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In my interest in learning and understanding the medicinal qualities and uses of herbs for my own personal use (and without any formal medical training), I've purchased many books on 'herbal medicine' and 'homeopathic medicines/remedies'. While there are some good books out there, there is NOTHING I've come across that is as complete as this reference book (4th Edition, 2007).
Some of the most exciting parts of this book for me have been the color photos of the plants (and not just a black and white sketch, or lack thereof, included with some of my other books), the description of the medicinal PARTS of the plant, the pharmacology of plant, and the references (or literature citations) provided that allow me to research further on my own.
This PDR provides you with:
1) An ALPHABETICAL INDEX (in the front): Lists all scientific and common names found in the herbal monographs.
2) THERAPEUTIC CATEGORY INDEX (i.e. acne preparations. migraine preparations, to wound care products): Groups herbs by therapeutic or medicinal category. Listings are alphabetical by category and accepted common name. Herbs deemed effective by Commission E are flagged for quick reference.
3) INDICIATIONS INDEX (i.e. abdominal cramps, relief of flatulance, to superficial wounds): Lists herbs by their primary indications. Entries are alphabetical by indication and accepted common name. Herbs deemed effective by Commission E are specially flagged.
4) HOMEOPATHIC INDICATIONS INDEX(i.e. aches, muscular, induction of sleep, to relief of symptomatic wheezing): Catalogs herbal applications in homepathy. Entries are alphabetical by indication and scientific name.
5) ASIAN INDICATIONS INDEX: Groups herbs by their thereuptic uses in Chinese and Indian medicine. Listings are alphabetical by indication and accepted common name, with the scientific name shown in parentheses.
6) SIDE EFFECTS INDEX: Groups herbs by the adverse reactions with which they have been associated. Listings are alphabetical by indication and accepted common name, with the scientific name shown in parentheses.
7) DRUG/HERB INTERACTIONS GUIDE: Lists problem combinations alphabetically by the name of the drug and the name of the interacting herb, and provides a brief description of each combination's potential effect.
8) SAFETY GUIDE: Lists herbs that must be avoided while pregnant or nursing, and herbs that should be used only under professional supervision. Includes scientific and common names.
9) COMMON HERBAL TERMINOLOGY: Provides familiar, as well as less common terms that appear in scientific literature regarding herbal medicines.
10) HERB IDENTIFICATION GUIDE: Permits rapid, positive identification of botanicals. Includes over 300 full-color photos.
11) HERBAL MONOGRAPHS: Profiles of more than 700 medicinal herbs, including description, actions, clinical trials, indications, contraindications, precautions, drug interactions, adverse effects, overdosage, dosage, and literature citations. Organized alphabetically by accepted common name and cross-referenced with scientific name.
12) NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENT MONOGRAPHS: Profiles some of the most common supplements, including description, actions, clinical trials, indications, contraindications, precautions, drug interactions, adverse effects, overdosage, dosage, and literature citations. Organized alphabetically by accepted common name.
Anyone serious about learning and understanding the wonderful amd natural healing properties of herbs, NEEDS to include this reference manual in your library. The foreward by David Herber, Professor of Medicine an dPublic Health, Director, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition and UCKA Botanical Research Center, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA) explains it all.
I hope this book is as helpful for you as it has been for me.
In response to post dated September 10, 2008, I'd like to add that this book is 'exhaustive and informative, as well as a reference' as stated by another customer and yes, not all herbs are FDA 'approved', but they have been around and used effectively a lot longer than synthetic versions created by pharmaceutical companies. Which, by the way, also have to go through clinical trials, but generally don't have the same long-term usage data as herbs. Secondly, physicians also use a PDR for prescription drugs based on the same information provided in this publication. It is up to the healer (doctor or herbalist) to use common sense and continued education, as well as an informed patient, to decide on the best treatment for an ailment. Further research by both parties is always recommended.