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The Legacy of Ginseng: Ginseng; A Concise Handbook.
James A. Duke. Reference Publications, Inc., 218 St. Clair River Drive, Box 344, Algonac, MI 48001. 1989.274pp. Hardcover. $39.95. ISBN 0-917256-32-8.

Interest in ginseng spearheads interest in medicinal herbs. Jim Duke's latest work takes us down a straight path, through taxonomy, history, chemistry, pharmacology, immunology, cultivation, economics, and legal aspects. But the straight and narrow path leaves off there, then winds to unexpected tangents, with a chapter comparing the health benefits of carrots to ginseng, for example.

Duke's skepticism is quelled by his curiosity. "I believe herbs hold the answers to all our medical problems if we are only smart enough to grasp this fact. In this regard, perhaps I reflect the Cherokee tear that flows in colloidal suspension in my Caucasian blood veins."

The author attempts to get to the root of ginseng fact and fiction. He raises more questions than he answers. The book is a readable, engaging, critical, comprehensive account of the ginseng legacy. Highly recommended.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.