PDR for Herbal Medicines (Physician's Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines)

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9781563632921: PDR for Herbal Medicines (Physician's Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines)
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Draws mostly on the findings of the German Regulatory Authority for herbal medicine, called Commission E, but fills in herbs not covered by the commission from other literature. For over 600 herbal remedies, presents common and Latin names, descriptions of the plant, warnings about distinguishing it from plants that resemble it, parts of the plant used for medicine, habitat, actions and pharmacology, indications and usage, contraindications, precautions and adverse reactions, overdoses, dosage, and literature. Includes color photographs of nearly 400 herbs, a glossary without pronunciation guides, and a list by US state of drug information centers. Contains no information about preparing herbal medicine in general or the philosophy of herbalism. Well cross-referenced. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

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Review:

Interest in and usage of herbal preparations as alternatives to pharmaceuticals has exploded in recent years. Having a complete herbal reference on hand is now absolutely necessary for doctors and other healers when a patient wants to add herbs--let's say St. John's wort--to his drug regimen. Should the patient stop taking the Paxil he's been on for depression, and if so, how long must he wait before he can start taking the St. Johns wort, and what's the recommended dosage?

The PDR for Herbal Medicines will go a long way towards answering such questions. The physician in this case would learn, after consulting the PDR, that "St. John's wort taken concomitantly with an SSRI ... may lead to an increased effect and possible toxicity 'serotonin syndrome', e.g., sweating, tremor, flushing, confusion and agitation." The same physician will also learn that the German Federal Health Authority's Commission E, which has studied the effects of hundreds of herbs, approved St. John's wort for depressive moods, among other conditions.

For more information, the physician can read about the trade names, descriptions of all the medicinal parts of the plant, actions and pharmacology (including the compounds and their effects, with citations), the results of clinical trials, contraindications, precautions and adverse reactions (photosensitization is a biggie for St. John's wort), dosage information, and a complete list of literature citations.

The second edition of this mammoth guide includes over 100 entries more than the first, bringing the total to more than 700. Additions include a selection of Asian herbs, such as Buplerum Chinese (also known as Chinese thoroughwax), which is used in Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, and homeopathic preparations; a directory of manufacturers (with Internet addresses when available), a safety guide (don't use kava kava while nursing), and more. There's even a section that lists unproven uses for each herb. But make no mistake: this is a mainstream reference that relies on scientific proof above all. Therefore, this is not a guide for everyone, but for scientific and medical reference, it's a helpful and comprehensive resource, and even those who push the herbal envelope will find much valuable information here. --Stefanie Durbin

From Publishers Weekly:

Known for their reference manuals (Physicians' Desk Reference; PDR Medical Dictionary; PDR for Nonprescription Drugs and Dietary Supplements) that have been indispensable to the medical world, PDR has compiled a list of extensive explanations of more than 600 herbal medications available. Addressing the influx of natural supplements into mainstream supermarkets, PDR intends to educate consumers and assist them in choosing the best herbs to treat an ailment or simply to help maintain a healthy life. Arranged by the herb's Latin name (cross-referenced by common name), each herbal entry contains pertinent information: description, physical properties, intended usage and expected effects, precautions and adverse reactions, recommended dosage and references for additional reading. To assist in identifying these supplements, the editors have included color photos of many of these herbs as they exist naturally. The indexes are also helpful; one lists both the scientific and common name of each herb and the other lists ailments such as acne, cardiovascular disease, migraines and rhinitis, and the herbs recommended for treatment. This manual could well become a standard guide for those on the road to self-medication.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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