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6.1 Good Books on Herbs and Herbal Medicine

Please also check Jonno's Herbal Bookworm page: http://www.herbological.com .
And let me know if I've left out -your- favorite book. Be aware, however, that I won't even consider stinkers such as Tyler or Hutchens.


6.1.1 Good books to get started with


Real basics

  • Lesley Bremness: The Complete Book of Herbs - a practical guide to growing and using herbs.
    288 pages, paperback, 11.60 x 7.66". Penguin Studio, Sep 1994. ISBN 0140238026. List price USD 22.
    A good allround book for the beginner, it includes one-page articles on 100+ herbs, and a wide variety of uses for them (culinary and medicinal uses, cleaning, beauty, etc.). There's also a section on how to grow herbs. Lots of clear plant and how-to color pictures.
  • Richard Mabey: The New Age Herbalist - How to use herbs for healing, nutrition, body care, and relaxation.
    288 pages, 9.71 x 7.69". Fireside, Nov 1988. ISBN 068481577X. List price USD 22.
    A beginner's herbal, lots of pictures, not as practical as the others, but still worthwile.
  • Andrew Chevallier: The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.
    336 pages, 11.25 x 9". DK Publishing, Dec 2000. ISBN 0789467836. List price USD 40.
    Like all Dorling Kindersley books it's big on pictures, so it's good for beginners. This one contains one-page articles on 100 plants (lots of pictures for each of these) and very short paragraphs on 450 more (with pictures for about a third of them), in addition to the obligatory history and making remedies bits. If you're out where there's no herb stores you won't like it too much - there's far too many plants from TCM.
  • David Hoffmann: The Holistic Herbal - A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies
    288 pages, 9.66 x 7.44". Thorsons Pub, 4th ed., Jan 2003. ISBN 0007145411. List price USD 17.
    The 1996 edition had 256 pages, of which 200+ half-page articles on single herbs and a section on problems and herbal remedies by organ system. Also includes the usual how-tos - teas, ointments, lozenges, etc. Very visual.
  • John Lust: The Herb Book.
    700 pages, 6.84 x 4.2". Benedict Lust Publ., Jun 2001. ISBN 0879040556. List price USD 9.
    Short notes on the medicinal use of a lot of herbs. Also tables you can look up things in. Some black-and-white plant drawings.
  • Susun Weed: Healing Wise - Wise Woman Herbal.
    312 pages, 8.44 x 5.52". Ash Tree Pub., Jul 1989. ISBN 0961462027, list price USD 13.
    In-depth information on seven very common herbs. Some black-and-white plant drawings.
  • Michael Tierra: The Way of Herbs.
    416 pages, 9.31 x 6.19". Pocket Books, Aug 1998. ISBN 0671023276, list price USD 17.00.
    A beginner's herbal. No pictures.
    Michael Tierra is online at: http://www.planetherbs.com/
  • James Green: The Herbal Medicine Maker's Handbook - A Home Manual.
    384 pages, 10.62 x 8.48". Crossing Press, Dec 2000. ISBN 0895949903. List price 23 USD.
    (I have his 40-page booklet on the theme, and find that the allround beginner's herbals cover the topic distinctly better. This almost 400 page treatise might cover ground not found elsewhere, though.)
  • Igor Vilevich Zevin: A Russian Herbal.
    250 pages, 8.97 x 6.06". Inner Traditions Intl Ltd., Feb 1997. ISBN 0892815493. list price USD 15.
    For a different view on how to use herbs (still beginner's level) get this book. Some black-and-white plant drawings.
  • No longer in print (my but time flies!):
    • Penelope Ody: The Complete Medicinal Herbal.
      192 pages, hardcover, 11.75 x 8". Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Jun 1993. ISBN 1-56458-187X. List price USD 30.
      A good allround book for the beginner, with one-page articles on 120 plants, charts that tell you which herbs to use for which problems, and the obligatory history and making your own remedies bits. A very visual book.
    • Penelope Ody: Home Herbal - a practical family guide to making herbal remedies for common ailments.
      144 pages, hardcover or paperback, 9.75 x 7.75". Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Jun 1995. ISBN 1564588637. list price USD 20.
      A short introduction to making your own herbal remedies, and the ailments to use them for. Lots of clear plant and how-to color pictures.
    • Christopher Hedley and Non Shaw: Herbal Remedies - A beginner's guide to making effective remedies in the kitchen.
      96 pages, 12.25 x 9.5". Parragon Jan 1999. ISBN 075252416X. List price GBP 7 or so.
      Very good recipes. It's down to earth and well-written, and you'll get to know (and probably expand) your spice rack in ways you didn't expect when you bought your spices. Lots of clear plant and how-to color pictures. I have both the original hardcover and a later smaller paperback; the content is identical.

