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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Eric M. Scholar, PhD (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Description: The material in this book is compiled from widely scattered sources in the literature. The author presents data for more than 400 species in a table format arranged in alphabetical order by the scientific name followed by the common name.
Purpose: This book is designed to provide manufacturers, researchers, and producers with easy access to information on medicinal herbs.
Audience: This book is intended for a wide, diverse audience of healthcare professionals. The author is a well-known researcher on medicinal plants and is well qualified to write the book.
Features: Current information on major constituents and medicinal values is presented: toxicities or hazards; essential oils; value-added products; cultivation and harvesting; and infectious diseases and insects. There are three appendixes: major active ingredients, essential oils, and a list of the common and scientific names of the medicinal plants cited.
Assessment: This book is a presentation of comprehensive and extensive information on medicinal plants, useful to a widely diverse group of professionals. Unfortunately it has several drawbacks. Most of the information provided is superficial and uneven in quality detracting from its value. For example, in the first table the author lists the major constituents and medicinal value of these plants. However, several different constituents are listed and it is unclear which of these have medicinal activity and of what kind. For the section on toxicities the information provided is not very useful as the author gives only superficial statements about the toxicity and refers mainly to one reference. Several chapters seem to contain information that is useful to only a very narrow audience. For example, in one chapter the author provides a list of essential oils found in these plants and another list of the major diseases associated with each medicinal plant. With the exception of the first two chapters references are given at the end of the chapter and not in the tables.