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CRC Handbook of Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants.
L.D. Kapoor, 1990, CRC Press, 2000 Corporate Blvd. NW, Boca Raton, FL 33431. illustrated. 416 pp. hardbound. ISBN # 0-8493-0559-4. $195.00.

This high-priced, technical, scientific and medical book from CRC Press surprised me. The respected publisher CRC was actually publishing a book on Ayurvedic herbs! It makes a lot of sense. Ayurveda is on the rise, both in India where it has enjoyed the position of the traditional medicine system for over 5,000 years, and here in the U.S. where interest in Oriental and Indian traditional medicine is swelling -- both among health consumers and scientists. Now that CRC has added Ayurveda to its list of titles, this ancient healing tradition will no doubt get a shot in the arm in the credibility department -- at least for Western scientists.

An Ayurvedic resurgence has blossomed in India since independence in the late 1940s. Partly as a consequence of the World Health Organization's mandate to bring primary health care to the world's population by the year 2000 via the contributions of traditional medicine, the research into and scientific validation of ancient Ayurvedic herbal remedies has increased tremendously.

This book is a collection of one- and two-page monographs on the major herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine. The herbs are listed alphabetically by Latin names. Each monograph cites the vernacular names in numerous languages (Sanskrit, Hindi, English, Bengali, Nepalese, German, Unani, Arabian, Persian, and Tibetan), the geographical habitat, the plant part used, pharmacognostical characteristics, the Ayurvedic description, action, and uses (from an Ayurvedic perspective), chemical constituents, pharmacological action, medicinal properties and uses, and dosage.

The author is a retired scientist from the National Botanical Research Institute in Lucknow, India, now living in New Jersey. He has extensive experience in the botany and pharmacognosy of Indian medicinal plants and has worked in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan as an advisor on the harvesting and preparation of Ayurvedic herbs for pharmaceutical use.

This book will sit on the shelf directly over my computer within ann's reach with my most frequently used references instead of across the room with the rest of my Ayurvedic works. Too bad the price may prohibit purchase by many other interested researchers, writers, herbalists, and clinicians, as this is some of the best info on Ayurvedic herbs to come out yet!

Article copyright American Botanical Council.