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Book Review: Physician Desk Reference (PDR) for Herbal Medicine

(Third Edition, 987 pages.) This is a huge book. The price is huge too, at $59.95. This book has information on over 700 botanicals as well as a new section on nutritional supplements. Each botanical entry gives common names and scientific names. A plant description is given. (Though not good enough to help you recognize the plant in the wild.) It tells the chemical compounds found in the herb and the effects of the compounds. A very strong plus! There is usage (both proven and unproven) for each entry. Mode of administration and sometimes dosage amounts are given. The reason I really like this book is for the section on precautions and adverse reactions. Remember the Hippocratic oath—Do thy patient no harm! (There are many books on herbs out there which say nothing about overdoses and adverse reactions.) There is a section of color photos of 300 or so of the botanicals. Which leads me to what I think is the real lack of this book, which is plant identification. There are photographs for less than half of the plants. And the photos are each hardly larger than an inch square. Not to mention the pictures are generally bad. So you are going to need to find at least one other herb book–specifically for plant identification. I have mixed feelings about this book. It probably has way more information in it than most people need. And it is more expensive than most can afford. Further, if the balloon goes up we aren’t going to have access to all 700 botanicals detailed in this book. But on the other hand if it is TEOTWAWKI [1], I’m going to want some really good books on herbs. And this will be one of them. – The Memsahib