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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Mary Louise Quinn, MS (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy)
Description: This book is the third in a series discussing herbal drugs and plant constituents.
Purpose: Being a fairly complete compilation of information on 16 herbals and two plant compounds, it is meant to provide source material on current and potentially therapeutic herbals.
Audience: The audience includes pharmacists and pharmaceutical scientists.
Features: The book serves its purpose very well. The title is, in fact, misleading. Although the volume does discuss in detail the adverse effects reported in the literature for the various herbals, it provides much more useful information. Each chapter contains detailed information on botany, chemistry, pharmacology and pharmacokinetics, as well as complete information on adverse reactions on a systematic basis. Although there are no illustrations and one or two tables are somewhat confusing, this is a very well-written book. The table of contents and the index are more than adequate. In addition, an impressive list of references completes each chapter.
Assessment: The need for this type of information is becoming more obvious, especially in the United States. An article on alternative medicine published recently in a popular magazine resulted in nearly 1000 requests for information on various herbal "medications." As more patients are introduced to herbal drugs and dietary supplements, requests for information on efficacy and safety are sure to become more common. This volume, although limited in scope, is a welcome addition to the first two volumes. The final chapter, notes added in proof, is a pleasant surprise for the updated information it provides to topics already discussed in volumes one and two.