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Eclectic Dispensatory of Botanical Therapeutics, Vol. II.
This is the second in a series of publications on botanical therapeutics, the first being published in 1989. The author, a professionally trained naturopath who has been engaged in research and education rather than clinical practice, is well-known in the naturopathic and herbal community as an avid researcher and writer. Part one contains two articles of historical significance| the first, "The Role of Alcohol in the Development of Pharmacy" and second, an interesting historical insight on the plant medicines of the Oregon trail plus an extensive review of twenty medicinal plants used by native Americans in Southwestern United States. This last section, 129 pages in two-column format with extensive references and index, contains so much information that it could stand alone as a separate publication. Herbs reviewed include uva ursi, juniper, chaparral, barberry (mahonia), prickly pear, damiana, and yucca, among others. Part Two deals with clinical issues. It is broken into various sections on subjects such as "Treatment of Respiratory Allergies with Pharmaceutical and Botanical Medicines," "The Rational Treatments of Coughs with Botanical Medicines," "An Overview of Conventional, Experimental, and Botanical Treatments of Non-Malignant Prostate Conditions." This section is extremely valuable for any researcher or clinician and is almost worth the price of the entire volume. Part Two also includes an interesting analysis of the various herbs used in the Hoxsey treatment, a cancer treatment developed by a controversial practitioner in Texas in the 1930s (For more on this subject, see HerbalGram # 18/19). Part Three ("Pharmacognosy") consists of three chapters of compelling interest to anyone seriously studying herbal medicine: two chapters on how botanicals in the Boraginaceae, Labiatae, and Cruciferae can inhibit functions of the endocrine system and a third chapter on the insecticidal and therapeutic activity of natural isobutylamides. Part Four, "Materia Medica" provides well referenced research summaries on fiftyfive herbs, most of which are popular in the U.S. market. These include garlic, burdock, uva ursi, cayenne, black cohosh, hawthorn, echinacea, Siberian ginseng, ginkgo, goldenseal, St. John's wort, chaparral, shiitake, chamomile, passion flower, kudzu, cascara sagrada, saw palmetto, milk thistle, comfrey, feverfew, dandelion, nettles, cranberry, valerian, vitex, and ginger, among others. As with some of the previous sections, this one too could have been published as a separate book, being 135 information-crammed pages. Finally, Part Five deals with various properties of desert sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), a ubiquitous plant in the desert Southwest. Dr. Brinker presents sagebrush's historical use as well as chemical and pharmacological information on this much overlooked and currently controversial medicinal plant. This present work may be considered somewhat cumbersome as it is published in a large three-ring bider format. On the other hand, sections lend themselves to easy removal for research and reading purposes. Both author Brinker and compiler Alstat should be commended for the painstaking work that they have performed in collecting this massive amount of data. It will surely be of interest to practitioners and researchers, especially those with an interest in plants native to the American Southwest. With so much information, this dispensatory is well worth the investment. Article copyright American Botanical Council. ~~~~~~~~ By Mark Blumenthal">by Frances J. Brinker, N.D., compiled by Edward K. Alstat N.D., R. Ph. 1995. Eclectic Medical Publications, Sandy, Oregon. 507 pp. in 3-ring binder format. $125. Available from ABC BookStore, #B 184.p#