Top critical review
on 17 February 2014
Not bad as an introduction or quick reference book.
- Intuitively structured by health benefit or ailment themes (heart & circulation, respiratory system, digestive system, etc.)
- The "therapeutic use index" at the end makes it easy to quickly find plants that are good for treating particular ailments.
- Contains a decent variety (but not amount: roughly 2 and 1/2 pages per plant) of information regarding each plant: introduction & history of therapeutic use, growing habits, cultivation and harvesting, [current] therapeutic uses (the books briefly summarizes each plant's confirmed properties, often mentioning that certain info is supported by recent research), how to use and precautions.
- Interesting information and curiosities on the historical use of the plant, ancient rituals, etc.,
- It certainly sets a tone of respect and reverence (awe, in some cases) towards these healing plants mother nature provides us with (free of charge)
- Not all the plants listed are easily accessible/found
- Repetitive and overlapping information, the same information often being mentioned in the first few sentences describing the plant and then repeated when listing its use throughout history, and once again regarding current use. E.g.: "Turmeric has recently gained popularity [in Western herbal medicine] as a potent, but safe anti-inflammatory treatment for a host of digestive ailments and other conditions. [...] Turmeric has been used in Indian Ayurvedic and Unani traditional medicine for at least 2,500 years, primarily to treat digestive and liver disorders, skin infections and irritations, and arthritis. [...] Today turmeric is used in herbal medicine to treat digestive and liver problems, joint pain and skin conditions. [...] Herbalists recommend turmeric for indigestion and diarrhoea as well as inflammatory bowel diseases. [...] Turmeric seems to have a special affinity for reducing inflammation in the body, particularly in the gastrointestinal tract ".
At times, one has the impression that much redundant information has been used as a "filler", and can't help feeling a bit cheated
- Lack of bibliography. Although study results are often mentioned, there's no reference of which studies these were or where to find them.
A good place to start to get acquainted with medicinal herbs, their history and properties, and a good resource in terms of quickly finding plants that are good for specific ailments. In general, and for the price, it's a good book, and has earned its place in my collection on medicinal herbs, despite not being the most thorough or comprehensive.