I had a bit of trouble rating this one; I was tempted to give it a three but ultimately was forced to decide on a 2. Damn, I really need to track down that half star graphic...
Don't get me wrong - I didn't dislike this book. It had it's good points but the negatives couldn't allow me to give it a 3 as an average rating. For the positive side of things, this book is massive, pretty, well organized, and written in a simple to understand manner.
It's from the staff of Herbs for health, which includes many herbalists that are recommendable such as Christopher Hobbs. The main author of this book is Linda B. White, M.D., followed by Steven Foster. While I commend Ms. White for writing herbals and having an M.D. at the same time - we need more physicians taking alternate healing seriously - I felt the book was a bit too cautious and at time allopathic orientated.
Within every condition, there lay herbal recommendations....with prescription drug names and uses. In fact, drug names are listed first :( If this is a book on healing and herbs and natural remedies, why does it have to again share its pedestal? And even worse, be placed second when the book is supposed to be about it in the first place? If this Herbal Drugstore is supposed to be the options to prescriptions and over the counter drugs, then why list them so often in every section with details? At least their side effects are listed, which makes them appear a bit frightening in comparison. For those who really do want to know the name of each prescription drug used to treat asthma, angina, or any other condition, then here you'll find it.
Steven Foster was the co-writer for Tyler's honest herbal, which is an oxymoron if I ever heard one. Tyler's honest herbal remains one of the most hated books of the herbal profession, and for good reason. Fosters contribution there may also have been too cautious, although one isn't sure how much he really had to do with it. I am surprised someone who devotes so much time to herbs and even a magazine about them is so overly cautious, but that seems to be the current trend.
I did greatly appreciate some sections such as "How Herbs are Regulated" and common herb/drug interactions. The former is an interesting addition that's not seen enough, and was told honestly. There is a great simple reference guide at the beginning in a table where a condition is named, then commonly used drugs, then the herbal alternatives beside them.
The section on conditions is extensive enough and does offer more recommendations than herbs, as well as the occassional cool remedy/formula. Many of these seem like decent to good blends, particularly blister balm, Endometriosis Tea, and Swimmer's Ear Drops. Typical dosage is given for each herb, including teas or pills or tinctures, which is welcome.
The final half wraps up with very short comments on herbs, basically stating uses without complete sentences as a quick reference to herbs already covered elsewhere in the book. After these are the typical references and resources.
Overall this book is not bad but it's just so plain in terms of natural therapy. It's for the basic, basic lay person who only has a passing interest in herbal therapies. Here they're treated almost like little drugs beside other drugs, as alternatives, and no mention really on other herbal uses, as in holistic healing, etc. Diet is mentioned at times, and this is appreciated, but everything is so cautionary as seems to be found with these kinds of books lately.
Because of this, it can only be granted a low score. Not enough information per condition, with drugs listed FIRST, then herbs, and not much info on the herbs either. Too cautionary and medical minded to be a highly recommended herbal, but alright for the passerby who just wants to take a look.