The Psychopharmacology of Herbal Medicine: Plant Drugs That Alter Mind, Brain, and Behavior

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Virtually all cultures consume drugs from psychoactive plants. Caffeine,for example, is probably the most common stimulant in the world, and many modern medicines, such as morphine and codeine, are derived from plant sources. In these cases, scientific research has revealed the composition of the plants and how they interact with the nervous system. There are also many herbal medications with reputed therapeutic value that have not yet gained acceptance into mainstream medicine, partly because there has not been enough research to support their usefulness. Instead they are regarded as "alternative medicines." This is an active research area, however, and many current studies are focusing on identifying the active components, pharmacological properties, physiological effects, and clinical efficacy of herbal medicines. This book compiles and integrates the most up-to-date information on the major psychoactive herbal medicines — that is, herbal medicines that alter mind, brain, and behavior. It focuses particularly on the effects on various areas of cognition, including attention, learning, and memory. The book covers all major classes of psychoactive drugs, including stimulants, cognitive enhancers, sedatives and anxiolytics, psychotherapeutic herbs, analgesics and anesthetic plants, hallucinogens, and cannabis.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
When seeking complementary or alternative mind- and behavior-altering medicine, people tend to prefer herbs over other methods. With the amount of research on herbal remedies increasing, this single, comprehensive source covering stimulants, cognitive enhancers, herbal sedatives, and analgesic and anesthetic plants is useful and timely. Spinella (psychology, Richard Stockton Coll.) provides extensive information on basic neuroscience and pharmacology and covers hallucinogens and cannabis. Extensive references are provided. Unfortunately, this work is more like a textbook than a compendium; the writing is solid but dry, and readers seeking an introduction to this subject will probably not want this level of detail. Lay readers will find Jonathan R.T. Davidson and Kathryn M. Connor's Herbs for the Mind (LJ 7/00) more accessible, while practitioners who need a quick introduction to herbs should see PDRO for Herbal Medicines (LJ 3/1/99) or Expanded Commission E Monographs (American Botanical Council, 2000). Recommended for medical libraries. Natalie Kupferberg, Ohio State Univ., Columbus Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262692656
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2001
  • Pages: 500
  • Sales rank: 635,014
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Marcello Spinella is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 Basic Neurosciences 23
3 Basic Pharmacology 53
4 Stimulant Plants 73
5 Cognitive Enhancers 131
6 Herbal Sedatives and Anxiolytics 195
7 Psychotherapeutic Herbs 233
8 Analgesic and Anesthetic Plants 281
9 Hallucinogenic Plants 329
10 Cannabis 391
References 429
Recommended Reading 555
Index 561
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