I don't think this reference will be sitting on my desktop for very long mainly because of the lack of scientific research and dosage options. I'm very big on the scientific aspects of herbalism and not so big on the alternative views such as the yin and yang of plants and what element the plant corresponds with. Not saying that doesn't work for some people, it just doesn't work for me. With this in mind it made my overall view on the book a bit apathetic. Mars does say what constituents are in the plants, but it seems very dry and lacking with no introduction on the basics of the botanic break-down of these constituents and what they are used for and why. Another reason why I felt like this book was lacking as a "desktop reference" is that each herb doesn't have a particular "general use" column. She does say what the herb is good for in a specific form, (e.g. tincture, extract, poultice...) but the way it is written seems clumsy to me almost as if most herbs are all-cures. More specifically she lists around a twenty-five average of ailments a single herb can cure and although some maybe true, as a desktop reference I would enjoy seeing some scientific evidence of these herbs working in this form or manner, or even what active ingredients/constituents go into aiding the ailments.
I did enjoy the book for a few reasons though, and this is why it truly remained a 3/5 instead of a dashing 1/5. I loved the inserts on languages for each herb. For every herb Mars wonderfully translates the common-name into various languages around the world. I thought this was a great learning experience for me to find out what my favourite herbs name's are in different languages. I did enjoy reading on the "Medicinal Uses" column, not because I was looking for the actual use, but because Mars had a lot of lovely historical information that is just lovely to read--even if a bit hard to filter out from the other clutter. I would also like to point out her, "Other Uses" column which by itself was worth the price of the book. In this column there's always a tid-bit of interesting mythological, historical, or alternative use for the herb in question--which in my opinion is a wonderful addition to the book.
Overall, I'd say Mars book is well worth looking into. Even if not for a herbal reference, her knowledge on herbs is nearly boundless and, even if she may not be as scientific as others, Mars historical and alternative insight shines through brightly in this lovely book that I would recommend to any herbalist looking for a good read.