The Handbook of Clinically Tested Herbal Remedies, 2-volume set

Author:
Margie Lynn Stratton Bradenton, FL

Search for other papers by Margie Lynn Stratton in
This Site
Google Scholar
Close

Click on author name to view affiliation information

The Handbook of Clinically Tested Herbal Remedies, 2-volume set. 2004. Marilyn Barrett, editor. Haworth Press (Taylor & Francis), 10 Alice Street, Binghamton, NY 13904. Hardcover, $200, 1435 p. ISBN 9780789010681

The first impression that one most likely will have when examining this large, two-volume reference is what a huge undertaking its preparation must have been. The books include summaries of the most-pertinent, peer-reviewed, clinical studies of herbal remedies from 1983 to 2003. The book lists more 40 botanical substances, over 100 commercial products, and over 300 clinical studies. Details of products and clinical trials are presented in an easy-to-read, at-a-glance format. The book will help health professionals and consumers make informed selections of herbal remedies from the plethora of products on the market. This handy reference manual presents a scholarly wealth of information that is fully documented with cited literature. It will be valuable to researchers interested in herbal medicines. The book contains contributions by the editor and other authors.

Volume 1 is divided into three parts and could be used as a textbook for herbal research. It has 13 chapters of text (Parts I and II) and profiles on herbs from artichoke through ginseng (Part III). Volume 2 is a continuation of Part III of Volume 1 and provides botanical profiles on herbs from grape seed to valerian as well as commercially prepared herbal formulas.

Volume 1 (Part I) is prefaced with introductory chapters by the editor and co-authors addressing the history and regulation of botanicals in the United States and includes a discussion of the problems with defining herbal medicines. The editor alone or with other authors further cover topics such as the identification, characterization, and standardization of botanical products, along with “borrowed science,” and “phytoequivalence,” safety, pharmacopeias, monographs, and methods for trial inclusion. A group of 11 invited authors round out the topics in Part I with discussions of product definition, bioavailability, and efficacy. Part II, by contributing authors, addresses methods of conducting clinical trials in the U.S. and Europe and provides guidance and a checklist for clinical trials. The checklist will help other scientists gather and interpret data.

Each of the 2-inch-thick volumes is filled with information presenting the trial design, subject information, inclusion criteria, end points, reported results, and easy-to-read reference charts, tables, and useful lists of literature cited. Each herb has a profile that includes Preparations Used in Reviewed Clinical Studies, Herb Summary Table, Summary of Reviewed Clinical Studies, Postmarketing Surveillance Studies, Adverse Reactions or Side Effects, Information from Pharmacopeial Monographs, and Details on the Products and Clinical Studies of Herbs.

The herbs are listed by common name. Herbal formulas that can be purchased commercially are presented in the same manner as the individual herbs. The final sections of Volume 2 include two appendices of listings of products by manufacturer or distributor and information on contacting manufacturers and distributors. A comprehensive index is included in Volume 2.

This reference is a lifetime work; it is well-researched, important, useful forever, and thoroughly scientific. This book is not for casual reading, but once the reader gets into the text some interesting facts are presented. This book adds credibility to the herbal sciences by backing up observations with clinical trials. The science is quantified, mathematically and statistically analyzed, peer-reviewed, and designed with double-blind randomized designed trials or reported with clearly defined bias. One of the most interesting sections of each discussion is the section for the authors' comments. This section refers to the author of the original study discussed; for example, one author comments that the data (in the particular study discussed) cannot be extrapolated to liver disease in general. Reviewers' comments follow, and they can be quite lengthy and usually discuss statistics and interpretation of the data. These interpretations are insightful and helpful and may remind one of journal club reviews.

The preparation of the reference suggests that the editor and the authors read the important research on herbal remedies and gathered it in one handy shelf reference. This book is for all herbal practitioners, scientists, researchers, teachers, and students and deserves a place in plant science, alternative medicine, and herbal researchers' libraries. It is a book that ought to stay in the library or office though. It is not assembled sturdily and does not travel well. During my review of the volumes, the covers became unattached, and one volume was ruined essentially. If this handbook goes into reprinting or revision, as websites suggest that it likely will, the binding issue undoubtedly will be solved, and the book will be about as ideal an herbal reference as is possible. A third volume also might be expected in the future, as the book layout lends itself to the addition of information on new herbs as research is reported.

Margie Lynn StrattonBradenton, FL

Margie Lynn Stratton Bradenton, FL

Search for other papers by Margie Lynn Stratton in
Google Scholar
Close
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 108 40 1
PDF Downloads 129 32 3
Advertisement
Longwood Gardens Fellows Program 2024

 

Advertisement
Save