Often mentioned, but perhaps not really worth it:
(If you feel I'm wrong in my assessment of these books let me know why you disagree - I'm at http://www.henriettesherbal.com/contact).

  • James A Duke: The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook - Your Everyday Reference to the Best Herbs for Healing.
    352 pages, 6.74 x 4.16". St. Martin's Press, Jun 2002. ISBN 0312981511. List price USD 7.
    I have the 1997 edition of this. It's a book written by a researcher, not by a practitioner, and it shows in some of the herbal recommendations. Don't trust it, get one of the books written by a practitioner instead.
  • David Hoffmann: Medical Herbalism - The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine.
    672 pages, 10.9 x 8.68". Inner Traditions Intl Ltd., Aug 2003. ISBN 0892817496. List price USD 60.
    I'm told (I don't have this book) that this is a reprint of the usual Hoffmann database with scientific research thrown in. If that is indeed the case it's not all that much use to the practising herbalist (scientific research on herbs being mostly theoretical), at least if you already have a couple of Hoffmann's works. Add to that that it's very expensive - well, it's not on my list of books to buy anytime soon. If you have this book, are a herbalist, see clients, and disagree with this assessment, let me know.
    I'm also told that it's a good book for somebody who doesn't have Hoffmann's other books -- though even then, certainly not at its list price.
  • Varro Tyler. Read Jonno's review of Tyler's "Honest herbal" and "Herbs of choice" to see why Tyler's writings aren't respected by professional herbalists: http://www.herbological.com/ deconstructingtyler_review.htm .
    If you want a good scientific book on herbs try Rudolf Fritz Weiss, MD, Herbal Medicine (don't buy the "updated" version, stay with the original from 1988) (listed in entry 6.1.3, In-depth books, by organ system)
  • The Complete German Commission E Monographs - Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines
    This is a very expensive set of committee summaries (380 monographs, List price USD 189). Jonno has reviewed the monographs; find his comments here: http://www.herbological.com/ commisione_review.htm
  • Volker Fintelmann, Rudolf Fritz Weiss: Herbal Medicine - second edition, revised and expanded.
    448 pages, 9.25 x 6.75". Thieme Medical Publ, 2nd ed., Aug 2000. ISBN 0865779708. List price USD 59.
    Stay FAR away from this rewrite.
    Read Jonno's review if you want to know why: http://www.herbological.com/ reweissing_review.htm

Field guides

  • Steven Foster, James A. Duke: A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. (A Peterson guide).
    424 pages, 7.22 x 4.48". Houghton Mifflin Co, 2nd revised ed., Dec 1999. ISBN 0395988144, list price USD 19.
    I have the 1990 edition, and it really has very little in the way of text. It's possible that the 1999 edition is distinctly better.
  • Jim Pojar, Andrew MacKinnon: Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast.
    528 pages, 8.53 x 5.57". Lone Pine Publishing, Dec 1994. ISBN 1551050404. List price USD 20.
    You'll find the most common plants of the PNW USA, including photos, drawings, maps, and short paragraphs on usage. It's an excellent field guide - we need more of this caliber. One peeve: botanical works should always mention Genus species auct.; there's no auct in this book.

