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Weil and Wellness: Natural Health, Natural Medicine.
Andrew Weil, M.D. 1990, Houghton Mifflin Co., 2 Park St., Boston, MA 02108.356 pp. hardbound. $19.95

I don't know anyone in this country who can match the unique qualifications of Andrew Weil. After receiving an undergraduate degree at Harvard (studying under the world-famous Professor Richard Evans Schultes, the "Father of Modern Ethnobotany"), Weil went on to Harvard Medical School to receive his medical doctorate. The author of four previous books (for review of one, Health and Healing, see HerbalGram #18/19), Dr. Weil adds the fluency of a skilled writer to the training and insight of an experienced physician.

The author conducts a clinical practice in Tucson, Arizona, and also teaches at the University of Arizona School of Medicine, thus combining his medical training with his teaching ability. His basic tenet is that a doctor should act primarily as a teacher (the word doctor comes from the Latin word for teacher), only secondly as a therapist. The health practitioner should educate and coach patients to lake care of their own health from a preventive point of view.

Natural Health, Natural Medicine is loaded with practical advice on how consumers can take increased responsibility for their own health. The book is non-technical, no-nonsense, and full of common sense. Since about 80 percent of the medicines that he prescribes are herbal remedies, Dr. Weil devotes considerable space to herbs in this book. His endorsements for herbs are critical, however, based on his extensive training and experience. He is not making a blanket testimonial to the values of all herbs and all forms of herb products. Some herb and health food enthusiasts might be a bit dismayed by what appears to be a conservative assessment of some items found in the marketplace, but Weil is honestly directing the reader according to the dictates of his own professional conscience.

In addition, Weil spends considerable time on diet, the value of pure water, and proper breathing techniques for relaxation and prevention of tension and disease. Also included are recipes for making simple and reliable remedies and healthy meals at home.

Weil represents the medical doctor of the future who looks at demythologizing medicine and placing the healing process back into the domain of the patient.

Not content with recommending this book highly, I have ordered more copies for gifts to medical doctors, pharmacists, and other professionals who have as much to gain from its wisdom as the average health consumer.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.