The Prisoner’s Herbal

About the Book

Prisoners all over the world commonly experience medical neglect and a dehumanising separation from wild places. However, weeds come up through the concrete cracks. This book contains detailed profiles of ten plants that are commonly found in prison yards. It is based on my use of plants during my own 3.5-year prison sentence, with suggestions on how to prepare medicines in prison with limited resources.

It also includes tips and tricks for making the most out of foods, spices and condiments available from the prison canteen (commissary), as well as sections on how to connect with plant allies emotionally and how to care for wounds in a prison environment.

For readers on the outside, it provides practical advice about how to work with common weeds in simple and direct ways and will inspire solidarity across the walls.

Read the first few pages here: The Prisoners Herbal Sample

How to buy it

You can buy the book on the Solidarity Apothecary store:

It is being sold for £5 to help generate funds so that we can send free copies to prisoners. A digital copy is also available here.

The book is also available wholesale for bookshops from Active Distribution.

If you would like to order a free copy for people in prison, or multiple copies for a prisoner book project, please complete this form:

Check out some of the amazing testimonials from people in prison who have read the book here or see some of our favourites below. 

Prisoner Testimonials

Herbs keep me alive in prison

I love your herbal book… Personally I can not over state how this book has helped me in prison. I have many ailments from asthma, COPD, severe reactive skin. Unfortunately our prison yard is mostly concrete. But I have managed to treat my ailments by picking dandelion leaves to eat and wash. Also we have some plantain that grows so I use that for lots of things. Also we have a bit of clover so I use all what I can. On the out I lived in a field and never touched detergent. I have a good knowledge of herbs but your book has bolstered up my own knowledge and the use of canteen items as well is amazing. Thank you all so much for this book. Herbs keep me alive in prison and give me light and greenery.

HMP Rye Hill

Really helpful to someone who had no previous experience with herbalism

I found the book really helpful to someone who had no previous experience with herbalism, it was really informative and a great way to dip my toe into that world. On a more practical side, it was really useful in accessing some effective herbal remedies. As the book notes, healthcare in prison falls short of what would be expected and simply does not resemble the level of care the state would claim it provides. So, the information in the book allowed me, and others around me, to take steps ourselves to maintain some aspects of our health.

John Paul Wootton

It connected me to plants and weeds in a way that I never expected

The Prisoner’s Herbal book was fantastic, a very enjoyable and informative read. It connected me to plants and weeds in a way that I never expected!! … The book was a perfect way for me to learn myself about how easy it is to pass by different plants and shrubs when you don’t know what they are!! …. I am using the book to study what little life grows in here as its mainly all tarmac/concrete. You’re more than welcome to put on social media in your own words that I love the book and use it to learn as much as possible!

Russell Hawkes
HMP Featherstone

Very interesting and very informative

I found this book to be very interesting and very informative. I would recommend this book for anyone who is interested in herbalism.

HMP Garth

A fantastic book and educational read

I received my copy of your excellent book and have found it very interesting. I have been a practicing as a pagan and landscape gardener for 35 years. I am currently 15 years into a life sentence. I work as a warden in the gardens department. Recently I was allowed from scratch to develop and put in place and old fashioned druidic herb garden. I have filled the garden with many of the old fashioned healing plants. I have allowed plants like dandelions, plantains, chamomile etc. to grow in the garden. You will all be glad to hear that I am using your book as a teaching tool in the group. A fantastic book and educational read, keep up the good work. Bright blessings.

HMP Guys Marsh

I have learnt to appreciate any type of plant I see in prison

Hi, thank you for the Prisoner’s Herbal book it is a very good book with lots of brilliant ideas in, and very useful information. It is a book that really interests me, I do not normally read a book unless I’m interested in something. I have learnt to appreciate any type of plant I see in prison and I also now watch a gardening program. I have been growing some spearmint which I got from a locked unused yard. I like the strong smell. Today Easter Sunday I went in to our yard which is a concrete square and some nettles and daisies were going in the cracks so I picked them. I am boiling them in hot water and will leave over night. I have had a read of the Prison herbal book again and they are in there. I’m looking forward to drinking some tomorrow. I have also repotted the nettle and daisy hopefully they will grow. I also got some dandelion… Thank you again for the book.

HMP Northumberland

Great and helpful

I think your book is great and helpful but due to covid and most of the yard is concrete not seen many weeds. I bought all the spices, tea and veg which on the canteen are available… Anyway, thanks to your book I should be able to live for years. Thank you Mother Nature for that one sweet rose.

HMP Parkhurst

A big help and well appreciated in here

Thank you for the copy of the prisoner’s herbal book. I have used it to help me out, using mallow to aid me when healthcare wouldn’t. Other inmates have also used the book to help them out, it has been a big help and well appreciated in here. Thank you.

HMP Dartmoor

Truly an amazing gift

You should be very proud of what you have achieved with your book. The help you are offering people like myself to study herbalism is truly an amazing gift and one I cannot wait to be part of.

HMP Northumberland

Now part of a little library of books I have on plants, herbs and fungi

Thank you so much for my copy of the ‘Prisoner’s Herbal Book’. It is much better than I expected and I can’t wait to use the information in it. It is now part of a little library of books I have on plants, herbs and fungi that I intend to study at length.

HMP Littlehey

Great herbal book

Thank you for your great herbal book and their great uses… Reading your book gives good detail on vitamins and plant use and description, I since have had nettle tea and dandelion tea.

HMP Bedford

Very good

Very good, some useful info/tips in it about herbs and drinks and food. I like my herbs to improve food casseroles/stews etc. That’s why I asked for the book – to help everyone for their future release from prison.

HMP Lancaster Farms

The book has made me look at plants in a different way

It was great! I have found it so interesting… The book has made me look at plants in a different way. Unfortunately we don’t get much time outside here and no real access to plants but I hope on my release to find out more.

HMP Downview