Desk Reference to Nature's Medicine

Desk Reference to Nature's Medicine

by National Geographic Society, Rebecca L. Johnson
     
 

For millennia, humans have looked to nature for remedies to ailments great and small. Long before formal science enabled us to take a systematic approach to medicine, healers used plants to alleviate pain, ease the symptoms of dozens of diseases, and treat complaints of every kind. And today, countless people still use medicinal plants, whether in traditional roles

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Overview

For millennia, humans have looked to nature for remedies to ailments great and small. Long before formal science enabled us to take a systematic approach to medicine, healers used plants to alleviate pain, ease the symptoms of dozens of diseases, and treat complaints of every kind. And today, countless people still use medicinal plants, whether in traditional roles or as building blocks for new research and innovative drugs.

Featuring 350 full-color photographs, botanical drawings, and maps, this accessible, fact-filled book is based on the work of renowned botanical experts and presents alphabetically arranged, beautifully illustrated entries for hundreds of plants touted for millennia to soothe, even heal. Each is clearly described, with full details of its physical appearance and medicinal uses; its origins and geographic distribution, how it's harvested and used in conventional and alternative medicine, a range map; and more.

It's also a fascinating medical chronicle filled with informative sidebars on everything from ancient folklore to the latest research. Readers learn how aspirin evolved from a concoction of willow bark to the familiar white pill of today, how the foxglove's flowery beauty contributes to the potent heart drug digitalis, and how many other now common treatments have deep historical and cultural roots. It's a journey that starts many centuries ago in remote places like the Amazon rain forest, where shamans practiced their powerful curative magic of plants, and leads to the high-tech pharmaceutical labs of today's scientists working to discover new plant-based drugs that can be used effectively to treat diseases major and minor alike, from cancer to the common cold.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
As interest in and usage of medicinal plants increase among the public, so, too, does the need for a factual, assessable source for lay readers. Herbalist Foster (101 Medicinal Herbs: An Illustrated Guide) and science writer Johnson (A Walk in the Tundra) present a sampling of 150 of the 80,000-plus medicinal plants known to exist worldwide. Entries-each two pages long-are alphabetized by common standard name and include other common and Latin names, the plant's physical features and habitat, traditional and current uses, growing conditions and preparations, a summary of scientific studies, caution alerts, a fascinating human-interest sidebar, and a short See Also note of two to four standard references. Continent-specific essays of historical and modern uses of healing plants are beautifully illustrated. In total, the book features 200 full-color photographs, 150 exquisite botanical drawings, and 159 maps. Boldface terms refer to entries in the glossary. A general index lists standard common names, Latin names, usages, and diseases and conditions. There are no specific references to primary sources. Bottom Line This authoritative, clearly written, and gorgeously illustrated guide, which manages to be succinct without being dry, would make a good companion to works covering a larger number of herbs, such as the American Botanical Council's The Complete German Commission E Monographs and Medical Economics' PDR for Herbal Medicines. Recommended for all public libraries for both reference and circulation as an introduction to a cross section of medicinal plants. Patrons will definitely want to peruse this one at their leisure.-Janice Flahiff, Medical Univ. Lib. of Ohio, Toledo Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780792236665
Publisher:
National Geographic Society
Publication date:
04/18/2006
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
735,765
Product dimensions:
7.98(w) x 10.19(h) x 1.30(d)

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