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‘The Tree Dispensary: The Uses, History, and Herbalism of Native European Trees’ by Christina Stapley


The Tree Dispensary explores the history, folklore and medicinal uses of native European trees, beautifully illustrated with the author’s own photographs.

The book presents a thorough and deep appreciation of trees as the author has experienced them through everyday life, as a herb historian and practising herbalist.

Categorised into seasons, each of the 30 tree chapters covers cultivation, cookery, foraging, crafts, history, botany, medicinal use and mythology. Original herbals are used as source material for the historical section, allowing voices from the past to speak for themselves. A ‘Herbalists Reference’ for each tree includes medicinal uses, dosage and constituents and reflects the author’s own extensive experience of using these wonderful tree remedies.

‘For years as a herbalist I had been walking about looking down for what was growing around my feet. The emphasis changed to looking up and I was delighted by the exquisite detail of tiny female flowers on trees, which I simply could not believe I had missed before. I took photographs, pressed herbarium samples, harvested and studied…experimented with barks, catkins and leaves to produce dyes. Never again will a tincture or dried herb of tree origin be simply a name on a label and a list of constituents, actions and indications. I hope as you read this book…you will also feel a stronger connection and wish to explore, plant and care for trees yourselves.’


About the Author

Christina Stapley is a retired medical herbalist with ten years of practice. She now teaches pharmacognosy, materia medica and the history of western herbal medicine. Christina is a member of the Herbal History Research Network, and for many years has tutored practical historical herb workshops. She is a Royal Horticultural Society lecturer and has written three books on growing and using herbs. Christina has written courses on ageing successfully with herbs and edited a book of 17th century cookery and medicinal recipes.

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