9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
good for beginners and beyond,
This review is from: Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief (Paperback)
This book is by a highly knowledgeable herbalist but can be easily understood and used even by laymen with no previous herbal background. Adaptogens are explained repeatedly in different ways, including as a general tonic, for balancing hormones and other body systems, to help build up reserves in the body, and increase our ability to adapt to, and avoid damage from, the environment. Who, in today's world, wouldn't want all this?
As an informative and helpful starting point to such herbs, I could want nothing better than this book. You could pick and choose from the 40 or so herbs that are so well-described here and, with a little luck, get some benefit. For all these reasons I have given this book 4 stars.
Unfortunately, for me, it has a fatal flaw: it doesn't really seem to have an integrating philosophy or central principle by which I could work out where to start and how to take further steps. It is a sort of dictionary. You pick any one symptom (perhaps night sweats) or medical term (like cholesterol) and there are a number of possibly useful herbs. You might shortlist several and end up trying one of them, or combining several because they are said to work better that way, but it's basically guesswork.
Too many books on nutrition and nutritional supplements (vitamins, minerals, fats, etc) are like this - homeopathy and herbs too. They lack any focus on causation, there is no consideration of a unifying thread or starting point which, when addressed, could clear a number of seemingly different symptoms. (Homeopathy claims to do this but why, for example, is ignatia overwhelmingly given for just one symptom - grief?)
Those who have studied Chinese Traditional Medicine (CTM) understand my point. CTM looks for, and addresses, a root cause for all the symptoms presented by a specific person. Too many health books, just like the conventional medical system, see patients as a collection of parts, or of diagnoses, each separate item to be fixed by a different specialist or herb or nutritional supplement (or combinations), for example.
I would like to see more health books "boiling down" to main, or "umbrella", causes and issues. The body is not a machine such as a car, in which replacing the battery (perhaps a kidney or a heart in a human) or adding engine oil (the equivalent say of putting a few selected adaptogens or vitamins into a body) will put it back on the road in good working order.
Also worth knowing: "Cancer Salves" by Ingrid Naiman is possibly the most brilliant book on herbal remedies.
LATER NOTES: I eventually was diagnosed, by a metabolic specialist, with severe adrenal dysfunction and serious low thyroid issues. The thyroid issue had been getting worse for 2 decades, whilst "standard" medicine denied I had either, repeatedly assuring me all their tests "proved" this. Turns out you have an 80% likelihoode of one or both, if you have a chronic health issue. - thyroiduk[dot]org[dot]uk offers a list of the very few thyroid sympathetic doctors in this country.
It's also worth knowing about "The Calcium Lie II" an intriguing book plausibly claiming to explain the root cause of most illnesses.