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Seller Inventory AAS Christopher Hobbs ; Steven Foster. Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title This guide is the most complete work ever written on the medicinal plants of western North America. About the Author : Christopher Hobbs, a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, teacher, and consultant to the dietary supplement industry, has written many books on herbal medicine, including Herbs for Dummies and Dietary Supplements for Dummies.
All rights reserved. Buy New Learn more about this copy. Other Popular Editions of the Same Title. Search for all books with this author and title. Customers who bought this item also bought. Stock Image. There ARE a few plants that are almost "drug like" and whose action approaches that of pharmaceuticals. Digitalis is the classic example. Herbalists use these plants in near allopathic treatment strategies if at all, and in some countries e.
Medicinal plants in Viet Nam
UK, their availability is restricted by law. The number of herbs in this category is relatively few. The vast majority of medicinal herbs contain dozens of different compounds, often of great complexity, mucilages, tannins, polysaccharides etc. Study after study has shown that effects produced by extracts of whole plants cannot be mimicked by administering isolated purified constituents of the plant. It is ironic this proposition even has to be asserted given that biological sciences have for some time used a systems theory model in which the whole being greater than the sum of the parts is axiomatic - this simply reflects the inherent conservatism of the medical establishment.
However for most herbalists the view of the whole being greater than the parts is derived from vitalism, not systems theory! Pharmaceutical drugs are designed to elicit very specific reactions. Their associated "side effects" are undesired actions, usually traded as a "risk" against the "benefit" of the primary effect. Herbs tend to have several broad actions on a number of whole physiological systems at the same time.
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These actions are usually oriented in the same general therapeutic direction, and are usually complementary or synergistic, often non-specific, and very rarely adverse. Herb actions cannot be adequately described using the vocabulary of "drug" action terms, e. The clearest example of this is the coining of the term "adaptogenic" used to describe the multiple non-specific effects of herbs such as Ginseng. A pharmaceutical drug addresses symptoms caused by specific disease mechanisms as understood by scientific pathology.
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Herbal medicines are directed towards aiding the body's own healing processes. These approaches are diametrically opposed. Herbal medicines act gently, usually attempting to "nudge" or "support" systems and processes that have become deficient or help remove excesses that have become preponderant. Symptom relief is only a component of herbal therapeutic strategy.
This is a crucial difference. For example, serum arthritic conditions are conventionally treated with steroid anti-inflammatory drugs. These have widespread and disturbing side effects, which at sustained high doses become intolerable and potentially dangerous if not lethal. Topical treatments for acute joint pain or systemic anti-inflammatory herbs that help joint pain are used as required, but this is not the thrust of the treatment strategy. Lay persons often make the related mistake of seeking a "natural alternative" to a pharmaceutical they have been prescribed rather than challenging the diagnosis and therapeutic strategy.
Herbal medicine is a wholistic therapy, it integrates mental, emotional and spiritual levels seamlessly into its understanding of both human function and of the plant remedy, while respecting the planetary and ecological dimensions of natural medicine provided by plants. Although subject to differing interpretations this view is held in one form or another by most herbalists. Life style, mental, emotional and spiritual considerations are part of any naturopathic approach, herbalism included. Flower essences, homeopathic preparations and drop doses of standard herb extracts all demonstrate that herbal agents can produce consistent and powerful effects at subtle levels in ways quite inexplicable by the pharmacokinetic model underlying orthodox pharmacology.
Medicinal plants in Viet Nam
Centuries of medicinal plant usage overarch even the Graeco - Roman heritage of medical thought, itself already forgotten by its amnesiac infant technological medicine, extending into magical, esoteric and religious domains of prehistory. The great Asian systems of medicine have continued uninterrupted for thousands of years to today, integrated into profound cosmological and philosophical systems.
From any serious study of the application of herbs to healing a perspective emerges that reveals modern doctors to be tragicomically "like educated peasants running around pretending to be chiefs" Grossinger. Many herbalists would tend toward the radical homeopathic view that the "side effects" of orthodox medicine are in fact iatrogenic developments of the very disease for which the pharmacological intervention was intended.
A Peterson Field Guide to Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs (Peterson Field Guides)
The symptoms simply change, and the real underlying dysfunction is further obscured - or driven further into the interior to manifest in deeper and more intractable ways. Notwithstanding this iatrogenic view of side effects, we have seen that the use of herbs anyway does not generally involve "drug" actions or adverse effects. Of course, if the body processes are nudged in the wrong direction for long enough, then imbalances can worsen rather than improve. Hence the need for informed knowledge of the effects of herbs as well as a clinical training to understand their appropriate medical application.
This term is more useful and appropriate than "side effects". Essentially, herbalists use their in depth knowledge to devise a mix'n'match prescription tailored precisely to fit an individuals unique profile. This approach is most sophisticated in the tonic energetics of the Oriental medical traditions, but is empirically applied by most herbalists. Contraindicated remedies can account for apparently idiosyncratic "bad reactions" to a herb.
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Valerian is a classic example, its powerful autonomic effects can make it "disagree" with stressed adrenergically hyperactive individuals, who paradoxically are often those seeking sedative treatment for insomnia. Anyone experiencing such reactions to a herb for more than a couple of days should stop taking it and seek further advice. Many people seeking herbal medical treatment are already involved in pharmaceutical therapies. Herbal remedies may act either as agonists or potentiate some drug therapies, and an understanding of conventional drugs is an essential prerequisite for effective herbal therapeutics.
In many cases, herbalists would not treat the primary presenting symptom undergoing drug treatment - be it ulcers treated with Zantac or cardiac arrythmia treated with Digoxin - but rather concentrate on supporting other systems and functions stressed by the primary symptom. This allows the body to recover its strength and healing potential so it can then direct these capabilities toward repairing the presenting condition. In other cases, it can be a priority to wean someone off drugs, e. Many ordinary foods contain constituents that could be regarded as poisonous, such as the alpha gliadin produced by gluten in wheat oats and rye, the cyanogenic glycosides in many fruit seeds, the thiocyanates of the brassica vegetables, alkaloids of the Solanaceae and lectins of many pulses including soya and red kidney beans.
Nonetheless these foods are generally regarded as safe. Similarly, both water and oxygen - can kill in excessive amounts, so quantity is often an important consideration. In practice however, three groups of herbs can be identified from a safety point of view. Firstly there are a handful of herbs that contain near pharmaceutical concentrations of poisonous constituents which should on no account be taken internally by unqualified persons except in homeopathic potencies. Examples are Atropa belladonna, Arnica spp, Aconitum spp, Digitalis spp. In many countries availability of these herbs is limited by law.
Regulations vary from country to country and the appropriate regulatory authorities or Herb Organisations can be consulted for details. Wildcrafters should be unshakably confident in their identification of the local variants of these species, and children warned to avoid them. Fortunately this is a numerically tiny category. Secondly, are herbs with powerful actions, often causing nausea or vomiting, that usually were traditionally prized for this action.
They are perfectly safe used under appropriate conditions. Some of these herbs are restricted in some countries but freely available in others. Lobelia and Eonymus spp are examples. There is some inconsistency here, for example Ephedra is restricted, perhaps with justification, in the UK, but is freely available in the US.
Finally, there is an idiosyncratic grouping of herbs which have been alleged, with some scientific support, to exhibit specific kinds of toxicity.