195 of 195 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 1999
Since I began making and using herbal remedies in 1980 I have been very concerned at the lack of reliable information. Pop and self-help books on herbalism suffer from excessive vagueness (if they are conservative and the author is trying hard to avoid lawsuits) or irresponsible promulgation of superstition (if the author is clumsy, credulous, or ignorant). On the other hand, publications dealing with formal studies of bioactive compounds of plants tend to be inaccessible to the public. There have been very few books that I (as a Ph.D. student in botany as well as a bit of an herbalist) feel comfortable in recommending. This one is at the top of the list.
Nobody can beat James Duke at comfortable pop-level communication combined with solid, informed good judgement. In this book he gives practical preparation and dosage suggestions -- something the too-careful books don't do. He also provides clear, definite cautions on drug interactions and side-effects.
My only criticism of Duke's book is that he may be a bit too confident when he suggests combining several herbs at once to treat some conditions. Folklore and formal studies may provide reasonable dosage guides for individual herbs. But no single folklore or ancient system encompasses, at once, medicinal plants of South America, China, and Europe. Combining herbs that have not been traditonally used, nor clinically tested, in such combination, is not something I would advise to a general audience.
Nevertheless I rate this book very highly. I don't know how many copies of the previous edition I bought to give to people: teenagers, undergraduate college students, my old hippy friends, my father, doctors, and various people who ask me about medical botany.
We all owe Duke a great deal for his tremendous work and his true desire to help others. EVERYONE, without exception, who is interested in medical botany from a practical standpoint, should have this book.
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Green Pharmacy should be owned by any herbalist, naturopath, homeopath, or student of natural remedies. It truly is a great resource for information, and Duke does write in an agreeable manner that almost always sits well with the reader.
His knowledge and expertise in the fields of research come across loud and clear without him having to pronounce it boldly. Reading the back of the book and seeing his credentials was almost as enjoyable as reading the book itself. Much of the text is taken over with research, combined with his own uses, things he's heard, seen, and believe.
I do actually have a fault of two, and I see from the other opinions around here I may be in the minority. I have to credit Henrietta Kress for this, though, as she said it first and I realized I agreed with her but it had never clicked with me before. One of those things you can't put your finger on:
""I have the 1997 edition of this. It's a book written by a researcher, not by a practitioner, and it shows in some of the herbal recommendations. Don't trust it, get one of the books written by a practitioner instead."" (End Quote)
You know, she's right in a way. I always found it strange that throughout the book he mainly suggests soups, pills bought, standardized pills, etc. He never gives many personal experiences with something other than a single remedy used as a food addition. This is not saying this book is not worth it - far from it - but it is bringing up the valid point.
Also, there is another thing that DOES bug me is the "make your own medicine" section. A few pages long, so not actually a section, but you get my drift. For tinctures he says to let it sit about a week and then strain. A week? Every other source states 2 weeks minimum. Nothing is mentioned on sun either or any heating.
Also, on salves he recommends not making your own but buying it from a store, saying that it's "messy stuff". Of course he does say that he doesnt have luck making salves, where they turn out too dry or runny, so this could be the reason he says this.
Beyond these small gripes though, this really is an excelletn book. I always return to it when wondering on a condition. Sure it's not advanced herbalism in any shape or form, but it works and for good reason. He gives plenty of information and doesn't seem rushed like so many books out there do. He recommends more than just herbal remedies as well. Sometimes I dont agree with what he says, but for the majority of the time I do (and that's not the point with reviews anyway), but at least he always explains his reason. He doesn't just say: Dont take this or, This causes liver damage. He says WHY and I appreciate that.
79 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a very informative book, but it did not give me the answers I was looking for. The recipies for health given in the book rely mostly on the use of fresh herbs. I'm not an accomplished gardener nor do I have access to the varities of herbs mentioned here. I was looking for a book that gives dosages of dried herb in pill form, as you find in drugstores. This type of information is not found here. It is an excellent book for letting you know what type of herb to use for an ailment, but does not give much information on how much to take, how many times a day, and so forth. As I know that just because a remedy is herbal it does not always mean that it is safe, I feel I require more dosage information before experimenting.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I never knew how many over the counter medicines could be replaced by safer, herbal alternatives. This book is easy to read and has a great index where you can look up various ailments. The index takes you right to the page where it lists the herbs that can help you. The book also provides many different herbs that can be used for one ailment so you can have more options available to you. It also says how the herb is used and prepared. Excellent book for someone that wants to have well-rounded health-care. I can attest to some of those remedies in the book, they do work!
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There are a lot of books similar to this one, with alphabetically arranged diseases and symptoms for sections, followed by passages on the kinds of herbs that might be helpful, and why. Of all the ones I've seen, this one is my favorite. Duke has a very engaging writing style, and the book is well suited for browsing or reading cover to cover. He seems appropriately cautious in some of the suggestions he makes, but I agree with other reviewers concerns that this is not always the case. I cannot speak from the perspective of an MD or an herbalist, because I am neither of those. Speaking for myself, I wouldn't try a lot of the potential remedies presented in this book, and I disagree with some of the suggestions contained in it. Nevertheless, there is plenty of information that I did agree with and overall I'd say this book is wonderful to read and learn from. Duke's experience and authority on the subject matter is very impressive, and that is reflected very well in this book.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2001
This book is VERY useful for looking up which herbs to use for a given health condition (it's organized alphabetically by condition). If you have a cold, for example, and you want to know what to use to treat it, you can just look it up under "Colds and Flu", and bingo, there's all the info you need. (Many of the other herb books I have, while lovely to look at, require you to use the index and then peruse each individual plant listing that mentions a condition. This can be a pain!) Dr. Duke's folksy style of writing and his anecdotes interspersed in the text make it a pleasure to read.
