Healing Grove: African Tree Remedies and Rituals for the Body and Spirit


Reclaiming traditions based on plants and herbs has never been more important than it is today. Widespread use of chemicals, hormones, and additives introduce unknown substances into our bodies. On a larger scale, our future on the planet depends on our ability and willingness to incorporate earth-friendly practices into daily life. Where better to look for natural remedies and soothing rituals than Africa? It is, after all, the Mother Continent, allegedly the birthplace of the ...

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Reclaiming traditions based on plants and herbs has never been more important than it is today. Widespread use of chemicals, hormones, and additives introduce unknown substances into our bodies. On a larger scale, our future on the planet depends on our ability and willingness to incorporate earth-friendly practices into daily life. Where better to look for natural remedies and soothing rituals than Africa? It is, after all, the Mother Continent, allegedly the birthplace of the entire human race, and the keeper of ancient earth knowledge.

No newcomer to these traditions, Stephanie Rose Bird explores the practical uses, spiritual traditions, and historical aspects of trees in the heritage of African Americans and offers ways to rediscover and implement natural practices in twenty-first-century daily life. The topics she covers are as diverse as a wood should be, including everything from hunting, gathering, and processing to natural divination, omens, signs, and forest medicine for wellness and beauty. A Healing Grove will lead not only to personal healing but also to a lifestyle that will heal our earth.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book contains primal language, originating in Africa, brought to us by this emissary of nature's spoken word."  —Malidoma P. Somé, author, Elder, diviner

"Ms. Bird invites us on a unique exploration of the forest that deepens our cultural awareness and enriches our connection with the green world. This important reference work belongs on the bookshelf of anyone serious about natural healing."  —Sandra Kynes, author, A Year of Ritual and Whispers from the Woods

"A celebration of our bountiful earth . . . a must-read."  —SageWoman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556527647
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/1/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephanie Rose Bird is the author of Sticks, Stones, Roots, and Bones: Hoodoo, Mojo, and Conjuring with Herbs and Four Seasons of Mojo: An Herbal Guide for the Natural Home. In addition to her work as a writer, an artist, and an independent scholar, she is a practicing herbalist and aromatherapist. For more information, visit her website www.stephanierosebird.com

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Foreword ix

Preface: Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Story Within A Healing Grove xi

Introduction: Holly, Oak, and Pine: Enter My Personal Forest xv

I Our Heritage and Traditions

1 Igboro-Egun: Grove of the Ancestors 3

2 Calabash: Vessel of African Culture, Spirituality, and Survival 17

3 Black Folk Be Workin' Dem Roots Long, Long Time: An African Herbalist's Overview 27

4 Ceremonies, Rites, and Oracles of the Wood: Transatlantic African Tree Veneration 39

II Remedies and Rituals for Daily Life

5 Out Bush: Filters, Shields, and Field Guides 59

6 Ways and Means: Tools and Techniques for Africa-Inspired Herbalists 79

7 Seeds, Nuts, Pods, and Oils 93

8 Fruit of Mother Nature's Labor: Soul-Nourishing Berry and Fruit Trees 113

9 Bark, Gum, Sap, Resins, and Moss Medicine 145

10 Very Important Palms: VIPs of Transatlantic Tree World 163

Epilogue: Seeds of Hope: Participation in Villages Far and Wide 187

Resources and Organizations 205

Appendix A Resources 209

Appendix B Study and Apprenticeships 213

Notes 215

Glossary 225

Bibliography 231

Index 239

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    African remidies of old used for the new.

    A Healing Grove is a well-written and informative book.

    It is clear in the words of the author that she has deep affinity with trees and the emotions that come with deep attachments. She is clearly proud of her heritage and informed about her ancestry.

    I found A Healing Grove easy to read and filled with a vast knowledge of Africa, it's traditions and practices.

    I found the little extra bits, like superstition from old about not sitting under trees after 6pm, well placed and a welcome addition.

    The definitions and explanations found in clear easy to find circles made the whole reading process easier for me to understand what it was that I was reading.

    I personally love the smell of pine and within the covers of A Healing Grove I found a Pine Floor Wash - Forever Green Floor Wash - and am currently searching for the right ingredients. A house always smells better with pine. I abhor chemicals and the natural ingredients I found in this wash made my day.

    With footnotes and warning about the dangers of pine were a necessary addition for the reader who wouldn't know these could be dangerous.

    The key features, in point form - a personal favorite form of mine - made the basic and important features of each tree, nut fruit etc easy to see and understand.

    I would recommend this book to anyone in-tune with nature, anyone who has an interest in the subject and anyone interested in natural healing, customs and history of Africa.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Fascinating Study of African Healing

    A Healing Grove
    African Tree Remedies and Rituals
    for the Body and Spirit
    Author: Stephanie Rose Bird
    Publisher: Lawrence Hill Books
    ISBN: 978-1-55652-764-7

    The residents of the U.S. in particular and the Earth in general are beginning to understand the serious consequences of our overconsumption and misuse of chemicals, synthetic hormones and processed additives. Our health would be better served by the use of more natural and easily renewable compounds. In fact, it's actually in vogue now to move towards a more renewable and natural lifestyle. The author of A Healing Grove; Stephanie Rose Bird, is willing to share her vast and fascinating study of healing with us. If the reader has any interest in natural and complementary medicine, healthy and natural products, greener living in general or African American history, you will find tons of useful information , plant and tree knowledge and just interesting reading in this comprehensive work. Stephanie is a practicing herbalist and aromatherapist, and a gifted writer. Her easy, sharing style of writing is like a conversation with a good friend. Her attention to detail, intimate insights and caring nature are wonderful and so evident in her writing.

    I've been a long time student of alternative, herbal and holistic healing and this book really opened my eyes to the study of African American healing. I had some knowledge of the use and understanding of use of bark in healing and health, but no idea of the vast potential it had.

    I believe the hallmark of a great book is that you finish it satisfied but yearning to learn more about the subject. The additional resources, organizations and companies that all would further personal study are listed in the extensive bibliography and reference section. Just a peek at the additional resources available whet my intellectual appetite for more knowledge. Needless to say, this book will remain in my permanent reference library and I will refer to it often. The included glossary is great, and I think it could be extremely valuable for the novice reader of the subject of natural healing arts to start their study with the glossary. Its so comprehensive, the beginning student will learn many of the herbal basics right here.

    I plan to read the other works by this author, and would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in healing, greener living, African American history or just great additional knowledge.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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