30 books by POC about plants and/or healing that you should read
Tired of seeing lists and lists of books on herbalism and holistic healing written by white folks/folks of European descent? Even and especially when it’s about your own black and brown ancestral traditions? I got you. Here’s a short list to get you started in the right direction of exploring plant traditions with books penned by fellow people of color. Now please keep in mind that oral traditions and exchanging information at the kitchen table and in the comfort of our living rooms and within our communities is how we mostly roll- BUT ALSO there are enormous barriers to our books actually being published- and this is one reason why whenever you look at literature about our indigenous black and brown traditions the author is almost always white/of European descent. It gets really old and I know some of you have noticed and are probably as tired as I am of encountering this every. time. you check out an author’s bio.
So let’s get started-
1.Remedios: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertorriqueños- Aurora Levins Morales
2.A Healing Grove: African Tree Remedies and Rituals for the Body and Spirit by Stephanie Rose Bird
3. Red Medicine: Traditional Indigenous Rites of Birthing and Healing Patrisia Gonzales
4. Healing with Herbs and Rituals: A Mexican Tradition;Curandero: A Life in Mexican Folk Healing Eliseo “Cheo” Torres
6.Our Knowledge Is Not Primitive: Decolonizing Botanical Anishinaabe Teachings Wendy Makoons Geniusz
7. Plants Have So Much to Give Us, All We Have to Do Is Ask: Anishinaabe Botanical Teachings Mary Siisip Geniusz
8. Cedar Songs- Keewaydinoquay Peschel
9. Woman Who Glows in the Dark: A Curandera Reveals Traditional Aztec Secrets of Physical and Spiritual HealthElena Avila
10. Coyote Medicine: Lessons from Native American Healing. Lewis Mehl-Madrona
11.A Taste of Heritage: Crow Indian Recipes and Herbal Medicines.Alma Hogan Snell
12. The Native American Sweatlodge, Joseph Bruchac
13. Delfina Cuero: Her Autobiography, An Account of Her Last Years, and Her Ethnobotanic Contributions.Delfina Cuero
14.Working Cures: Health, healing and Power on Southern Slave PlantationsSharla Fett
15. Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West: Cultural and Scientific Basis for Their Use. Cecilia Garcia and JD Adams
16. Temalpakh: Cahuilla Indian Knowledge and Usage of Plants. Lowell John Bean and Katherine S. Saubel
17. Curandero Conversations: El Niño Fidencio, Shamanism and Healing Traditions of the Borderlands. Antonio Zavaleta and Alberto Salinas Jr.
18.Curanderos: They Heal the Sick with Prayers and Herbs Trevino-Hernandez, Alberto.
19.Homegrown Healing: Traditional Home Remedies from MexicoAnnette Sandoval
20.Border Healing Woman: The Story of Jewel Babb as told to Pat LittleDog Jewel Babb and Pat LittleDog
21. Plantas Medicinales de Puerto Rico: Folklore Fundamentos Cientificos by Esteban Nunez Melendez
22. Nuestra Medicina: De Los Remedios para el Aire y Los Remedios para el AlmaEstela Román
23. African American Folk Healing by Stephanie Mitchem
24.African American Slave Medicine: Herbal and Non-Herbal Treatments by Herbert C. Covey
25. Secret Doctors: Ethnomedicine of African Americans by Wonda L. Fontenot
26. Earth and Spirit: Medicinal Plants and Healing Lore from Puerto Rico/Hasta Los Banos Te Curan! María Benedetti
27. 12 Árboles Amigos: juegos y retos etnobotánicos para Borikén / 12 Tree FriendsMaría Benedetti
28.HealthQuest Staying Strong: Staying Strong: Reclaiming the Wisdom of African-American Healing (Healthquest : Total Wellness for Body, Mind & Spirit) by Sara L Reese and Therman Evans
29.Way of the Ancient Healer: Sacred Teachings from Philippine Ancestral TraditionsVirgil Mayor Apostol
30.Babaylan: Filipinos and the Call of the Indigenous Leny Mendoza Strobel
*Ayo Ngozi, a dooope black herbalist who does workshops teaching about herbal history and medicine making and also writes for the online website Herbal Academy.
*Zachari Curtis is a founder at Good Sense Farm and blogs at their website about plants, social justice, growing mushrooms and honey.
If there are certain traditions you don’t see here (TCM, Thai Traditional Medicine, Ayurveda, specific African-based Traditions, etc.) it’s not because I’ve skipped them. It’s because the interwebs are oversaturated with books edited and/or written by yt folks- academics, researchers, anthropologists, and folks who became a part of those traditions and therefore “experts” or knowledgeable enough to get a book published. And let’s not forget language barriers and what might be available and what authors might be writing in English.
I am in the process of researching more BIPOC authors of more of our healing traditions. I look forward to making more lists including many more traditions of different continents. Probably not Europe, though.