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 Post subject: Herbal Remedies for Common Diseases and Conditions
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:16 pm 
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The Green Pharmacy: New Discoveries in Herbal Remedies for Common Diseases and Conditions from the World's Foremost Authority on Healing Herbs

(Hardcover)

by James A. Duke, Michael Castleman, Alice Feinstein

$5.25

# Hardcover: 507 pages
# Publisher: St. Martin's Press
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0875963161
# Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
# Shipping Weight: 2 pounds

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There's still a lot to learn about the healing power of plants, James Duke points out, but what we do know is already prodigious. Much of that knowledge is gathered in The Green Pharmacy, an A-to-Z guide to that relies on plant-based medicines to cure what ails us. Between the listings, Duke crams personal anecdotes from a lifetime of studying herbs, berries, and bark. For example, he relates how he worried about telling a pregnant niece that ginger could help alleviate her morning sickness because he'd learned from a pharmacologist that ginger could also induce miscarriage. Then he solved the mystery: he'd recommended ginger tea, which contains about 250 milligrams of ginger. The Chinese, he learned, use about 80 times that much to end pregnancies--another testimony to the amazing versatility of these natural medicines.

Since I began making and using herbal remedies in 1980 I have been very concerned at the lack of reliable information. Pop and self-help books on herbalism suffer from excessive vagueness (if they are conservative and the author is trying hard to avoid lawsuits) or irresponsible promulgation of superstition (if the author is clumsy, credulous, or ignorant). On the other hand, publications dealing with formal studies of bioactive compounds of plants tend to be inaccessible to the public. There have been very few books that I (as a Ph.D. student in botany as well as a bit of an herbalist) feel comfortable in recommending. This one is at the top of the list.

Nobody can beat James Duke at comfortable pop-level communication combined with solid, informed good judgement. In this book he gives practical preparation and dosage suggestions -- something the too-careful books don't do. He also provides clear, definite cautions on drug interactions and side-effects.

My only criticism of Duke's book is that he may be a bit too confident when he suggests combining several herbs at once to treat some conditions. Folklore and formal studies may provide reasonable dosage guides for individual herbs. But no single folklore or ancient system encompasses, at once, medicinal plants of South America, China, and Europe. Combining herbs that have not been traditonally used, nor clinically tested, in such combination, is not something I would advise to a general audience.

Nevertheless I rate this book very highly. I don't know how many copies of the previous edition I bought to give to people: teenagers, undergraduate college students, my old hippy friends, my father, doctors, and various people who ask me about medical botany.

We all owe Duke a great deal for his tremendous work and his true desire to help others. EVERYONE, without exception, who is interested in medical botany from a practical standpoint, should have this book.

_________________
Contact me directly: Ironfeatherbooks (@) gmail.com

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