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Acclaimed herbalist Deni Bown has joined forces with that hidden haven of scented tranquillity, the Chelsea Physic Garden, to produce this impressive work on herbs. Founded in 1673, the Chelsea Physic Garden was created to teach apothecaries the ways of herbal medicines and it has survived through the centuries to become today a garden of world medicine, welcoming scientists and horticulturalists as well as the general public. Growing hundreds of varieties, many of Deni's photographs were taken here. Once handed down from parent to child, the lore of these herbal plants and their powers has been perpetuated, especially by the books published in the 1600 and 1700s such as the famous Gerard's "Herbal", and they are now of increased importance in today's climate of natural healing. Deni looks at 150 of these herbs in detail, giving portraits, history, uses and gardening notes for each, accompanied by either one of her own photographs or a botanical illustration from one of the many ancient herbals held by the Chelsea Physic Garden. Interspersed between these profiles are two-page thematic spreads on subjects such as poisonous plants, relaxants and stimulants amongst others. A fascinating, gloriously illustrated reference book, filled with anecdotes and the facts behind herbs occasionally peculiar common names. Medicinal information from days long ago still has a relevance today with herbs such as arnica and garlic popular alternative remedies. It is a history of plants that have been important to mankind from earliest history and whose mutual evolution with ourselves still benefits the human race today.

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