
Ducham helps her readers understand the new concepts she presents by introducing easy-to-read charts, herbal case studies, and easy-to-implement practices to improve your own wellbeing. Throughout the book she also provides page numbers for further reading, implying that the book is not meant to be read straight through, but uses as a guide to learning more about yourself.
One chart that I found quite enlightening was the Recognizing Energetics chart, which revealed that I am a “Hot” person. I already knew this about myself, but I enjoyed learning more about recognizing what type of constitution I am and which herbs are best suited for that constitution. Some of which I had already utilized throughout the course of my life, but others I introduced into my collection of elixirs and tinctures after reading Radical Remedies.
Thirty-one of the prominent herbs that Ducham introduces throughout the book are given detailed plant profiles, introducing readers to which constitutions they are suited towards, which parts of the planet should be used, advice about how to prepare the remedies, and recommended plant pairings. I do wish that these plant profiles provided images, as the limited illustrations through Radical Remedies did not make it as visually engaging as I had hoped a guide would be.
She is also mindful about the way that she encourages “wildcrafting,” ensuring that her readers recognize that some herbs — like white sage — are tied to indigenous traditions and should not be used by nonindigenous herbalists. The key to natural remedies is understanding where herbs originate and what their roots are in. This was a very nice mindfulness reminder, which some new-age herbalists overlook.
While I may not be able to set up my own home apothecary and create my natural remedies, the book did encourage me to pick up a Burdock Root tincture for myself and a Hawthorne elixir for my mother. Though I found the book to be geared towards a slightly more advanced herbalist than myself, I did appreciate how Ducham wrapped Radical Remedies up with a wonderful “Resources” section filled with additional books, cookbooks, and where-to-buy websites to help burgeoning herbalists learn more or source ingredients without going into the woods.
Radical Remedies would be a daunting read for someone with little exposure to herbalism, but it is the perfect addition to the library of someone building their own in-home apothecary. If the pandemic has made you start to consider home remedies for the first time, this is the perfect book to return to once you have developed your understanding.
Pre-order Brittany Ducham's Radical Remedies: An Herbalist's Guide to Empowered Self-Care today and pick it up on bookshelves on April 20th.