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Public Radio's "Medicine Garden" Herbal Show Now Available on Audio Cassette.
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The Medicine Garden is a set of audio cassettes, featuring physicians, pharmacy experts, and others who, describe the sensible uses -- and limitations -- of herbal medicine. Presented by award-winning public radio journalist David Freudberg, these tapes provide an easy-to-follow introduction for anyone curious about this time-tested form of natural healthcare. Each cassette of the two-tape set consists of one program designed for airing on public radio. Uplinked to satellite in January 1996, The Medicine Garden has aired on nearly 100 stations, including most major markets.

According to Freudberg, "A growing wave of Americans -- frustrated by the side effects and ineffectiveness of some standard medicines -- is turning to natural herbal remedies for relief. Once found only in health food stores, today's pharmacies now carry a wide variety of plant-based extracts, teas, cough drops, and other herbal remedies. The Medicine Garden sets out to examine the fascinating resurgence of this traditional form of health care."

Those interviewed gave their insights into these questions: Why is herbal medicine making a comeback? Why is it so popular in European countries? What regulatory issues does it raise in the U.S.? Which herbs are proven safe and effective? Which are dangerous or bogus?

The Medicine Garden was recorded in herb fields, health stores, medical clinics, and other settings. Freudberg's interviewing technique is low-key, but focused; conversational in tone yet fulfilling for the listener, whether he is speaking with professional pharmacognosists or herbalists. Newcomers to the herbal world will find much of benefit in these tapes. Oldtimers can experience a renewal of interest and reinforcement of belief, especially when hearing a familiar subject explored by familiar names within this world.

Key persons interviewed by Freudberg are Bill Moyers, television journalist; Varro Tyler, Ph.D., Lilly Distinguished Professor of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy, Purdue University, and author of Herbs of Choice; Jim Duke, Ph.D., author of A Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of GRAS Herbs, and Other Economic Plants; Norman Farnsworth, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, director of the international herbal database NAPRALERT; Am der Marderosian, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacognosy and Medicinal Chemistry, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science; Andrew Weil, M.D., author of Spontaneous Healing (New York Times Best Seller); Mary Bove, N.D., herbalist and naturopathic physician; Barbara Griggs, historian and author of Green Medicine; Robert Temple, M.D.. U.S. Food and Drug Administration; and Mark Blumenthal, Executive Director of the American Botanical Council, consultant for the project.

Funding was provided in part by General Nutrition Centers (GNC), Nature's Way, and the Herb Research Foundation.

The two-hour tape set is available through the multi-media section of the ABC BookStore for $15.95, order #701. For satellite feed information or for scheduling, feeds, and rights, contact Lynette Cuff at Public Radio International (PRI), 612/330-9219.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.

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By Barbara Johnston