I reviewed an advance reader's edition, in softcover, provided by Amazon Vine. It's missing some of the herbal remedy recipes that will appear in the final edition. Normally a book at this stage is awaiting copy-proofing by someone competent in English; this advance copy was already way beyond the current standard for finished work.
So, what about the content? Let me start off by saying that Dr. Low Dog is an M.D. and by that training "should be" focusing on medicine with scant knowledge of health. However, she also has an extensive cultural and personal background in health. There are three bullet points on the cover; the third one starts with the word "prevention."
Because of language abuse, many people use the terms "health care" and "medical care" interchangeably. But they have very different meanings. Standard medical care practice is generally antagonistic toward health care. What's the difference? Health care is what you do to protect your health, prevent illness, and prevent injury. The main strategy is a sensible diet, something Americans generally oppose with an almost religious fervor. Just check out the grain-based products on any restaurant menu or in the typical grocery cart. Or ask yourself why the modern grocery store devotes an entire aisle to "osteoporosis in a can."
So any time I read a book on "health" and it's authored by an M.D., I am immediately suspicious. But as I read Dr. Low Dog's book, my suspicions gave way to awestruck gratitude that someone could produce such a helpful and authoritative work that could easily be life-changing for the reader.
And not just because she exhibits an accurate understanding of diet (something extremely rare among physicians). Right away, before I even opened the book, I could see something was different. Her picture is on the cover. Instead of the usual doughy face we see these days, we are greeted by someone who looks healthy. And there is no way you could guess her age from that photo.
I also visited her Website, and was further impressed. To find it, just go to Bing and search on her name.
Now, I've already besmirched M.D.s. Let me besmirch another group, while I'm at it. On the other end of the spectrum are the people who have some familiarity with "alternative medicine," herbal remedies, health practices, etc., but don't keep them in their proper perspective. I don't care how healthy you are or how much kale you eat, if you break your femur then herbal medicine isn't your best choice of treatment. You need to see an M.D. Most of these folks are selling hope, rather than sound medical or health advice.
A few years ago, a tick burrowed into my thumb unbeknownst to me. It swelled right up. Did I treat this with tea? No. I got an appt to see my physician the next day. Good thing, too. Another patient waited too long, and her whole arm swelled up. She had to be hospitalized. Whatever toxin this tick introduced, it was powerful stuff and the condition advanced aggressively. Medical care has its limitations, but it may be your primary strategy for a given condition.
My point here is one that Dr. Low Dog kept bringing up: don't try to use "soft" remedies when conditions are serious. She gave markers to help the reader determine when a given condition requires a trip to the doctor.
One such condition she discusses in this book is the urinary tract infection (UTI). She does provide thorough advice on prevention and herbal treatment, but makes it clear that one thing you don't skip is getting in to see the doctor. A UTI can quickly spiral out of control. One consequence is a kidney infection.
I'm not a physician so am not putting myself in the place of judging her advice, her markers for when medical care is required, or a host of other things. But I do have some expertise by which to gage her health advice. Among other things, I have not been sick since 1971 despite having had low gamma globulin from birth until only a couple of years ago. The lifelong low gamma globulin problem disappeared after raising my serum D3 levels with the guidance of Dr. Rick Cohen, M.D.
I found her health information to be logical, balanced, and completely on target. I suppose it helps that what she says in this book is based on science. Not being an herbalist and not coming from a Native American culture, I'm ignorant about herbal remedies. Well, OK, I'm familiar with a few of them. Just very far from being expert enough to comment on the accuracy of what she recommends. Based on her performance in the areas I do know, and based on her explanations of why these work, I have complete confidence in her recommendations.
The main text of this book consists of eight chapters spanning 270 pages. The writing is clear and the subject matter is accessible to the lay person. The Introduction runs 7 pages, and I found it helpful. The book has three supplemental sections appended to it:
1. Stocking the Pantry. This explains what items to have on hand. It's fairly extensive. I'm not sure I have a place for all this stuff, but will have to look more closely.
2. Resources. Where to buy these things.
3. Herbal Materia Medica. This 25 page section discusses each of the herbal remedies used in the book.
This book fills a huge void in the health and medicine literature. Not only do I highly recommend having this book on hand, I recommend visiting the author's Website. She is a fount of wisdom and useful information that everyone can benefit from.
Dr. Low Dog started out with an interest in the healing qualities of plants and herbs. She had an herb business in the early 1980's and from there went on to become a physician. At present she is the fellowship director and the University of AZ Center for Integrative Medicine. I found the book to be quite helpful, but I will say I agree with her philosophy. I agree that many minor conditions can be safely and effectively treated at home and I also believe that 'modern' medicine is essential to our survival. I grew up having peppermint tea or chamomile to settle my stomach, sometimes eating ginger, having a concoction of cider vinegar and honey with pepper and ginger for a sore throat...etc. I've also had a few incidents where I had to go to the Dr. for antibiotics. Dr. Low Dog suggests herbal solutions for common minor ailments, solutions which she has found to be most effective in her years of practice. The book has separate chapters for the nervous system, respiratory, your 'gut', etc. What I appreciated was the inclusion of information so the reader is aware of symptoms which indicate a more serious disease process. There are suggestions of items one can purchase, such as probiotics and some recipes for making your own teas, etc. I feel the book is filled with sound advice. Like Dr Low Dog states - it doesn't hurt to try chamomile tea to combat sleeplessness for a week or two before you go for a prescribed sleeping pill. The back of the book includes lists of what to stock at home , for both your medicine cabinet and first aid kit.
Few people would contest that the popular mindset for treating illness and maintaining health has been skewed to believe in the omnipotent prescription pill. Society's been led to believe that no matter what ails you, there's a pill for that. Whether it's depression, acid reflux, heartburn or flatulence, modern science can tame it and that suggesting any treatments based on plants and natural sources conjure memories of Granny on the Beverly Hillbillies digging up roots outside Mr. Drysdale's country club.
The author of Health at Home, is an M.D. and takes a refreshingly balanced and scientifically documented approach to healthcare, and includes timely information that's just beginning to be understood and appreciated by so-called mainstream medicine. This is NOT a book about taking megadoses of vitamins or the latest fad Superfood or juice. Chapter 5, for example, is entitled Healing the Gut. Two thousand years ago Hippocrates said that all disease starts in the gut. The author acknowledges that, that, of course, is not an all inclusive truth, but points out some stimulating facts. Our digestive system has it's own independent nervous system called the enteric nervous system, or ENS, with 100 million neurons embedded within the gut walls from the esophagus to the anus. Roughly half of all dopamine and 90 percent of the body's serotonin in produced by the ENS. That is why improving a person's diet, eliminating gluten and dairy products, excess sugar and fats, for example has resulted in dramatic changes in debilitating anxiety in many patients. Also why taking SSRI's usually produce profound disruption in the gut, often causing diarrhea and intestinal upset. The gut micro biome is discussed, with it's more than 100 trillion microorganisms that inhabit it. These microbiota are responsible for extracting and synthesizing vitamins and other nutrients from our food. It stands to reason that if there is a problem with those organisms or the types that come to dominate, our entire well being can be affected. There are ways to encourage and even reintroduce essential strains in our system which also can have dramatic rebalancing effect on our health and well being. The book considers many suggestions that have been accepted and demonstrated over eons of time, including the calming effects of herbs like peppermint, and the effects of ginger. There is practical advice on treating ailments that were completely novel to me as well. For example, it would seem logical that if a person vomits, that would contribute to dehydration and the logic of having someone in that circumstance try to reintroduce fluids into their system. Wrong, at least orally, and at least for two hours. The stomach would most likely continue its desire to evacuate and only cause more contractions. Allow it to calm and perhaps two hours later begin to reintroduce electrolytes and small amounts of fluid.
There are many home remedies for warding off colds, stomach upsets, etc. and I found all of them reasonable, logical and balanced. If you're looking to enhance your knowledge of maintaining your health and well being, I highly recommend this book.
I'd never heard of Tieraona Low Dog M.D. until I read her book. She was a plant lover, then an herbalist, midwife and lastly a medical doctor. Presently she works with Andrew Weil at his Center for Integrative Medicine in Arizona.
The basic philosophy here is to stay well and if one develops an ailment, to treat it with the least destructive approach possible. Dr. Low Dog states that many western medicines are too powerful, more powerful than necessary and as a result can give the patient problems. So, the answer is to reconnect to the older ways: herbalism and natural remedies. She suggests not only using herbs but growing our own herbs, harvesting them and making home remedies in our own kitchens. This book gives many recipes that anyone who can read a recipe can handle making.
Another component is understanding the ailments and self-diagnosis. Dr. Low Dog does a great job explaining things, such as the difference between two different kinds of ear infections and how to treat each.
Lest you worry that it is dangerous to self-diagnose and to self-treat with home remedies, the other important thing you need to know about Dr. Low Dog's philosophy is knowing when to seek western medical care or emergency care. The reason she chose to get her medical degree was due to some patients using wrong herbal or home remedies resulting in death. So, this book also discusses when it is safe to treat yourself and when you need emergent or immediate medical care by a doctor or hospital.
This book is easy to read. The chapters are divided into ailment categories such as skin conditions, respiratory ailments, understanding and managing infection and healing the gut. The chapters are not long winded, they have topics such as explaining the general issues, discussing specific ailments (ie colic), and focusing on a specific treatment (ie ginger). Many recipes are given. Dr. Low Dog also discusses all kinds of supplements if they apply to a treatment (ie melatonin, magnesium).
I am so happy to have found this book and found the wisdom that Dr. Low Dog has shared, and to have learned she has also authored a previous book that I plan to read: Life Is Your Best Medicine. I had no idea that one author shares my same philosophy of being able to at least partially self-diagnose and to know if the condition is mild enough for self-treatment with minimally invasive and low side effect home remedies or over the counter supplements or with foods. I appreciate the direction explaining when expert western medical doctors or hospital emergency rooms need to be sought for evaluation, diagnosis and intensive treatment.
I rate this book 5 stars = I Love It.
I'm always interested in learning more about herbal and traditional medicine, and definitely learned a lot from this book. I've typically read about herbal and other supplements and then gone to a natural food store to find them. I never really thought about making my own at home. But after reading "Healthy at Home" I'm definitely going to give it a try.
One thing I like about this book is that the author recommends professional medical treatment when necessary. I'm always a bit skeptical about books that claim that all you need is herbs and roots to be healthy. Traditional medicine has a lot of value, but we have a lot of non-traditional bugs and environmental factors these days! There are lots of "when to call your doctor" and "seek medical information if" sidebars throughout the book. And I particularly appreciated this comment:
"I cannot say this too often, or in too many ways. Always err on the side of caution. It is NEVER wrong to call your health care provider or go to the urgent care/emergency room for help."
Okay, that was in a section on fevers in elders, but I think it's pretty good advice in general.
the book starts with a section on the various ways of making home medications: tincures, decoctions, oils, ointments, and other preparations. Then there are chapters on infections; the respiratory system; the nervous system; the digestive system; the skin; and women's health. I liked that in the section on making herbal remedies, the author reminds us to compost the herbs when the preparation is complete. And she also highlights some things she doesn't recommend, either because they may have unwanted side effects or because they don't work as well as other solutions.
I was already familiar with a lot of the information in the book. Ginger, honey and lemon for colds... got it. (Although I add cayenne to my cold tea!) Mushrooms to boost the immune system, yep. But there's always something new to learn. Nettle for allergies? Have to try that. Garlic for diarrhea? Who knew? Sage gargle for a sore throat? Licorice for cold sores? No, not the candy, a tincture of the root!
As with anything else in medical treatment, you need to try these things and see what works best for you. We're all individuals, we've got different genetics and ethnic heritages, and what works for one person may not for another. (Which is why there's no "miracle diet" that works for everyone!) So if something works for you, keep using it. If it doesn't, go to the next recipe in the book (or to another book).
This review is based on an Advance Reader's Edition, so there's no index and some of the sections say "recipe to come" or "phrase here describing use". So my next stop is preordering the Kindle edition!
I cannot say enough good things about this book. My library is full of natural health books from the 70's to current. From the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, to Alternative Cures, to Nutrition and Physical Degeneration to herbalist books such as Herbal Remedies by Rosemary Gladstar as well as many other books about herbs. You name it I've probably read it or owned it at some point in my life.
I expected the same type of information & format as provided in all these other books (excluding Rosemary's books which I highly recommend). Instead what I got was a treasure trove of real useful information! Low Dog starts with recommending growing your own herbs & harvesting them. She discusses the importance of not only how to grow them, but when to harvest & instructs about getting the right herb. From there she explains the various uses & gives recipe upon recipe for aliments.
This is basically a recipe book for tinctures, teas, salves & more. It is very easy to understand & very useful. Low Dog brings conventional medicine & traditional medicine together. She discusses her concern with people running to the Dr. when it is unnecessary & our overuse of medications & antibiotics when rest & simple herbal treatments will be just as effective if not more so. She also discusses when she feels going to the Doctor or emergency room is necessary.
There is a chapter called Stocking The Pantry. This section is great because everything is in one neat tidy spot. I already grow many herbs & have many in storage, so it is nice to see what I am missing. I am looking forward to using this book along with Rosemary Gladstar's books as reference for planning this springs herb garden.
There is also a 2 page section of resources. It was nice to see that she recommends many that I already use!
If you are serious about using natural remedies, you want this book! I have already followed her recommendations for PMS & for the first time ever I finally found relief! I couldn't believe it. After suffering for over 20 years I thought I'd never find something that worked besides Naproxen! I am absolutely in love with this book!
on December 15, 2013
I agree that having the advanced readers copy of this book left a lot to be desired, since there were a lot of perscriptions left blank, and no index. There are natural aids in the book as well as remedies here for things like sore throat, cold sores, sleep aids, upset stomach, and so forth. There are large sections on healing the gut, caring for the respiratory system, nervous system, infections, women's issues, and the skin. Also included is a section on how to make medicine at home.
I found some sections a bit of a puzzle, like the 'Prescription from Dr. Low Dog on Scorpion Stings'. It says most stings are pretty harmless unless it stings a child or elder, and to wash it with soap and water, put on a cold compress, and call your local poison control for advice or head over to the urgent care or emergency room. Well, scorpions might be mostly harmless except they hurt like mad and some people are highly allergic to the sting. Baking soda mixed with water and put on a sting can help relieve the pain, yet this is not mentioned.
Without the index, I found it difficult to find what I was looking for, but I really did hope and expect to find more on natural treatments for diseases and conditions such as cancer, heart disease, fibromyalgia, rhumatoid arthritis, and so forth.
on December 31, 2013
I am somewhat new to this world of natural medicine and healing. But having a preference for natural treatments over medicine, I have struggled to find a source of proven treatments that have been reliably used.
What I have seen the MOST of in my search is a lot of books listing hundreds of "remedies" by the author with no background as to the effectiveness of the treatment. Also, most of them list a ridiculous number of claims for each remedy. It has left me searching for something "tried and true" with more realistic claims and some kind of "cut off" point.
So many books and websites I've read have claimed the ability to heal nearly every sickness known to man through herbs and/or diet alone. While there may be some truth in those claims, the authors rely heavily on a handful of testimonials. While testimonials are good, they often do not present the whole picture, such as what other methods or treatments were used in conjunction with the natural remedy, and how long was it used?
The things that I see in this book that made it stand out were the way the treatments are organized by categories of sickness, such as "infant" or "skin". Being a good bit more balanced than most, the author does a good job of giving the reader some simple guidelines for assessing whether to treat the ailment at home or seek further medical intervention. That is a feature that has caused me to pass over many others. Some herbal/natural doctors seem to hold fast to their doctrine of herbs to the death. There is no consideration given for whether the herbs are working or not. Realistically, just as every medicine does not react the same way with every person who takes it, not every herbal treatment is going to work the same for everyone, either.
Overall, I'm really pleased with the presentation here. It's concise, but doesn't use a lot of elaborate medical terminology. It is well organized, though I see quite a bit of room for improvement there. It is balanced in perspective between traditional medicine and the combination of diet, treatment and lifestyle changes.
I would definitely recommend this one.
on February 27, 2015
This a very useful book for anyone looking for a way to treat themselves with minor health issues. The biggest feature is the sections of when you need to actually go to the Dr. for a problem. My mother bought me, mine, I bought one for my step-daughter.
I am the kind of person that does not go to the doctor unless it is a total emergency. I have not taken a pill in years not even an aspirin.
When I am feeling out of sorts I check out the internet but it is so hard to find things that are real...This book is real. There is no bull here she says it right and from the hip. No fancy garbage... I like her style and I happen to agree with most of what she says but unfortunately I am a reviewer for the Amazon Vine program and I got an advanced copy of this book. Usually an advanced copy has a few misspelled words or the chapters are out of sync but this book is very difficult to review since it has no index, and none of the prescriptions she suggests. There were many empty pages and it was hard to follow.
Of course when the book comes out for real all these things will be fixed and I am sure just by looking at the book as it is now that it will be a great book, I am just sorry I will not have the benefit of the real thing.