Herbs for the Mind: What Science Tells Us about Nature's Remedies for Depression, Stress, Memory Loss, and Insomnia

Herbs for the Mind: What Science Tells Us about Nature's Remedies for Depression, Stress, Memory Loss, and Insomnia

by Jonathan R. T. Davidson
     
 

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In the last five years, herbal remedies have led the charge of natural products into the health care market--despite conflicting reports on their effectiveness and safety. But now consumers are stepping back and asking the tough questions: Do these herbs actually work? Does "natural" mean "safe"? What about side effects? From leading researchers and Duke…  See more details below

Overview


In the last five years, herbal remedies have led the charge of natural products into the health care market--despite conflicting reports on their effectiveness and safety. But now consumers are stepping back and asking the tough questions: Do these herbs actually work? Does "natural" mean "safe"? What about side effects? From leading researchers and Duke University psychiatrists, this book translates hard data into the accessible answers you need to make informed decisions on taking St. John's wort for depression, kava for stress or anxiety, valerian for insomnia, or ginkgo for memory loss. You will learn:

*Which treatments, traditional and alternative, have proven most effective for common psychological ills--and where herbs fall in the list
*How to judge when you're getting maximum benefits, when to switch brands or products, and when to stop taking herbs
*When you may need more than herbs, and how to enlist your doctor's support with your herbal self-help program
*What science still does not know about herbs.

SHORT PROFESSIONAL COPY (revised 12/17/99)
More and more health care consumers are taking or considering herbal remedies to soothe their psychological aches and pains, from depression, stress, and anxiety, to insomnia and memory loss. Now mental health professionals have a reliable scientific source for answers to frequently asked questions about herbs. This book offers an authoritative guide to the most popular "herbs for the mind": St. John's wort, kava, valerian, and ginkgo. From leading researchers and Duke University psychiatrists Jonathan R. T. Davidson and Kathryn M. Connor, the book is appropriate for a broad audience of professionals and consumers. Clear guidelines are provided for developing an herbal self-help regimen and recognizing when professional intervention may be necessary. Written in accessible, nontechnical language, the book features a wealth of case examples, clear information on product selection and dosages, and helpful checklists, tables, and charts. Also included are a handy glossary of terms and consumer resource listings on psychological and herb-related topics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Herbs for the Mind is a much-needed source of information on four of the most commonly used herbs in the western world. It is informative, scientifically reliable, and highly readable. This is a valuable resource for the layperson and professional alike. Before taking any 'herb for the mind,'read this book." --Larry Dossey, MD, author, Reinventing Medicine; Executive Editor, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine
3 Stars from Doody
Stephen M. Delisi
The authors of this book draw together the existing information available on St. John's Wort, Kava Kava, Ginkgo, and Valerian. They draw upon historical perspectives, clinical experiences, and academic research evidence as they present the current state of understanding of how these herbs affect the human mind. The authors utilize a question-and-answer format that is quite effective. The purpose is to provide the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the effects of various herbal remedies. The authors seek to provide more detailed information regarding the specific uses of the herbs. In addition, they present clinical and scientific evidence to both refute the common misconceptions and support the benefits of these particular remedies. These are very worthwhile objectives and the authors meet their goals well. This book is targeted to both clinicians and lay consumers. Readers will find this presentation concise and clear. They will appreciate the thoroughness of the authors' examination of the material presented. Both authors have extensive experience in the areas of clinical psychiatry and psychopharmacology. They have published their collaborative work in numerous, peer-reviewed journals. The book begins with a wonderful introduction — a brief history of herbal remedies in the U.S. Following this history lesson, the authors provide a 'Consumer's Guide' on investigating and buying herbs for medicinal purposes. The book is then divided into four chapters, each one devoted to a specific herb: St. John's Wort, Kava Kava, Ginkgo, and Valerian. The information provided is very complete, and the authors approach the issue of illness diagnosis and treatment with careand discernment. Their use of text boxes and tables is particularly effective for summarizing key information. A glossary and resources section is also provided. This is a very useful book for anyone interested in the study of herbal remedies for the treatment of depression, anxiety, memory loss, and insomnia. The authors bring together a large body of information that includes both scientific and clinical experience. The "Resources" section will be of particular interest to readers seeking additional sources of assistance and information.
Library Journal
"Depression hurts, stress kills, anxiety is unnerving, insomnia is debilitating, and faulty memory is a major disadvantage in today's demanding world." It's no wonder that ginkgo (used to improve memory) and St. John's wort (used for depression) were the two best-selling herbals in 1998. Davidson and Connor, both psychiatrists at Duke University, take the above two herbs as well as kava and valerian (they may have anti-anxiety properties), summarize the scientific evidence, and make prudent recommendations about their use. They also talk about the pros and cons of traditional treatments for depression, anxiety, memory loss, and insomnia. What distinguishes this book from other herbals is balance. The scientific studies are reviewed objectively, and in-depth discussions are offered of each herb's side effects, limitations, and possible benefits and drawbacks. There is also a lot of information on the history of these herbs and how they work physiologically. Sure to please both diehard adherents of alternative medicine and outright skeptics, this should be required reading for all health professionals and students. Highly recommended for all libraries, from consumer to academic to medical.-Natalie Kupferberg, Ohio State Univ. Pharmacy Lib., Columbus
Booknews
Davidson and Connor, professors of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center, translate hard data on herbs into accessible answers on questions surrounding taking St. John's wort for depression, kava for stress, ginkgo for memory loss, and valerian for insomnia. They tell which traditional and alternative treatments have proven most effective for common psychological problems, and explain what science still does not know about herbs. They discuss how to monitor benefits and side effects, how to enlist a doctor's support for herbal self-help, and how to judge when herbal treatments are not the answer. Davidson is principal investigator of the NIH-sponsored study of St. John's wort in depression. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Internet Book Watch
In the past five years herbal remedies have led natural products in the health care market, but consumers are asking new questions about the safety and effectiveness of these unregulated substances. Researchers and psychiatrists examine herbs related to mental health, telling how to assess common herbs for effectiveness, side effects, and lasting impact.
—Internet Book Watch

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781572305724
Publisher:
Guilford Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
05/17/2000
Pages:
278
Product dimensions:
6.27(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.01(d)

Meet the Author


Jonathan R. T. Davidson, MD, is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Medical Center, where he is also Director of the Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Program. He earned his medical degree at University College and University College Hospital Medical School in London, UK. A board-certified psychiatrist in the U.S., he is also a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK). He has participated in numerous studies of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in social phobia, PTSD, and generalized anxiety disorder. Currently he is involved in several National Institutes of Health-sponsored trials, including investigations of family risk factors in PTSD, and treatment of PTSD and depressive disorder. He has been actively involved in research of complementary and alternative treatments, and received professional training in homeopathic medicine.

Kathryn M. Connor, MD, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Medical Center, where she works in the Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Program. A graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, she completed her psychiatry residency training at Duke and was the recipient of a Glaxo Wellcome/Duke Clinical Psychopharmacology Research Fellowship. Her clinical research on anxiety and mood disorders includes trials of medications, herbs, and other therapies; epidemiologic studies; and the development of diagnostic screening and assessment instruments.

SHORT BIOS:
Jonathan R. T. Davidson, MD, is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Medical Center, where he is also Director of the Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Program. He is principal investigator of the National Institutes of Health-sponsored study of St. John's wort in depression. He has been actively involved in research of complementary and alternative treatments, and received professional training in homeopathic medicine.

Kathryn M. Connor, MD, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University Medical Center, where she works in the Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Program

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