An Herbalist’s Guide to Formulary by Holly Bellebuono

Publication Details

    An Herbalist’s Guide to Formulary by Holly Bellebuono
  • Author: Holly Bellebuono
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide
  • Date Published: 8 Dec. 2017
  • Format: Paperback

Further Information


As health care costs rise exponentially and mounting evidence points to the continuing failure of allopathic medicines to deal with the root cause of illness, people are increasingly turning to alternative remedies when seeking healing.

Anyone who feels drawn towards herbalism as one of these natural approaches to personal health might might be interested in An Herbalist’s Guide to Formulary by community herbalist and apothecary director Holly Bellebuono.

Types of Classification

In her book Bellebuono presents an easy to understand, four-tier system of classification for organising herbs. They are:

  1. Tonic Herbs – that are meant to be taken on a long-term basis to nourish, support and sustain the body
  2. Specific Herbs – that are the primary one given for a specific condition or illness
  3. Collary Herbs – that address issues that are associated with an illness
  4. Vehicle, or Carrier Herbs, that have an affinity for a certain organ or system within the body

Having shown how not all herbs are the same – or operate in exactly the same way, the author considers the main parts of the human body and their role, or function, in keeping us alive.

The first area she considers, from a herbalists perspective, is that of the process of ingestion and the actions of the stomach.

In An Herbalist’s Guide to Formulary Bellebuono offers advice on how various food types enhance the digestive process. She identifies which herbs work to cure illnesses and diseases in this area of the body and aid channels of waste elimination.

From there the author examines the human respiratory system and offers further advice on its care and healing – once again, by using herbs. Following on from there she next considers several other major areas of the human anatomy; such as the brain, the immune system, and the skin.

Finally she describes the effect of herbs upon hormones and the endocrine system, their use in pregnancy and childbirth, and finally their effect upon the urinary system.

The book closes with additional insights into herbalism via appendices and closes with a bibliography and index


From specific concoctions to heal Crones Disease through to natural remedies for stress and hair loss this is a book that is full of great advice on the use of herbs in healing. However, I found it to be much more than that and a fascinating exploration of the terrain covered by natural remedies along with their history and cultural context.

Rather than simply be a dull list of medical ailments and their associated plant cures the book is a genuinely intriguing journey into a world of healthcare that should be much better understood by the general public than it currently is.

Whilst many may indeed consider the subject to be overly complex, or even antiquated, An Herbalist’s Guide to Formulary by Holly Bellebuono stamps out its ground and goes a long way in dispelling these myths by bringing the subject up to date in an engaging and very grounded way.

I did not expect to enjoy reading this book anywhere near as much as I did and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in maintaining a healthy and strong physical and mental body using a few common but powerful types of plants.



Credit: Review copy kindly supplied by Llewellyn Publications, USA..