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Nutritional Herbology : A Reference Guide to Herbs Paperback – May 15, 1998

4.5 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mark Pedersen is a research chemist who specializes in herbal chemistry. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Chemistry and Geology in 1982.Since then, Mark has been active in herb research, putting an emphasis on "What Works" since he battles a chronic digestive disorder.

He is the author of Nutritional Herbology (1987) and Nutritional Herbology Vol. II (1990). Both are cornerstones of the modern herbalist's reference library. These two works have been revised and condensed into Nutirional Herbology, A Reference Guide to Herbs.

Mark is married to Kellie Ann Magnum. They live with their three children in Utah.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Whitman Pubns; Rev Exp edition (May 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1885653077
  • ISBN-13: 978-1885653079
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 8.8 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is one of very few that list the nutrients found in common western and Chinese herbs, allowing one to find which herbs are good sources of, say selenium or beta carotene. As such it is an important addition to any herbalist's library.
However like most food science analyses, the book lists nutrients found in the plant, not nutrients which can or will be absorbed by the human body. For example, aluminium intake is closely regulated by the gut flora and excess aluminum is normally excreted unless that flora has been decimated by antibiotics or unhealthy diets. Its presence in an herb does not automatically mean that an herb like echinacea, which rates moderately high in aluminum, should be avoided.
The actions of herbs often go far beyond their constituents. Yellow dock, for example is not especially high in iron, yet yellow dock tincture (which contains very little iron at all) can in low doses allow the body to overcome anemia far faster than iron supplements.
However with those caveats, the book is highly recommended. It also lists actions of herbs, the body systems affected, folk history and use of the plants, medicinal properties, chemical constituents, nutrients of note and typical dialy doses in various forms. Of particular note are traditional combination formulas which are analyzed like the single herbs for their nutritional profiles.
A worthwhile reference for those seriously interested in herbal medicine and nutrition.
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Format: Paperback
In the area of herbs,this book is more scientifical, than practical. It gives a list of herbs in alphabetical order and gives many other facts(nutritional content, origination, uses, and herbal classification) which most people who are just getting into herbs may have a difficult time understanding. I own this book and it has done its job as a main reference on herbs. I do not, however use this book on a daily basis as I do others. If you are a nerd who loves to read and research like a crazy person such as myself, then this is the book for you. If that idea scares you, then look for more simple reading.
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Nutritional Herbology by Mark Pederson starts out as a fascinating look into the nutrients found in a variety of commonly-used herbs and plant foods. The first six chapters or so really shine. Minerals and other nutrients and their effects on the body are described and plants sources of these nutrients are listed. The section on individual herbs is also excellent; though practitioners from different traditions could quibble on the fine points of the therapeutic uses of each herb, this book's main focus is on nutritional content, so that is not too problematic.

The problems begin in the chapters on formulas. First of all, the information on individual herbs seemed to focus on their usage in western herbalism, often citing information from the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia and western scientific studies of herbs and referring to western herbal traditions. However, the formulas given are Chinese herb combinations and are described according to Chinese medical principles such as the five elements and eight principles.

To add to the confusion, each formula is identified by an English name. As many herbalists (and persons trying to purchase herbal formulas) are aware, herbal formulas can be called by a number of different names. The ingredient list for each formula is provided, but uncertainty could easily remain as to whether the formula in the book is the same as that being used by an herbal practitioner or consumer. Just as Latin is the universal language for western medicine and botany (and Pederson does give the Latin name for the individual herbs in the beginning of the book), when Chinese herb formulas are being discussed in the book, the Chinese formula name should be given as a standard of reference.
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Format: Paperback
This book does exactly what the title says. If you want to know the nutritional value of herbs rather than just the medicinal value, this is the place to go.

The author wastes no time getting to the point. The charts and graphs make great visuals and are easy to understand. Plus, the book is well referenced.

I have been a student and teacher of herbal medicine for twenty years. I have reached for this book many times over the years and recommend it to all my students.

Remember, this is not the book to get if you are a beginner and want to know what to use for your daughter's ear infection. Look to Rosemary Gladstar for that. This book is a reference on nutrition and is numbers oriented.

For what it tries to do, it succeeds very well.
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This book begins with a brief chapter outlining the herbs that are highest in certain nutrients, such as silicon in the herb horsetail. Then there is a large section dedicated to the single herbs. This section has some folk history and use, and medicinal properties. The part that makes it stand out is the nutritional profile where the nutrients are rated as very high, high, average, low or very low compared to 93 herbs.

I found this detailed analysis of the nutrients particularly useful on one occasion. I needed to know which herb was the highest in organic aluminum, which is gotu kola. We use the seaweeds such as bladderwrack to pull inorganic aluminum from the body, but we use herbs high in organic aluminum such as gotu kola and uva ursi to prevent picking up the harmful inorganic aluminum.

The second time I might have found it helpful was when I needed to look up what herb was highest in organic zinc. Unfortunately, the book contradicts itself on this subject. On page 32 it says that bilberry has the highest source of zinc at .87 mg calculated on a zero moisture basis per 100 gm, but then on page 192 it says that mistletoe (also called golden bough) has 8.6 mg calculated on a zero moisture basis per 100 gm. If that's true, mistletoe is by far the winner. I have yet to write to the author to see which is correct.

Next is a section he calls the "minor herbs." I do not agree with him on some of the herbs that he considers minor, such as dulse, Irish moss, lady slipper and mistletoe. This section was very brief. The following chapters were sections that covered herbal combinations for the different body systems.

I have referred to this book a couple of times, but normally have then gone on to check other herbal references. It's certainly a book I want on my reference shelf; it just isn't one of my favorites

To me, there are many more helpful and thorough books as to the overall use of an herb.
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