on October 6, 2012
I became extremely ill with an auto-immune disease and this book saved my life. Remember-treating yourself is safer with plants than pharmaceuticals because you would need to consume vast amounts to harm yourself. So, you can order the herbs, mix and match and see how you feel. You have time to experiment. I ordered the best quality organic bulk herbs and made strong tea. At first I hemmed and hawed about spending money on herbs, but since I could not walk and thought I would die, I decided this was not the time to be cheap! I made my tea with Ashwagandha and anti-inflammatory herbs, and another tea with medicinal mushrooms: Reishi, Shiitake, and Maitake. I was also seeing an MD. I was seeing an herbalist, and I double checked his work, and realized he made a mistake. I read this book and made my own cure. I tried one more herbalist who tried to scare me. She made it sound like making my own teas was insane. I am an intelligent person, and a good researcher, and when I called her to tell her I cured myself, she told me I was unrealistic. I could not believe it! I think she is jealous of David Winston. When I told my MD that I was using herbs, he laughed me out of his office. I thought I should give him my herbalists number, and they could commiserate! The pharmaceuticals helped me survive by masking the pain, but they made me so dizzy I was hanging on the walls! Not cute... When you are so sick like this, it is no joke, especially when you feel like you are fighting with your(paid)healers! Guess what? You still have to fight! I became full of faith in myself and trusted my intuition. I told myself I could do it. My symptoms are 95% gone. My MD explained it away by saying the pharmaceuticals had built up in my system and so that is why I felt good. He said if I did not take them, the pain would return. NOPE. I am drinking my two teas 3x's a day. The tree cannot be felled with one blow, so I will keep drinking them until I am 100%. I needed a cane during the worst part of it, and had a permanent handicapped parking tag! If you believe in yourself and can read, count drops from a tincture bottle, or can boil water for tea, you can heal yourself!!!! I must admit the day I stopped taking my pharmaceuticals, it was a leap of faith and I prayed, but then I was fine!!! Thank you David and Steven, because you saved my life! (Along with some Divinity!)P.S. There is also a pet section which I am using!
The great American herbalist David Winston and researcher Steven Maimes have written an excellent analysis on what is arguably the most important class of herbs for those of us living in a stressed world. The book is clearly written and free of jargon, but will meet the needs both of professional herbalists and those who want to understand this group of herbs more deeply. Adaptogens are herbs that help us work better, which balance our neuroendocrine system as well as our immune system, which make our organs function normally and which increase stamina. Herbs like ginseng, schisandra, eleuthero, ashwaganda, holy basil and lycium (goji) berries are described in useful monographs. Interestingly, the book differentiates adaptogens from similar or overlapping classes of herbs like Chinese qi tonics, Ayurvedic rasayanas, amphoterics which normalize the functions of specific organs, and alteratives which enhance generalized elimination. I highly recommend this book to people at all levels of interest in herbal medicine.
on October 8, 2009
I have a wide selection of books related to herbs, but this is the only one that I know of that deals specifically with adaptogens, and since everyone could benefit from boosting his immune system and helping the body to effectively deal with stress, this is one of those books that may help anyone to enjoy better health.
The main adaptogens covered in this book are American ginseng, amla, ashwagandha, asian ginseng, astragalus, cordyceps, dang shen, eleuthero, guduchi, he shou wu, holy basil, jiaogulan, licorice, lycium, prince seng, reishi, rhaponticum, rhodiola, shisandra, shatavari, shilajit - interestingly enough most of them seem to be either part of Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese Medicine, and there is not much mention of herbs that may be traditionally used in western herbalism.
With the herbs covered in this book, he author has listed the history of the herb, where the herb grows, modern uses of the herb, dosage and safety, and there is a mention of few related studies. Herbs are also grouped in relation to different health issues, so you'll find herbs that may help with stress, those that may be helpful for breathing problems, herbs that may be helpful with athletic performance, those that may be helpful when dealing with cardio-vascular problems, those that may be helpful with musculo-skeletal problems, and so on - though if you do have any such problems, you may benefit from also looking into other herbs that are not mentioned in this book.
The author has added a small section on additional herbs that are helpful as nerve tonics - like chamomile, passionflower, skullcap, lemon balm and few others; and a section on herbal nootropics like bacopa, gotu kola, bhringaraj (which is otherwise popular for boosting hair growth), and few others.
Included are some popular herbal formulations from Traditional Chinese Medicine (bu zong yi qi tang, sheng mai san, etc.), and from Ayurveda (chyavanprash, and triphala), as well as some recipes for incorporating adapogenic herbs into food or making teas with combination of different herbs.
