An illustrated edition of Hoffmann's earlier The New Holistic Herbal (Element, 1992), The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal offers a listing of over 200 herbs and detailed sections on their use in treating ailments associated with each major body system (circulatory, respiratory, digestive, nervous, reproductive, glandular, and urinary) as well as the major organs such as skin, ears, nose, and throat. In addition, an introduction to holistic medicine, instructions for making preparations, and a glossary are included. Hoffmann's effort is devoted almost solely to herbs found in North America (although this is not stated anywhere), with little information on habitat, growth, and gathering and no cautions on usage. For this latter type of information, one needs to consult The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants, which covers herbs from all over the world, giving their location and cultivation. The encyclopedia begins with a history of herbal medicine and the herbal traditions of different cultures. Following is a visual guide to 100 key herbs from around the world, with details of their habitat, actions, traditional and current uses, latest research, preparations, cautions about usage, and useful cross references to particular ailments. In addition, there are shorter descriptions of 450 other herbs, with their history, habitat, therapeutic properties, and medicinal uses. The final section covers growing, harvesting, and processing herbs; making remedies; dealing with common ailments; and a glossary. Both books are well indexed, profusely illustrated, and authored by established authorities in the field of herbal medicine. (Hoffman, incidentally, served as the American consultant for Chevallier's book.) The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants is a better choice as a reference manual, due to its comprehensiveness, habitat information, cautions, and cross references, while The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal is stronger on explaining the physiology and the role of herbs in general holistic health.Valerie Vaughan, Hatfield P.L., Mass.