The New Complete Book of Herbs, Spices, and Condiments

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9780816041534: The New Complete Book of Herbs, Spices, and Condiments
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Lists over one hundred herbs, spices, and condiments, providing information on their nutritional profile, benefits, possible side effects, chemical makeup, and various uses.

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This new edition of a title first published in 1990 pulls together an unusual group of ingestible substances to explain how they affect the human body. Along with popular healing herbs and food supplements such as echinacea and St. John's wort, entries summarize the good and bad effects of such substances as allspice, coffee, lemon, salsa, and soy sauce. The text concludes with an appendix of herbs, like foxglove, that are used in commercial drugs and a listing of such toxic plants as blue flag and wormwood.

Arrangement is alphabetical by the names used in The Complete German Commission E Monographs, Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicine. Each entry provides a summary chart of vital information on the plant or condiment, followed by a profile of the substance as food or drink, a description of the effects on the body, and recommended safe uses. The text offers succinct commentary on the practical worth of each substance--for example, spearmint and chives as insect repellents, sesame as cooking oil, turmeric as a cheap substitute for saffron. Most helpful is information for pregnant and nursing women. The index groups entries under such headings as appetite stimulants, fabric dyes, and protein sources.

The 34 postage-stamp-sized line drawings of such familiar plants as parsley and basil do little to particularize the plants as they appear in nature or to introduce less familiar entries, such as buchu and celandine. Omitted from the text and index are corn starch, a common remedy for prickly heat, and arthritis, one of the most pervasive focuses of alternative healing methods from ancient times to the present.

Other books, such as The Complete Book of Herbs (Dorling Kindersley, 1988) and the old faithful handbook Magic and Medicine of Plants (Reader's Digest, 1986), are enhanced by color illustrations, history, peripheral commentary, and folklore. Though not as appealing, Rinzler's book is beautifully organized, suitably priced, and more current. Libraries that found the first edition useful will want this update. RBB
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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780816041527: The New Complete Book of Herbs, Spices, and Condiments: A Nutritional, Medical and Culinary Guide

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ISBN 10:  0816041520 ISBN 13:  9780816041527
Publisher: Facts on File, 2001
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Carol Ann Rinzler, Wendell L. Combest (Foreword)
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