On a side note, there is a minimal mention on any herbs which have been traditionally used by western herbalists that will help you to boost your immune system, many of which you may find in your local grocery store, and add to food like turmeric, oregano, thyme and other spices, or make tea out of cinnamon, ginger and cloves - as will garlic and lemon, but they are beyond the scope of this book. Perhaps the greatest benefit of this book is that it covers herbs that many people in the west may be less familiar with.
on April 25, 2007
As a student of traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, I find this book very useful as it highlights many traditional herbs as adaptogens. These herbs are important for health and well-being and the authors have presented a valuable reference book for both practitioner and general reader. The section on herbal adaptogens and monographs on adaptogens are particularly useful.
on February 24, 2013
To be sure, the information found in this book is extremely informative and I am very glad I bought it. As many other reviewers have mentioned, there's not a lot of information on the subject compiled into a single work easily digested by layreaders like myself. If sourcing the herbs was easier, I'd give this book 5 stars.
WHAT THE BOOK IS -
- A very well organized body of work that focuses on concrete, consistent and reputable information on herbs used for millenia. I especially appreciate how the author is very clear and particularly mentions that he's referring to herb X from region Y, and constantly reminding the reader of his reference to that specific herb and X herb only from Y region. I conducted a quick search on a particular herb mentioned. I immediately noticed that there were numerous claims made by many vendors about that herb, except it was a cousin to the specific adaptogen to which the author was referring. I know that sort of thing happens all the time, however researching the herb during my reading proved a valuable academic exercise.
- One of the most interesting and enjoyable materia medica I've read in an herb book. I appreciate how the author weaves practice and perceptions of the herb from many diverse (vastly different herb use) cultures. The author also includes a very easy to understand compliment herbs section (most very easy to find).
- An interesting precursor to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Traditional Western Medicine, Native American Medicine, Tonic Herbs, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Therapy/Vibration Healing, Cosmetic Formulations, Medicinal Mushrooms, Organ support, learning more about herbs or just about anything else.
WHAT THE BOOK ISN'T -
- A How-To book.
- A book on USA Adaptogens or easily found ones (though I was pleasantly surprised to calculate that I have a third of the primary herbs mentioned).
- A recipe compendium (though the author's website is very useful, though not necessarily for recipes)
- Where you'll find where to source raw materials mentioned in the book.
I'll definitely reread the book and update my review accordingly. And I know that regardless of what path one takes to wellness, it's important to understand herbs. As I've mostly already said, there are 3 primary issues I see with the book:
Herbs Identified: With the exception of American Ginseng, lavender (not one of the adaptogens) and a very few other ancillary herbs, many of the herbs are not easily accessible (though I found that at least 1/3 can be purchased online).
Sourcing. For a book that has so much interesting and useful information, I expected there to be more discussion on sourcing the raw materials needed. I was quite disappointed to discover that book seems to cover everything except that. All of the websites provided are, as the subheading states: Sources of Adaptogenic Products. Yes, perhaps the author only included, high-quality, reputable vedndors, but there are thousands of TCM, Ayurvedic, Homeo and Naturpathy shops all over the US. It doesn't take an expert to realize that many of them don't adhere to consistent standards and aren't a reliable source of information. And there is also the issue of many reputable suppliers exclusively sourcing practitioners and retailers. There were countless times during my reading where I was updating a shopping/wishlist, which by the end of my reading is where my list was left: as a wish list. The author does direct the reader to Herbal organization, and there one can comb through hundreds of links. All useful information overall, but not necessarily what one may be in search of at the time.
Practice. I also want to be clear in expressing my deep respect for experienced, knowledgeable practitioners creating formulations. Their work is NOT be taken lightly and good Herbalists rival any mastermind. So buying raw materials isn't a replacement for seeking the advice of a competent professional, it just ensures my likelihood of hiring COMPETENT ones. While there are some mouth-watering food recipes, most formulations in the book are tincture, capsule or tea form. And all of which, I think, anyone who's interested can, with practice, make themselves. In fact a reviewer of this book, wildsun, wrote: "If you believe in yourself and can read, count drops from a tincture bottle, or can boil water for tea, you can heal yourself!!!! "
Really, this book has solid information, so my mentioning the other books is simply as suggestions for a different perspective on sourcing. Unfortunately, concrete information I found for sourcing herbs ultimately came from where I pretty much always end up: Somewhere within the Hobbs/Gladstar/Hoffman resource realm. That realization brought me to the opinion that Hobb's Medicinal Mushrooms (also Teeguardan's Chinese Tonic Herbs and Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs & Herbal Recipes) is an ABSOLUTELY EXCELLENT compliment to this book. While they create commercial formulations, they ALWAYS gives the reader a DIY option and great raw material sourcing info.
Overall, the book left me of the opinion that no matter which route to wellness one takes, there are gatekeepers to ensure that what was meant to be enjoyed by all, quite inexpensively, will be aggressively withheld by capitalists of varying sorts. And that's not the author's fault. I get it. And scholars and practitioners should be compensated for their good work. However, man's inability to work collectively, putting aside his ego, pride and perhaps, a sense of world domination, is the only reason a more comprehensive version of this very book wasn't written two thousand years ago.
