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Prescription or Poison?: The Benefits and Dangers of Herbal Remedies Paperback – June 8, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review


Prescription or Poison? is written in layman’s terms, is based on current information and research, includes complete descriptions of common herbs, and uses several case studies that demonstrate benefits and dangers in real-life terms. This book is a superb reference tool for a consumer who takes prescription drugs and wants to avoid conflicts with herbs, food, alcohol, and other substances. It is just as valuable for anyone who wants an authoritative overview of the benefits and dangers of herbal remedies. —ForeWord Reviews
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Hunter House; 1 edition (June 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0897935500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0897935500
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,114,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Amitava Dasgupta was born in Calcutta, India in 1958 and immigrated to U.S in 1980. He received his Ph.D from Stanford University and Fellowship training in Clinical Chemistry and Toxicology from the University of Washington at Seattle. Currently, he is a Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at University of Texas Medical School at Houston. His research interest is in the field of drug-drug interaction, alcohol and drugs of abuse testing as well as efficacy and toxicity of herbal supplements using in vitro cellular model or animal model. He has published 182 scientific articles in many medical journals and is a member of the editorial board of five international journals including American Joural of Clinical Pathology, Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Journal.

Although Dr. Dasgupta is a toxicologist by profession, his passion is writing poetry especially haiku. His poems and haiku have appeared in many magazines including Modern Haiku and Frogpond. He lives in Houston with his wife and two cats.

twilight
I think about you
as leaves fall

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dead Climber on July 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have read numerous books on alternative medicine and herbal remedies and this book is by far the best at setting forth the answer to the question which most people want to know which is, not just "Can it help me?" but, "Can it HURT me?". Once that threshold issue is resolved in my mind, which this author does in a very readable manner, I feel more inclined to try some of these alternatives. The book is very informative and really is the only book I've read of this type where the author backed up good or bad statements about a supplement, or other alternative therapy with solid references to research. Unlike books which push one side or other of the issue, you get the distinct impression that the author is giving you "Just the facts". After reading this book, I feel empowered by the knowledge gained to make greater use of the supplements and alternative therapies that have been proven to work and to avoid those which are toxic or have interactions with medication.

Without a doubt, I will use this as the "go to" book around the house when contemplating a supplement or alternative therapy and I recommend it.

In short, this is the only book you need if you are thinking about taking, or are currently taking herbal supplements.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Barb W. on August 13, 2010
Format: Paperback
It would be a high estimate if I had to guess at the number of times I have considered a herbal supplement I read about in a magazine, heard rave reviews on from family and friends, or noticed on store display. After all, don't we all want a "miracle" cure for what ails us or to find ways to increase health odds?

Each of those times, how handy a book like Prescription or Poison?: The Benefits and Dangers of Herbal Remedies would have been!

I admit that I'm somewhat of a "Chicken Little" when it comes to trying new supplements. It takes me several days just to decide on a multi-vitamin. Needless to say, I do my research.

Most herbs and supplements are unregulated and the information on the Internet is speculative. Family doctors, I've found, are not up-to-date on most herbal remedies and more importantly, drug interaction is a huge issue if you are taking any prescription or OTC medicine.

What a find, a blessing, it is to have all my questions answered in one handy book!

Prescription or Poison?: The Benefits and Dangers of Herbal Remedies is written in an easy-to-understand style, filled with quick-consult tables and charts, and contains information on every current supplement including Chinese and ayurvedic medicines. This guide even includes a secition on food, drink, and tobacco drug interaction concerns.

The author, Dr. Amitava Dasgupta, holds a MS in analytic chemistry from the University of Georgia and a PhD in organic chemistry from Stanford University, among a laundry list of other credentials. I felt that not only in resume, but in the straight-forward wording anecdoted with actual case studies, that the information contained in Prescription or Poison?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lerrgoo on August 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Prescription or Poison?
Amitava Dasgupta, PHD
Hunter House Publishers
P.O. Box 2914; Almeda, CA 94501-0914
(510) 865-5282 [...].
978-0-89793-550-0, $18.95, 2010
Reviewed by Laura Goodwin

I received this book directly from the publisher to review. I liked it and found the book to have a great source of references. It was relatively easy to read, with only a few chapters a little more advanced for my taste, that is why I only gave it 4 stars instead of 5. This book is a summary of the affects of herbal medicines on other drugs. The chapters are broken down very well with very informative charts inserted in each chapter.
This first chapter is dedicated to the types of herbal remedies, people who use them, the benefits, and common ones that are used. Most of the data found that the majority of these medicines can interact with other medicines and cancel out some of their benefits. Beyond the first chapter, the book builds upon more harmful supplements, and even ones that can endanger somebody's life.
I especially liked the section covering vitamins and some of the herbal remedies like St. John's wort and Valerian root. I take vitamins every day and I used to take these types of herbal supplements. After reading this book, it makes you think twice about taking anything that is not specifically FDA approved. The author goes very in depth to cover the various types of homeopathic remedies and specifically how these can interact with one's immunity system.
The section on women's health was especially helpful, basically contradicting all of the women's magazines that are out there today to promote certain herbal remedies at alleviating menopause symptoms.
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Format: Paperback
The best thing about this book is the thorough research done and the citing of references and studies to back up the author's writings, so you know he's not making anything up. The laws in America for the testing of prescription drugs are such that there is data on the prescriptions while the herbs have no such requirement. Therefore the studies are not always available on the herbs or any of the alternative treatments. The author is so cautious it seems he always errs on the side of caution going with the prescription drug with a study over a very old plant based remedy which doesn't have a study on it. He is playing it safe, almost acting like a lawyer in his attempt to be so cautious.

I also note the bias in the subtitle "the benefits and dangers of herbal remedies" YET he does not discuss negative known side effects of prescription drugs! For example he may recommend against using a certain herb or plant based remedy as it sometimes causes liver damage yet many very common top selling prescription medications are used today which have more data behind them showing they cause liver damage. Doctors monitor patients who take Lipitor (used to lower blood cholesterol levels) with blood tests to look for signs that the drug is damaging the liver. Users of Warfarin (aka Coumadin -- first used as a rat poison now used as blood thinner) and Lithium (used to treat depression) are monitored to prevent poisoning by too-high levels of the toxic materials in the patient's bloodstream. Yet Dr. Dasgupta is so cautious that he warns the reader that St. John's Wort can cause photosensitivity (which, come on, is no big deal compared to some of the known side effects of some of the depression prescription medications which are the other choices).
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