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Farmacology: Total Health from the Ground Up Hardcover – April 16, 2013

4.9 out of 5 stars 93 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Farmacology is grounded in the principle that human health is deeply linked to agriculture. Family physician Miller explains how sustainable farms serve as a model for a healthy human body: everything is interdependent and balance is paramount. She visits a Sonoma vineyard where the winery’s system of integrative pest management offers a paradigm for understanding and treating cancer. Her tour of two chicken farms in Arkansas teaches valuable lessons about stress in poultry and people. A trip to a garden in the Bronx demonstrates the power of preventive medicine derived from urban farming. Excursions to an aromatic-herb farm, Ozark cattle-raising ranch, and biodynamic farm in Washington offer additional parallels between farming and well-being. Farmacology is infused with clinical tales of Miller’s patients and discussions with researchers. Make no mistake: soil is the star of this story. Its vigor is clearly connected to the vitality of the plants, animals, and human beings it supports. Don’t take dirt (and its worms, pebbles, and ubiquitous microorganisms) for granted. Think like a farmer, and you’ll likely cultivate better personal health. --Tony Miksanek


“A vibrant and important book. It is about so much more than just personal well-being; it is about the health of our food, our farms and farmers—the entire planet.” (Alice Waters)

“Farm as medicine. A must-read for anyone who cares about their health.” (Mark Bittman)

“Revealing and inspiring...a rewarding read.” (Dr. Andrew Weil, author of 8 Weeks to Optimum Health and True Food)

“In Farmacology, Daphne Miller expands the field of medicine from the classical boundaries of the symptom-cure concept toward a more complex and holistic approach that takes into account the tight balance between Man and Nature.” (Carlo Petrini, founder of the International Slow Food Movement)

“An eloquent call for better systems of sustainable agriculture and humanistic health care. . .a fresh, original, and utterly charming book.” (Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University and author of What to Eat)

“[Daphne Miller is] such a fearless, intelligent, and charming guide on the food-filled journey between medical and ecological sciences that by the end of Farmacology you won’t just think that medical ecology is fascinating—you’ll wonder how we managed to live without it for so long.” (Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved)

“What does the practice of sustainable agriculture have to teach modern medicine? What are the links between soil health and the health of the people who eat from that soil?…A highly original and compelling work of exploration with large implications for our understanding of health.” (@michaelpollan)

Miller’s journey begins in serendipity and remains alive to surprise…[The] web of associations…will surprise even those [who know] that healthy soils make for healthy people. It’s startling to think that few if any doctor-authors have attempted this hybrid of field work…patient case histories…and conversations with scientists. (Acres U.S.A.)

“Farmacology…explains how sustainable farms serve as a model for a healthy human body…Soil is the star of this story. Its vigor is clearly connected to the vitality of the plants, animals, and human beings it supports…Think like a farmer, and you’ll likely cultivate better personal health.” (Booklist)

San Francisco Chronicle bestseller (San Francisco Chronicle)

“Miller steps outside medicine’s orthodoxy to explore the connection between sustainable farming and healthy living…Working hands-on and also picking the brains of the farms’ operators, [she] observed farmers taking a holistic…approach…that she has found to be too often missing in the modern practice of medicine.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Sustainable agriculture and holistic medical practice find each other as soul mates…The issues raised deal with profound economic, social and cultural dilemmas…and Miller’s hearty, personable writing style makes it a good read for travelers, lovers of character studies and medical and farming professionals alike.” (Lou Fancher, Mercury News)

Some of Miller’s discoveries are simple, others groundbreaking, but all feel important for their medical implications as well as for what they can teach us about our connection to other living creatures... Miller... delves deep into the science, translating dense medical text into practical information. (Orion Magazine)

“It’s alternative living in a big way, whether you’re the field, the cow, the cultivated insect, or the patient of a type of physician [Miller] calls “medical ecologists.” Miller had fun, writes exuberantly, and wants to infect us in the best way possible with the spirit of these places.” (Harvard Medicine Magazine)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (April 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062103148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062103147
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #246,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book may not change your life, but if you already realize that how your food is grown has some effect on your health, it will add a whole new dimension to that understanding. This is not just another book telling you that the quality of your diet is important - a fact so self-evident that the author, a practicing physician and professor of family practice medicine in San Francisco, refers to it only in passing. What it does tell us about, according to the jacket blurb, are "the hidden connections between how we care for our bodies and how we grow our food."