If you're looking to make things simpler (and cheaper) or relying on commercial formulations isn't what freedom (intellectual or health care) looks like to you, then you too may feel a sense of disappointment and frustration with the strange sense this book lends to a sort of field guide to commercial tonic formulations.
on November 26, 2007
I am delighted to hear David Winston's voice reflecting his skill and wisdom as a herbalist in the book Adaptogens Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress. This book brings to the reader the opportunity to learn from both the traditional herbal knowledge on this important subject along with the information coming to the subject from science and modern technology. The book has the flavor of a more traditional herbal bringing in the subtle skill of energies unique to each individual plant which belong to this group and introducing the reader to the concept of formulation of adaptogen plants. The reader can truly begins to experience the Art of Herbal Medicine reflected in David's writing voice.
This book is by a highly knowledgeable herbalist but can be easily understood and used even by laymen with no previous herbal background. Adaptogens are explained repeatedly in different ways, including as a general tonic, for balancing hormones and other body systems, to help build up reserves in the body, and increase our ability to adapt to, and avoid damage from, the environment. Who, in today's world, wouldn't want all this?
As an informative and helpful starting point to such herbs, I could want nothing better than this book. You could pick and choose from the 40 or so herbs that are so well-described here and, with a little luck, get some benefit. For all these reasons I have given this book 4 stars.
Unfortunately, for me, it has a fatal flaw: it doesn't really seem to have an integrating philosophy or central principle by which I could work out where to start and how to take further steps. It is a sort of dictionary. You pick any one symptom (perhaps night sweats) or medical term (like cholesterol) and there are a number of possibly useful herbs. You might shortlist several and end up trying one of them, or combining several because they are said to work better that way, but it's basically guesswork.
Too many books on nutrition and nutritional supplements (vitamins, minerals, fats, etc) are like this - homeopathy and herbs too. They lack any focus on causation, there is no consideration of a unifying thread or starting point which, when addressed, could clear a number of seemingly different symptoms. (Homeopathy claims to do this but why, for example, is ignatia overwhelmingly given for just one symptom - grief?)
Those who have studied Chinese Traditional Medicine (CTM) understand my point. CTM looks for, and addresses, a root cause for all the symptoms presented by a specific person. Too many health books, just like the conventional medical system, see patients as a collection of parts, or of diagnoses, to be fixed by various specialists or a number of different herbs or nutritional supplements, for example.
I would like to see more health books "boiling down" to main, or "umbrella", causes and issues. The body is not a machine such as a car, in which replacing the battery (a kidney or a heart in a human) or adding something (oil into a car or putting a few selected adaptogens or vitamins into a body) will put it back on the road in good working order.
Later note: “Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal" by Anthony William has over 1,800 reviews here and is all about regular misdiagnosis, mystery illnesses, the myth of "autoimmune" diseases and simple, clear instructions for healing. More than 1,800 reviews here! (So far, everything I've tried from his book has worked, and worked well - this is unprecedented in my experience.)
on June 8, 2011
This book is a wonderful resource. If you are a practioner treating virtually any chronic disease, this is an essential class of herbs to know about. The Rhodiola Revolution: Transform Your Health with the Herbal Breakthrough of the 21st Century is also a good resource, but this one covers broader ground and is also highlights more subtleties. Of course, the book is also of great interest for the hobbyist or anyone interested in herbs in general.
These herbs are essential for chronic disease because many patients have come to live with unmanaged stress which tends to exacerbate if not cause some of their symptoms. For instance, using Rhodiola for chronic depression can be an eye opening experience. I say this because I've seen just using this one herbal simple will alleviate much of the symptoms - similarly Ashwagandha and anxiety. So once you begin to know them as singles, it's also helpful to see how and why you'd combine them.
This book is a bit old (would love to see an update or revision), but still relevant. This is especially true given there are so few books available on this important class of herbs.
The fact they look at the herbs in a separate materia medica section, then a section on specific diseases/complaints, and even a section on how to use them as foods - overall just a wonderful document. The sections on nootropics and nervines is also helpful and well done.
on February 8, 2008
I have studied folkloric herbalism for many years, and in the last three years it has become a passion. This book is wonderful, and is by far one of the best books available as an in-depth reference and treatise regarding these valuable green allies and their medicinal properties. Enlightening to the new herbalists, and invaluable to the more experienced.
on May 25, 2013
I was recently introduced to these wonderful herbs, but wanted a more in depth understanding. This book provides every scrap of the information I was seeking and more. I really find it hard to believe anyone could leave a negative review of such a thoughtful and complete work like this. I did not expect to this book to contain recipes . I ordered a companion book for recipes and it is excellent as well---"Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health". The two books together are a fabulous start to my journey into understanding herbs and the profound effect they can have on our bodies and minds. I was not looking for the fountain of youth, after all aging is a very natural part of our life experience, HOWEVER......I believe that aging can be done in a MUCH, MUCH, MUCH more graceful manner than we are doing it now here in America !!! How? ADAPTOGENS !
I created a mix of three adaptogens that I've used for 3 weeks now and I can absolutely feel a difference already. Placebo? Who cares if it is ! My skin is glowing, I'm recovering faster from my long distance runs, my mood and energy level have been greatly improved......and the better it gets, the better everything gets !
Thanks for this great book guys !