This really is two books in one, and its huge. It's not one that has to be read in continuity: there are pieces/parts.
The book opens with a version of Greek ancient history that borders on being mythological, as in "made up". It is goddess-oriented and almost exclusively about women. It is a very feminine viewpoint and at times feels like a tirade against men and other cultures. According to Paine, the Hellenes were a group of men who invaded Greece. In doing so they stripped women of their healing powers because they were jealous of and infuriated by the goddesses and their higher place in the community. The men wanted to establish a patriarchal society. To accomplish this,they engineered a campaign to turn the healing goddesses into dark goddesses or even sorceresses. e.g. Circe. They singled out the healing women and burned them as witches.
While I learned something interesting, the word pharmacist is from the Greek, pharmakis which means witch or wise woman, overall this section suffers from a lack of scholarship about actual Greek history. (An interjection here. When I started reading the book, one sentence read that "the seas were teamed with fish." That should have read "teemed with fish", meaning plentiful. I don't know if that was the error of the author or just a typo. But somebody should have noticed.)
That lengthy but problematic part of the book done, the second part is about the various healing plants and their properties and identification. This is where the book really shines.
This portion of the book features 22 sacred trees and 19 plants and flowers native to Greece. They are so thoroughly explained that this section could easily stand alone. It is information overload. but in a good way. You can always tell good researchers.They know their stuff. The black and white drawings are excellently done so you can easily identify the plant. Each one is thoroughly examined. First the author gives you the mythology of the plant, followed by its botanical description, healing properties, how to use it, chemical properties, and ends with necessary precautions.
This book is a useful guide to taking you back to when natural herbs, plants and flowers were used to cure body, mind and soul as one.
~review by Judy Blackstone
Author: Angela Paine
Moon Books, 2021