Desk Reference to Nature's Medicine

by National Geographic Society (Author)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist
National Geographic's guide to medicinal plants introduces 150 of the most
popular plants and herbs used as dietary supplements, among them aloe, ephedra,
ginkgo, and peppermint. There are more than 80,000 known species of medicinal
plants worldwide, but what this book lacks in comprehensiveness, it makes up for
by presenting a wealth of essential information on the history, culture,
folklore, and science of traditional and contemporary herbal medicine in all
major culture areas of the world.

Emphasizing current research and therapeutic uses, the volume provides an A-Z
listing of plants by common name. Information about each plant covers a two-page
spread and includes traditional and current medicinal uses, common and Latin
names, description, habitat, cultivation and preparation, research, and caution
alerts. Color photographs, botanical illustrations, and range maps accompany the
text, while sidebars offer interesting facts about biology, nomenclature,
history, or folklore that add to a better understanding of the plant and its
healing properties. Regional essays on the healing plants of Africa, Australia
and New Zealand, Central and South America, China, Europe, India, North America,
the Middle East, and Oceania provide insightful glimpses into the fascinating
range and diversity of local health practices from around the world while also
revealing the multifaceted roles that herbalists, healers, and herbal--medicine
practitioners play in the lives of their patients. Reference tools include a
glossary, Latin name index, and subject index.

This attractive and reasonably priced volume is recommended for most public
library reference collections.

Product Description
For millennia, humans have looked to nature for remedies to ailments great and
small. Long before formal science enabled us to take a systematic approach to
medicine, healers used plants to alleviate pain, ease the symptoms of dozens of
diseases, and treat complaints of every kind. And today, countless people still
use medicinal plants, whether in traditional roles or as building blocks for new
research and innovative drugs.

Featuring 350 full-color photographs, botanical drawings, and maps, this
accessible, fact-filled book is based on the work of renowned botanical experts
and presents alphabetically arranged, beautifully illustrated entries for
hundreds of plants touted for millennia to soothe, even heal. Each is clearly
described, with full details of its physical appearance and medicinal uses; its
origins and geographic distribution, how it's harvested and used in conventional
and alternative medicine, a range map; and more.

It's also a fascinating medical chronicle filled with informative sidebars on
everything from ancient folklore to the latest research. Readers learn how
aspirin evolved from a concoction of willow bark to the familiar white pill of
today, how the foxglove's flowery beauty contributes to the potent heart drug
digitalis, and how many other now common treatments have deep historical and
cultural roots. It's a journey that starts many centuries ago in remote places
like the Amazon rain forest, where shamans practiced their powerful curative
magic of plants, and leads to the high-tech pharmaceutical labs of today's
scientists working to discover new plant-based drugs that can be used
effectively to treat diseases major and minor alike, from cancer to the common cold.

Product Details

Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: National Geographic (April 18, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0792236661



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