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An Elder's Herbal: Natural Techniques for Promoting Health & Vitality.
by David Hoffmann with Diana Deluca. 1993. Healing Arts Press. Rochester, Vermont. Softcover. 266 pp. $14.95. ISBN 0-89281-396-2.

Baby boomers are turning 50 during 1996, and as a result, around the year 2046 there will be approximately 200,000 centenarians in our population. As public attention turns toward the graying of America, this book becomes an appropriate addition to the literature. The author has produced a book of herbal information specifically geared toward ways in which people can maintain health and vitality and prevent the onset of long-term illnesses using herbal medicines.

The book is divided into two sections. The first deals with various physiological systems (e.g., digestive, cardiovascular, pulmonary, upper respiratory, nervous, urinary, reproductive, muscle, bones and skin and endocrine system).

The second part is made up of brief monographs describing "An elder's materia medica." In this section the author presents brief half-column monographs on 132 herbs mentioned in the first part of the book. The monographs include the common name and Latin names of each herb, the parts used, the primary actions of each herb, indications for which the herbs can be used and methods of preparation and dosage. In its lucid style, written by a British trained medical herbalist who has a number of publications to his credit, this book provides an adequate introduction, especially to that vast majority of those to whom herbs have been a foreign, yet appealing, subject.

As baby boomers continue to gray and become more concerned about menopause, prostate conditions, and pension plans, this book and other information in a similar vein will become increasingly relevant to provide people the educational tools necessary to assure that the second fifty years of their lives will be as productive, healthy, and challenging in a positive sense as were the first fifty.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By Mark Blumenthal