The Herbalist's Bible
by Julie Bruton-Seal
John Parkinson's Lost Classic Rediscovered
Herbalist to King Charles I, John Parkinson (1567–1650) was a master apothecary, herbalist and gardener.
Famous in his own lifetime for his influential books, his magnum opus was published in 1640, the Theatrum Botanicum, which ran to 1,788 large pages.
The sheer scope and size was perhaps to prove the book’s downfall because, while it was much revered and indeed plagiarized, it was never reprinted and now has the status of an extremely valuable rare book.
Parkinson was writing at a time when Western herbalism was at its zenith, and his skills as a plantsman combined perfectly with his passion for science, observation and historical scholarship.
In this editor’s selection, Julie and Matthew have printed Parkinson’s clear and lively description of a chosen plant’s ‘vertues’ or healing properties, adding their own modern commentary and a contemporary take on his almost-forgotten herbal recipes.
Busy herbalists, historians and gardeners will welcome this restoration and sensitive highlighting of Parkinson’s huge lost classic.
250 Colour photographs, 55 Black & white illustrations
Sep 04, 2014
About the Author:
Julie Bruton-Seal is a practising naturopathic herbalist, cranio-sacral therapist and iridologist. A fellow of the Association of Master Herbalists, she served on the AMH council and edited its magazine for many years. A former council member of the Herbal History Research Network, she is also a member of the Association of Foragers. She is a jeweller, photographer, artist, writer and a graphic designer.
Matthew Seal’s first recorded proper words (according to his mother, who wouldn’t exaggerate on such a matter) were ‘meadowsweet’, uttered on a nature walk in the River Trent marshes when he was nearly three. Matthew grew up in a family of gardeners and botanists and, while not following his kinfolk into professional gardening or horticulture, he has never forgotten this early ‘greening’. He is the co-author of Hedgerow Medicine, Wayside Medicine, Kitchen Medicine, The Herbalist's Bible and Make Your Own Aphrodisiacs. Four of these books have also been published in the USA. He has worked as an editor and writer in books, magazines and newspapers for over thirty-five years, in both the UK and South Africa. He ran over a hundred marathons and ultra-marathons while living in South Africa and is author of Survive and Thrive in the New South Africa (How To Books, 2000). In addition to his ongoing freelance editing, he has experience in design and production. He was for three years revise sub-editor of Business Report, the largest-selling business daily in South Africa and he is currently publications director of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP).