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Honey, Mud, Maggots, and Other Medical Marvels Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (September 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395924928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395924921
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,266,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Eating clay, drinking urine, applying honey to deep wounds and mere plaster to crushed bones: these are all folk remedies for ailments, passed on through the generations and thoroughly discounted by modern science. It is too bad, write scientist-historian couple Robert and Michèle Root-Bernstein, who deplore the loss of proven methods developed without the blessing of the academy, noting that "formal academic systems are only one of many ways in which knowledge is discovered, accumulated, and transmitted." Many scientists are now coming to agree with this view, they write in this fascinating collection of case studies. Researchers have showed that black tea, for instance, has powerful antibiotic properties and that maggots do an extraordinary job of cleaning wounds--as traditional healers have known all along. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The title of this informative and stimulating book suggests that medical cures often lie closer to natural and folk treatment than we sometimes like to admit. The authors, a professor of physiology and a historian, respectively, examine such time-honored methods as bloodletting, clay ingestion, and urine and saliva therapy, concluding that such remedies may still have their virtues and even a place in certain situations. The Root-Bernsteins discuss little-known therapies such as "biotherapy" (the use of maggots to treat gangrene) and geopharmacy (the purposeful eating of dirt) and in an excellent chapter tell how we have come "full circle" in our country's attitudes on circumcision. While making the point that no mainstream or alternative remedy is ever a panacea for anything, the authors conclude that "a multicultural world...can no longer think in simplistic terms of merely transferring Western medical technology to the rest of the world." Highly recommended for medical, academic, and public libraries because of its balanced viewpoint and readable style.?Natalie Kupferberg, Arizona State Univ. West, Phoenix
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David J. Loftus on April 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Although not being a medical or scientific type, I found this a fascinating book. Some of the behaviors described -- drinking urine or applying it to wounds, placing maggots on festering skin to draw out the dead and dying cells -- possess a horrid fascination for the lay reader, but the authors describe quite dispassionately the possible scientifically valid reasons behind them. Very interesting stuff.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By S. Magnuson on February 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
Whether or not you buy the conclusions of the authors in regards to the treatments in this book, their discussion and analysis of these treatments in historical context and why the treatments were effective, is extremely important in understanding the evolution of medicine. And if you are someone who is interested in researching folk medicine or discovery of medical treatments, this book is an excellent resource. It certainly presents a lot of information not ordinarily available to the layperson.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Erni M Kasim on May 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The author has made an extensive research on the remedies written about in his book. At the end of the book, he has also advised on how we should accept or not accept old remedies or even modern or popular medical habits - he does not rule out modern medicines. I think a very rational view and discussion was presented.
Like all views given, of course there will definitely be some people who would strongly disagree and deny the book's integrity outright. However to benefit more from intelligence of this book is to have an open mind. Even at the end of the book, I can't bring myself to agree on the urine remedy - but I accept the clear explanations given.
I don't normally buy books and initially I borrowed it from the library, but I'm buying it because I think it's a good book to have for reference at home.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By m.mallick@popmail.csuohio.edu on March 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In his book Rethinking AIDS: the Tragic Cost of Premature Consensus, Robert Root-Bernstein entered the fray of organized scientific medicine with the intent of landing a serious blow to the midsection of scientific efforts to identify and treat AIDS. His argument is that scientists are too eager to accept explanations of AIDS based on poorly designed or isolated research studies. Although it was a scientifically and logically dense book, there is little doubt that it played a role in the development of alternative theories of the cause(s) and treatments for AIDS. In his book Honey, Mud, Maggots, and Other Medical Marvels,Root-Bernstein appears to take a less aggressive stance towards medical science, tweaking the noses of those who have too eagerly dismissed the value of traditional folk treatments. On the other hand it is an easily readable and enjoyable book. The authors effectively argue that the treatments discussed were significantly more effective, less painful or invasive, and less costly than current treatments for the same ailments. After two introductory/overview chapters, the remaining chapters each deal with ancient or out-of-style medical remedies including water baths, honey and sugar wound dressings, and bloodletting. Each chapter contains a brief history of where and when the treatments were developed and the multitude of diseases each was purported to cure. This is followed by reviews of scientific studies which have identified all or part of the reason the treatments were effective. No doubt in fear of litigation by those who may undertake the treatments based on the book's content, the scientific explanation of the cures is followed by a discussion of the adverse effects of administering the treatment without proper medical supervision.Read more ›
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