This is the book I recommend to friends who want to know which herbs to use-- it's a great read & a great reference!
60 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2001
This is not only a greatly helpful reference book in alphabetical order but also designed for a fine front to back read for those who are really interested in a working general knowledge of herbs. Also some knowhow for planting these herbs and growing them yourself. This is written with just enough opinion and story to make it sound like a person actually teaching you and not a textbook read. As for the technical part there is a perfectly stated order of conditions A-Z and the summary of herbs and why they help with it. Here are the conditions discussed in order, just as stated in the table of contents : Hope this is helpful- ~A~ 1. Aging-2.Allergies-3.Altitude sickness-4.Alzheimer's disease-5.Amenorrhea-6.Angina-7.-Ankylosing Spondylitis-8.Arthritis-9.Asthma-10.Athlete's Foot ~B~ 1. Backache-2.Bad Breath-3.Baldness-4.Bladder Infection-5.Body Odor-6.Breast Enlargement-7.Breastfeeding Problems-8.Bronchitis-9.Bruises-10.Bunions-11.Burns-12.Bursistis and Tendinitis ~C~ 1. Cancer Prevention-2.Canker Sores-3.Cardiac Arrhythmia-4.Carpal Tunnel Syndrome-5.Cataracts-6.Chronic Fatigue Syndrome-7. Colds and Flu-8.Constipation-9.Corns-10.Coughing-11.Cuts,Scrapes and Abscesses ~D~ 1. Dandruff-2.Depression-3.Diabetes-4.Diarrhea-5.Diverticulitis-6.Dizziness-7.Dry Mouth ~E~ 1. Ear Ache-2.Emphysema-3.Endometriosis-4.Erection Problems ~F~ 1. Fainting-2.Fever-3.Flatulence-4.Fungal Infections ~G~ 1. Gallstones and Kidney Stones-2.Genital Herpes and Cold Sores-3.Gingivitis-4.Glaucoma-5.Gout-6.Graves'Disease[Hyperthyroidism] ~H~ 1. Hangover-2.Headache-3.Heartburn-4.Heart Disease-5.Hemorroids-6.HighBloodPressure-7.High Cholesterol-8.Hives-9.HIV Infection[AIDS]-10.Hypothyroidism ~I~ 1. Indigestion-2.Infertility-3.InflammatoryBowelDisease-4.InhibitedSexualDesireinWomen-5.InsectBitesandStings-6.Insomnia-7.Intermittent Claudication-8.Intestinal Parasites ~L~ 1. Laryngitis-2.Lice-3.Liver Problems-4.Lyme Disease ~M~ 1. Macular Degeneration-2. Menopause-3. Menstrual Cramps-4.Morning Sickness-5.Motion Sickness-6.Multiple Sclerosis ~N~ 1. Nausea ~O~ 1. Osteoporosis-2.Overweight ~P~ 1. Pain-2.Parkinson's Disease-3.Pneumonia-4.Poison Ivy,Oak,Sumac-5.Pregnany and Delivery-6.Premenstrual Syndrome-7.Prostate Enlargement-8.Psoriasis ~R~ 1. Raynaud's Disease ~S~ 1. Scabies-2.Sciatica-3.Shingles-4.Sinusitis-5.Skin Problems-6.Smoking-7. Sores-8.Sore Throat-9. Sties-10.-Stroke-11.Sunburn-12.Swelling ~T~ 1. Tinnitus-2.Tonsillitis-3.Toothache-4.Tooth Decay-5.Tuberculosis ~U~ 1. Ulcers ~V~ 1. Vaginitis-2.VaricoseVeins-3.ViralInfections ~W~ 1. Warts-2.Worms-3.Wrinkles ~y~ 1. Yeast Infections
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2001
The book is an excellent reference guide for those who believe in the power of herbs and healing. In alphabetical order, the book clearly presents a variety of medical conditions and the possible herb(s) to take for each. The book would have been deserving of a five-star rating had it provided the daily dosages in tablet form, but the dosages were given using the raw herb only, which, without question, is the best form if it is available. The problem is, at least in my little corner of the world, the chance of finding a raw herb or a supplier would be next to finding a needle in a haystack and extremely expensive if they could be found! Fortunately, most herbal tablets have the recommended dosage on the bottle but even that can vary from as little as one tablet a day to as many as twelve tablets. I think I would be very hesitant about taking twelve tablets a day of anything, especially on a long-term basis. It would have been helpful if the book had recommended accurate dosages for the tablet form, as well as the raw form.
The book is well-written and most informative. I would caution readers about making their own herbal combinations though, unless they are knowledgeable on the subject. Just as some medicines should not be combined, the same applies to some herbs.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 1998
This book is an excellent reference for anyone interested in herbal healing. It's easy to read and difficult to put down. The book is organized by disease states, instead of herbs and their uses like most herbal books. You can find multiple areas pertaining to each herb listed in the index. Dr. Duke, with his vast experience and botanical knowledge, created a fascinating book that includes many stories about various herbs and people that he has meet during his many travels and his work for the USDA. While some herbs have numerous studies about their ingredients and effects, Dr. Duke informs the reader about potentially useful herbs for conditions from Allergies to Yeast Infections. And if that wasn't enough, it includes a recap of Dr.Duke's life and how he came to learn and love plants. His knowledge of plants and their constituents is almost endless. Even well read herbalist can learn something from Dr.Duke.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2000
this is the bible- book of healing with herbs to the most common diseases with a true and simple explanation for the simple person as well as for the proffesional therapist. and this book (maybe) needles to say, is from the world's greatest and most expirienced medical-herbologist and botanist that more than 30 years of expirience gave to the public the best scientific, and worth-must extraordinary book on the subject. you are not knoledgable enough in herbology without that book.