This message is also one that is self-evident to those of us who have been long time practitioners of and advocates for organic agriculture. But it is a message that is mostly unknown in the world of mainstream medicine -- as anyone who has had the misfortune to be placed at the mercy of our increasingly expensive and malnourished health care system well knows. What induced me to read this book is that Dr. Miller contacted me a few months ago to request a technical review of her section on soil health - and went on to explain that my 30 year old book, The Soul of Soil, had been the inspiration for her to embark on the journey chronicled in this one.

So you could say that I had some motivation to like it, and like it I did. Not just because of the ego gratification of it all (always a pleasant thing), but because she really gets it. The `it' here is the connection between soil health and human health that goes beyond the similar chemical constituents and ecological relationships found in both. I also liked it because of Dr. Miller's unpretentious, personal approach.
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Format: Hardcover
I absolutely loved this book. Normally I would read authors like Christopher Hitchens for non-fiction and Salman Rushdie for fiction and so this is out of my normal reading swim lanes but boy am I glad this book came my way. Unusual story on how I wound up buying it but what's important here is that I'm more than thrilled I did.

I didn't really have an interest in farming. Or what constitutes healthy food. Or medicine. Or books that hint at self help. So why did I love this book so much when it encompasses all of those things? Because at its heart it is a really good novel. It reads like a novel - meaning it is a journey that takes you someplace. In this case, quite literally as the novel is driven by the author's travels and discoveries (epiphanies even). It is engaging from the first page to the last. Now if you happen to really be into farming, healthy food and tips to lead a better life, AND you like novels and good writing, now you've got a fantastic book you can really sink your teeth into.

I don't like book reviews that give away too much but I will say that you will meet fantastic unique people along the way in Kentucky, Arkansas, The Bronx, Missouri, Washington and California. You will meet patients of the author (she is a doctor in San Francisco) and somehow she will tie it all together. I was worried that it would be a stretch to tie together the things she learns on the farm with her patient's maladies but the author has no problem making this acrobatic leap in a more than plausible way. The fact that she does it with wonderful anecdotes, flowery rhetoric, quippy humor, a wide vocabulary, personal stories and feelings and above all insight and intelligence makes this a book worth getting. If you're like me and not one who typically devours this type of subject, it's still a fantastic novel and a really fun read. If you are, then boy do I have the book for you...
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Format: Hardcover
This book which will hit the bookstores on April 16 represents a groundbreaking(no pun intended) transformation in our health care system. Imagine, a Harvard educated M.D. who comprehends the profound connection between human health and soil health. Applying this newfound knowledge to patient care, she dictates treatment protocols of farm fresh food as medicine, supplanting traditional pharmaceuticals.
Please read it and make sure everyone you love reads it too!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Daphne Miller has written a very important book on helping us see our bodies relationships to nature. She effortlessly, beautifully and simply ties together the health of our bodies with that of the farm - the natural world of plants, animals and soil. It turns out that we are much healthier with a greater diversity of bacteria in our bodies which comes from direct contact, engagement and ingestion of natural plant, animal and soil systems. There are healthy synergistic affects between the greater diversity beyond what a single bacteria can deliver - even for the role of bacteria like Staphylococcus (which we normally avoid and try to kill) in combination with other bacteria. We experience less inflammation and allergy with this greater diversity - which dramatically reduces our chances for progression into a myriad of diseases. As we have retreated from being in contact with nature, we have gotten less healthy...so this book is a terrific narrative to show us the importance of re-engaging with nature. The downsides from this re-engagement are far out-shadowed by the benefits. Throw out the anti-bacterials - they are generally bad for you. Clearly there are situations where we need to be careful of bacteria - but apparently we need to create much more diversity in our bodies than we normally do in our modern lives in order to be in the peak of health. It turns out that these benefits are slow in their affects - and so we tend to discount them. We are so used to fast affects, that we discount processes which yield the slow affects. This is an important read that may well change how you proceed in your life.
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