Category Archives: Reviews

Choice Reviews Medicinal Plants of the Western Mountain States

Kane, an herbal practitioner, has written numerous books on wild herbs and edibles, including Herbal Medicine of the American Southwest (CH, Jun’I0, 47-5390). Here he provides another modern treatment of his subject, listing in alphabetical order the plants, their descriptions, geographic distribution, and collection methods. This volume is more of a medical handbook because it includes the chemistry of the plant and an indications section that clearly states what ailments the plant can be used to treat, along with sections on how to make the traditional herbal preparations, dosages and cautions for medical usage, and a therapeutic index. Unfortunately, the pages containing color photographs of the plants are grouped in the middle, requiring readers to search for the plant illustrations. A glossary of terms and a bibliography for further reading organized by plant are also provided. Although this book contains almost the same number of plants as Michael Moore’s Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West (2nd ed., 2003) or his Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West (CH, May’90, 27-5132), there are some variations in the plants included. The new handbook would make an excellent addition to any comprehensive herbal collection. Summing Up, *** Highly recommended. All readership levels.

-B. Galbraith, Washington State University

Choice Reviews Herbal Medicine of the American Southwest, 2nd. Ed.

Reviewed by J. Saxton, Bastyr University

choice“Sustainably harvesting medicinal plants and preparing them in time-honored ways to preserve their therapeutic potential calls for knowledge and skills that are increasingly rare. This second edition offers a wealth of such information. Expanding on the popular first edition, Kane, an herbalist, succinctly addresses how to identify and collect some 100 plants known for their medicinal properties. He provides information on the types of herbal preparations that can be made from each plant and, in a section titled “Preparations,” the processes for making them. Entries are alphabetically arranged by plant name. They include a botanical description, geographical distribution, chemistry, medicinal uses, indications (health conditions with which the plant is most often associated), tips for collecting, preparations/dosage, cautions, and other uses.

The 200-plus photographic plates and prints provide a delightful visual tour of the Southwest’s medicinal flora. Guides to medicinal plants that focus on specific geographical areas are especially valuable because of their ecological detail. One of the best guides available for medicinal plants in the American Southwest, this volume will be useful for a broad range of readers and of particular appeal to herbal medicine enthusiasts. Kane also recently published Herbal Medicine (CH, Jun’10, 47-5391), a broader compendium of the most popular plants in Western herbal medicine. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers.”

HerbalGram Reviews Herbal Medicine: Trends and Traditions

by Amanda McQuade Crawford

herbalgram-2“A frequently-expressed concern of laypeople regarding herbal medicine is that it takes too much effort to decide which sources to trust. Some scientists criticize popular herb use, believing that Western herb traditions have no discernable system or standards. Herbal Medicine: Trends & Traditions admirably addresses both ends of the spectrum, communicating how to use herbs effectively, safely, and within guidelines understandable at any level of expertise. In his introduction, Charles W. Kane addresses the common fears of the herbal neophyte as well as the research driven expert. This book is mainly a materia medica, but with useful additions. Continue reading HerbalGram Reviews Herbal Medicine: Trends and Traditions