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The Healing Power of Herbs: The Enlightened Person's Guide to the Wonders of Medicinal Plants.
by Michael T. Murray. 1991. Prima Publishing, PO Box 1260MM, Rocklin, CA 95677. Softcover. 246 pp. $12.95. ISBN 1-55958-138-7.

The author is a naturopathic physician with a keen interest in European phytomedicines and standardized herbal extracts. The introduction "Botanical Medicine -- A Modern Perspective," offers a compelling and concise review of the history of herbs in medicine from ancient to modern times.

The book is divided into twelve sections based on groupings of herbs with benefit for specific organs or physiological systems (e.g., liver disorders, immune system, vascular system, respiratory system, etc.) The first section deals with such common foods as onion, garlic, ginger, and turmeric, wherein the author relates the latest scientific information on these products. A welcome feature is the "key uses of" at the beginning of each monograph for each herb with bulleted list of four or five major uses of the herbs. The author then gives the general description, chemical composition, history folk use, and pharmacology of each plant with a summary and information on dosage and toxicology. Each section is referenced with the sources of the author's information.

In all thirty-one herbs are reviewed, including hawthorn, ginkgo, saw palmetto, licorice, feverfew, valerian, St. John's wort, bilberry, milk thistle, ginseng (Asian and Siberian), goldenseal, echinacea, and others.

This book is probably a bit too technical for beginners but is just right for intermediate and advanced students of herbalism.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.