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Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria (Storey Medicinal Herb Guide) Paperback – January 8, 1999
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From the Back Cover
-- James A. Duke, Ph.D., author of The Green Pharmacy
The era of the penicillin miracle is over. Through our indiscriminate use of pharmaceutical antibiotics in hospitals and factory farms, humans have created "Superbugs" -- tenacious and virulent bacteria that develop resistance to solitary antibiotic compounds at an alarming speed.
In this empowering book, Stephen Buhner offers conclusive evidence that plant medicines, with their complex mix of multiple antibiotic compounds, are remarkably effective against drug-resistant bacteria. You'll learn how antibiotic herbs such as aloe, garlic, and grapefruit seed extract represent our best defense against bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, and Salmonella -- and how their use will ensure that, in the future, antibiotic drugs will still be there when we really need them.
About the Author
Stephen Harrod Buhner is the author of Herbal Antibiotics now in its second edition and 17 other works including Herbs for Hepatitis C and the Liver, Sacred Plant Medicine, The Lost Language of Plants, The Secret Teachings of Plants, and Ensouling Language. He travels and speaks internationally on herbal medicine, emerging diseases, complex interrelationships in ecosystems, Gaian dynamics, and musical/sound patterns in plant and ecosystem functioning. He is a tireless advocate for the citizen scientist, the amateur naturalist, and community herbalists everywhere. He lives in New Mexico.
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Maybe I'm being too harsh but I believe it's foolish and off-putting for a book about herbal antibiotics to omit of any of the following: oregano, thyme, olive leaf, chinese scullcap, turmeric. These are among the most important antibiotic herbs cited in several similar books and substantiated by scientific studies on pubmed, nih and medical universities abroad. To fact check me, look up some of the 'active' molecules contained within those herbs: carvacrol, eugenol, thymol, curcuminoid in google- first hit should be wikipedia- read it then thank me for not wasting money on this book.
I think it's funny how we herbalists cherry pick from recycled, syndicated, reworded-a-thousand-times-over information that essentially can be traced back to an historically-fascinating, folklorically-relevant but outdated 'A Modern Herbal'. Such is the case of the author's section on eucalyptus, which imo, is just intellectually lazy bordering on negligent. Why the heck, I ask, can't any of us herbalist seem to do actual, real research?
Go deep or go home.
I don't own this book thank goodness, I skimmed through it at a bookstore and rolled my eyes so much i almost broke something. Because it's so much like others- it's fluff heavy and thin on reality. A better book, "Prescription for Herbal Healing". Thorough enough. Right-headed, some good research there.
There is an inherent bias among herbalist that says, "if it's called an 'herb' it must be 'healing' because that's what they do". I disagree. Some herbs are just fancy vegetables or pretty flowers. One would have to distill seven hundred thousand tons of them to get anything useful and effective in the body orally or anally (should you be so inclined) from them.
So can anyone here name an active chemical compound in eucalyptus that has antibiotic activity? Ok I'll help. Cineol/eucalyptol. It has been shown not to be antibiotic, and too much in the body is instead toxic. The author is simply wrong in mentioning it. There is one reference to a study showing efficacy against rhinosinusitus. How? Because eucalyptol does reduces cytokine activity (inflammation) allowing your body to heal itself. The herb's not an antibiotic. Fool!
How about this for a book on herbs as antibiotics:
What is your metric for 'grading' the antibiotic activity of each of these? Does one show activity against listeria, e. coli, candida, some other class of microbe pathogen? Efficacy in vitro or in vivo or in monkey? C'mon folks, let's change our rubric to a more scientific one, otherwise doctors get to be right about everything, and our books-like this one-get to read like the same old hippie yippie bark chewing nonsense.
What would have pleased me in this book, is an exhaustive biochemical assay of each molecule in every herb in the book. And I want each of those researched to exhaustion. No studies show efficacy, the herb sucks, toss it from the book.
1. Bacteria survive because they are opportunistic, id est, they reproduce quickly and successfully because they are small and can exploit natural resources before other organisms can.
2. Bacteria survive because they are variablistic: they are not intelligent or premeditative, they are a simple algorithm which permutates often, but randomly. When something works it survives to reproduce.
This second statement supports the idea that plant extracts cannot be used as antibiotics any more effectively than a synthetic antibiotic like chlorampheticol. Plants as a general group of organisms rely on the opposite evolutionary strategy to survive: invest in your stake (resources and physical individual) in order to make it successful by making it unavailable for use by opportunistic organisms. While this sounds like it may support the use of herbal antibiotics, it actually indicates that plants choose stability over variability and therefore don't change as quickly as bacteria...nor do the biosynthetic products they produce. Any such product would, if it was antibiotic in the first place, be subject to the very same forces of selective bacterial reproduction as a synthetic drug, rendering it useless in short time.
Herbal antibiotics is perhaps one of the most difficult topics to cover in today's rapidly changing climate of virulent, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and I certainly applaud the author for his attempt - but old is old, and outdated is outdated.
I sincerely look forward to receiving, and reviewing, the 2nd edition... herbal antibiotics may very well be humankind's saving grace from extinction.
UPDATE: I received the newest edition - and it is excellent. About double in size and much more in-depth, the author included most (but not all) of the herbs he was criticized for omitting from this edition, and the chapter added on honey is one of the best and most informative sections of this new edition. More up to date information on the newer super bugs has been added as well. Fantastic book, well worth the extra $5 - I will review it on the appropriate page.
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