National Geographic Society 2006
416 pp. hardcover
Long before formal science offered a systematic approach to medicine, observant healers used plants to alleviate pain, ease the symptoms of disease, and treat complaints of every kind. This book showcases 150 therapeutic plants, detailing each plant’s history, physical appearance and medicinal properties, origin and geographic distribution, method of harvesting, and specific use in both conventional and alternative medicine. Nine essays interspersed through the text explore healing traditions and practices across the globe. This is a practical resource, a browser’s delight, and a visually sumptuous tour of the world of herbal medicine.
416 pp. softcover
Reviews & Awards
A New York Public Library Best Reference Book of 2007
“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.”
“This authoritative, clearly written, and gorgeously illustrated guide…manages to be succinct without being dry…Patrons will definitely want to peruse this one at their leisure.”