This is without a doubt one of my new favorites. It contains information crucial to the average athlete for maintenance of health and mending of injuries. While the experienced herbologist might have a clear understanding of various herb attributes and the inherent danger of interaction when mixing the plants, vegetables, and extracts, the average layman does not. The reason I enjoyed the book as much as I did, is that the information presented here caters specifically to the average layman in clear concise baby steps.
The author gives a checklist of what to look for in herb/extract selection, how to best prepare the herb, and most importantly what not to do. A particular point she drives home repeatedly (and in my opinion something that needs to be driven home more frequently) is not to overuse any particular plant or extract, as too much of anything could be toxic. She also makes another crucial point often overlooked by many beginners. In the author's own words, just because you are taking something for a particular ailment, does not mean it is good for the whole body. A fact many should take to heart.
The list of plants and herbs is limited to the 64 most commonly found in Europe and North America. In my opinion this is both good and bad. Good, because you are given a variety of herbal stock you will most likely have easy access to, in your own language. This will spare you having to browse the local Chinatown herbal shop, and in most cases being unable to read the label, thus making an educated and for the most part less risky selection. On the other hand the limited selection means you will not be able to obtain recepies for Dit Da Jow, Qi tonification formuals, and the like.
The herbal section is informative in as much as an amature hobbyist would need it to be. Without going into too much detail and losing the reader, the book presents a photo of the herb being described, the Latin and common names of the plant, a brief history and background of how the plant had been used, what the herb had historically been used for, and a 0-5 rating for how effective the particular herb had been for this purpose. The bottom section of the herbal description covers how to prepare the plant, dosage specifications, and appropriate precautions for each particular herb. The only down side here, is that the photos of the herbs are black and white. White it's true that one should not memorize herbs merely via photos, a colored description would go a long way in helping establish a better name to image association.
The back section of the book goes over the various methods of preparing herbs, covering everything from decotions, syrups, tinctures, oils, poultices, and plasters, to infusions and creams. The descriptions are very helpful, and can help the average hobbyist create moderately effective treatments.
The final section of the book deals with various injuries, and how to best treat them, going over the previously covered material, and the best methodology for applying the various treatments. The book has an excellent index, allowing you to search by specific injury or ailment, herb, or preparation method. The glossary at the back covers medical terminology and herbal classification used throughout the book, explaining various descriptions of herbs, such as diurrhetic, antispasmodic, haemostatic, etc.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in herbology basics, and treating martial arts/sports related injuries.