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From The CriticsReviewer: Margaret Ward, MD(Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This is an informative, one-of-a-kind book based on a symposium on the development of new neuropsychiatric drugs from traditional herbal medicines that was held at the 19th Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum (CIND) Congress in July, 1994 in Washington, D.C. Two internationally recognized researchers edited the book and co-chaired the symposium, which brought together a group of distinguished scientists from around the world to discuss herbal medicines, their clinical effectiveness, and their potential to provide the basis for new, more effective psychopharmacologic treatments.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide an overview of the status of traditional herbal medicines as they relate to the treatment of neuropsychiatric diseases today. It is also meant to serve as a source and reference supplying detailed information on specific natural products and their constituents. The book definitely meets this goal.
Audience: Targeted for both clinical and basic scientists, it would be a useful source and reference for psychiatrists, neurologists, and even family practitioners. As more and more patients are consuming OTC herbal preparations, clinicians need to become more knowledgeable about the safety and efficacy of herbal treatments.
Features: The book is divided into nine chapters and a subject index. The opening chapter, written by researchers from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, is a description of current programs in the U.S. investigating traditional medicines and how they may lead to the development of more effective psychopharmacologic agents. The history, present-day status, and future directions of herbal medicines in Japan, China, and India are covered in the next three chapters. The remaining chapters are more specific in focus and include detail descriptions of natural products such as ginkgo, himbacine (a muscarinic antagonist), and huperzine A (a potent and selective acetylcholinesterase inhibitor). The effect of herbal medicines on brain oxidative stress and learning disturbances in senescence-accelerated mice is covered in the last chapter.
Assessment: This is a useful and informative book on herbal treatments for neuropsychiatric disorders. It would be a very valuable source and reference for practicing clinicians as well as basic scientists interested in herbal preparations.