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Guide to Medicinal Herbs: The World’s Most Effective Guide to Healing Plants. Rebecca L. Johnson, Steven Foster, Tieraona Low Dog, and David Kiefer. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society; 2010. Hardcover, 384 pages. ISBN: 978-4262-0747-1. $39.95.

This reference guide features herbal remedies for the whole body, including the nervous, respiratory, and digestive systems. The book is both easy to navigate, thanks to system-specific chapters, and beautiful to look at, thanks to co-author Steven Foster’s compelling photography. Each of the 72 herbs listed in the guide is accompanied by information on its growing habits, therapeutic uses, preparation instructions, and precautions.

Xie’s Chinese Veterinary Herbology. Huishing Xie, Vanessa Preast (eds). Ames, IA: Wiley-Blackwell; 2010. Hardcover, 612 pages. ISBN: 978-0-8138-0369-2. $129.99.

This 37-chapter tome includes a Chinese veterinary materia medica, which explains the 4 directions of herbal energy, Chinese herbal formulas, administration forms, and more. The book also provides specific herbal treatment recommendations for animal symptoms broken down by chapter. Black-and-white plant and animal illustrations by Barbara Jean Beckford.

Global Censorship of Health Information: The Politics of Controlling Therapeutic Information to Protect State-Sponsored Drug Monopolies. Jonathan W. Emord. Washington, DC: Sentinel Press; 2010. Hardcover, 190 pages. ISBN-10: 0-9820594-4-x. $28.95.

Constitutional lawyer Jonathan Emord lays out an overview of government censorship of health information, from the foundations of American free speech to contemporary abuse by what he terms monopolistic drug companies. He also illustrates how said censorship has its roots in the kinds of prior restraint utilized in 16th to 18th century Europe, and what concerned citizens today can do to fight it.

Alchemical Medicine for the 21st Century: Spagyrics for Detox, Healing and Longevity. Clare Goodrick-Clarke. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press; 2010. Paperback, 186 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59477-319-8.$16.95.

This book provides information on a method of plant healing for both physical and mental ailments called spagyric alchemy. Spagyrics was developed by 16th century physician, chemist, and alchemist Paracelsus, who is considered the father of modern pharmacology, and centers on the energy and salt of plants as purported remedies. The book offers mixtures and contraindications, in addition to a history of Spagyrics.

Gemmotherapy: The Science of Healing with Plant Stem Cells. Roger Halfon. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press; 2010. Paperback, 120 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59477-341-9. $14.95.

This book provides basic information and a historic background of gemmotherapy, the medicinal use of plant buds and young shoots. It goes on to list various remedies and a treatment protocol based on research done in the 1950s by Pol Henry, a Belgian doctor. The supposed benefits include clearing the body of toxins and many common disease-states using the extracts from these plant “stem cells.”

Uses & Abuses of Plant-Derived Smoke: Its Ethnobotany as Hallucinogen, Perfume, Incense & Medicine. Marcello Pennacchio, Lara Jefferson, Kayri Havens. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2010. Hardcover, 247 pages. ISBN: 978-0-19-537001-0. $45.00.

This book discusses the medicinal, ceremonial, and recreational uses of plant-derived smoke—emphasizing the benefits that have come from their use. Smoking various plants is a long-carried tradition in many areas of the world, often intended to promote or maintain health rather than smoked purely for recreation. Further uses described are for pest control and veterinary applications. The book also includes a list of which smoke is toxic, and a list of which plants are used and how they are employed.

Dill (Anethum graveolens L.): Herb of the Year 2010. Susan Belsinger (ed). Jacksonville, FL: International Herb Association; 2009. Paperback, 130 pages. ISBN: 978-1-61658665-2. $12.00.

This book compiles a collection of readings on the herb dill. An interesting resource that encompasses all aspects of dill, including the history of dill, cultivation, medicinal properties, and recipes, the book also includes poetry, photos, and illustrations inspired by the 2010 Herb of the Year. Who knew a simple concoction of dill seed and water is a folk cure for hiccups?

Herbal Principles in Cosmetics: Properties and Mechanisms of Action. Bruno Burlando, Luisella Verotta, Laura Cornara, Elisa Bottini-Massa. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2010. Hardcover, 460 pages. ISBN: 978-1-43981213-6. $149.95.

In this volume, expert authors expound upon the anatomy of human skin and the mechanisms of action that herbs and herbal compounds have on it. The monographs included detail the phytochemical, ethnopharmacological, and botanical elements of herbal active ingredients, as well as toxicological ones. Each herb is represented with a blackand-white photo.

Botanic Gardens: Modern-Day Arks. Sarah Oldfield. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; 2010. Hardcover, 240 pages. ISBN: 978-0-262-01516-5. $29.95.

This gorgeous full-color book, written by the Secretary General of Botanic Gardens Conservation International, discusses the plant extinction crisis and takes the reader on a tour of the world’s botanic gardens. Along the way, Oldfield describes the region-specific qualities that make each garden unique and important, as well as the gardens’ research and conservation efforts. Plentiful photos, a number of them pagesized, make for a truly immersive experience.