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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Robert E Burke, MSN, MPS, BSN (Pace University)
Description: This book provides students, healthcare professionals and the lay public with easy access to a wealth of information regarding the proper use and application of medicinal herbs. This is an update of The Botanical Pharmacy: The Pharmacology of 47 Common Herbs, by the same authors (Quarry Press, 1999).
Purpose: The authors intend for this book to provide a foundation of knowledge about botanical products to ensure their proper use and safe application. This objective is realistic and is achieved through a comprehensive review of each of the 50 herbs.
Audience: The book is written for healthcare professionals, patients, and consumers. It is intended to provide healthcare professionals with the necessary information needed to counsel their patients about the proper use and safe application of herbal products and it provides patients and consumers with basic knowledge of the subject and acts as a catalyst for posing informed questions to their healthcare providers. It is also a valuable reference for students of the allied health professions who have an interest in herbal medicine. Dr. Boon is a licensed pharmacist and an assistant professor at the faculty of pharmacy, University of Toronto. She is a contributing author to the homeopathy section of Non-Prescription Drugs: A Health Professional's Reference and Herbs: Everyday Reference for Health Care Practitioners, by Chandler (Canadian Pharmacists Association, 2000). Dr. Smith is a licensed pharmacist, a naturopathic doctor and head of Botanical Sciences at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. He is involved in continuing education programs for healthcare providers and advises a number of national charities, government departments, and media agencies on matters related to complementary and alternative health care in Canada.
Features: The book reviews 50 commonly used herbs in the United States and Canada. Each section provides a thumbnail sketch about the herb, followed by a detailed description of it, the parts used, and its traditional and current medicinal use. In addition, relevant research based on active constituents and biological effects, adverse effects, cautions/contraindications, drug interactions and dosing regimens are provided. The introduction provides a nice review of the legislation regarding herbal medicines in the U.S. and Canada. An overview of the various forms in which herbal medicines are prepared is also provided along with a section regarding safety issues, a glossary of botanical medicine terms, and a table matching medicinal herbs for specific health conditions. The thumbnail sketch preceding each herbal section is unique and very helpful, providing the highlights regarding the herb. This book is incomplete in that the content is limited to herbal medicines alone. It does not provide any information about commonly used minerals, vitamins, amino acids, probiotics, enzymes, over-the-counter hormones, or other dietary supplements.
Assessment: This is an affordable and useful guide to a majority of the commonly used herbs in the United States and Canada. The information is concise and efficiently organized. This will be a useful reference for students, healthcare professions and/or the lay public who are interested in gaining an understanding of the proper use and application of medicinal herbs. This book compares favorably to The Complete German Commission E Monographs, Blumenthal, et al. (American Botanical Council, 1998), Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 4th edition, Jellin, et al. (Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2002), and The 5-Minute Herb & Dietary Supplement Consult, Fugh-Berman ( Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2003).