Diving deeper

  • Michael Moore: Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West.
    351 pages, 9.30 x 6.14". Museum of NM Press, Aug 2003. ISBN 0890134545. List price USD 25.
    Michael has rewritten the 1979 Mountain West book; it's now in the same format, with the same depth of detail and with as many funnies as his extraordinary Pacific West book. Go buy it.
  • Michael Moore: Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West.
    359 pages, 9.23 x 6.14". Red Crane Books, 1993. ISBN 1878610317, list price USD 22.5.
    The single best book on medicinal plants I have seen to date. Don't let the title throw you, it's got universal appeal. I use it, and I'm rather far away from the Pacific west.
  • Michael Moore: Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West.
    200 pages, 8.48 x 5.48". Museum of NM Press, Apr 1990. ISBN 0890131821. List price USD 15.
    A good book on the medicinal uses of some southwestern herbs.
    Michael Moore's books on medicinal herbs are very good and fun to read, too. You're in for a treat if you haven't visited his homepage yet - he's got some good practitioner-level booklets online, free for downloading: http://www.swsbm.com
  • Michael Moore: Los Remedios - Traditional Herbal Remedies of the Southwest.
    108 pages, 8.47 x 5.48". Red Crane Books, Oct. 1990. ISBN 1878610066. List price USD 10.
    If you ever decide to do a book on traditional medicinal uses of your local flora, check this book to see how it's done. It's the only work in this genre (that I've seen) that includes a paragraph labelled "usefulness" with the usual traditional uses.
  • Matthew Wood: The Book of Herbal Wisdom
    250 pages, 9.05 x 6.05". North Atlantic Books, Sep 1997. ISBN 1556432321, list price USD 19.
    Well worth the price, as Matthew Wood opens a rather different point of view on plants. His tales are sprinkled with personal experience and herbal wisdom. Very very good.
  • Gazmend Skenderi: Herbal Vade Mecum - 800 Herbs, Spices, Essential Oils, Lipids, Etc. Constituents, Properties, Uses, and Caution.
    496 pages, 8.86 x 6". Herbacy Press, Jun 2003. ISBN 0971320926. List price USD 25 plus shipping. Available directly from the publisher: herbacy@aol.com . (better buy it there - Amazon wants USD 50 for it - plus shipping, too, of course.)
    Uses are given, dosages aren't - you need to know your plants before you use this book. It's a very good materia medica for practitioners, focusing on the essential; beginners might not do all that much with it, except they'd get solid, practical, sensible cautions for the listed plants, instead of the usual overblown and overly theoretical ones. No pictures.
  • Janice Schofield: Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, Western Canada, The Northwest.
    355 pages, 10.9 x 8.45". Alaska Northwest Books, 1998. ISBN 0882403699. List price USD 40.
    A delightful book, it includes information on a lot of plants found up here in Finland, too. Great pictures, lots of tried and true recipes, sensible medicinal uses - you need this book if you live up north.
  • Janice Schofield: Alaska's Wild Plants.
    95 pages, 8.02 x 4.55". Alaska Northwest Books, 1995. ISBN 0882404334. List price USD 13.
    Compared to her excellent Discovering Wild Plants: this one is a tenth (or less) of the scope and a third of the price. You makes your choice and you pays your price.
  • Thomas Bartram: Bartram's Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine - The Definitive Guide to the Herbal Treatments of Diseases.
    496 pages, 9.10 x 6.12". Marlowe & Company, Sep 2002. ISBN 1569245509. List price USD 18.
    A lot, and I do mean a LOT, of short notes on herbs, supplements, and diseases, listed alphabetically. Very good as a repertory - a work which gives you treatment options for diverse ailments. No pictures.
  • Maud Grieve: A Modern Herbal - Vol. 1, A-H, and Vol. 2, I-Z.
    443 + 476 pages, 2 x 9.17 x 6.49". Dover Publ. 1971 reprint of the 1931 original. ISBN 0486227987 (I), 0486227995 (II), list price USD 13 each.
    A fairly good materia medica, especially for its history value. It's online too, scanned and OCR'd in full by Ed Greenwood: http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/mgmh.html

Thorough but easy to understand descriptions of some plants and/or some organ systems

  • Janice Schofield: Nettles. (A Keats good herb guide).
    96 pages, 6.77 x 4.18". McGraw-Hill, Jan 1998. ISBN 087983840X, list price USD 5.
    Despite the small format you'll get real in-depth information about that nicest of plants, the stinging nettle. I can personally vouch for Henriette's Potato Mush, with nettles of course. Excellent work!
  • Michael Moore: Herbs for the Urinary Tract. (A Keats good herb guide).
    96 pages, 6.77 x 4.18". McGraw-Hill, Jan 1999. ISBN 0879838159, list price USD 5.
    A short but thorough introduction to the urinary tract and what gets it out of and back into kilter.
  • Aviva Romm: ADHD Alternatives - A Natural Approach to Treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
    128 pages, 8.49 x 5.54". Storey Books, Jul 2000. ISBN 1580172482. List price USD 13.
  • Christopher Hobbs: Medicinal Mushrooms - An Exploration of Tradition, Healing & Culture.
    264 pages, 9.38 x 6.66". Book Pub Co, 2003. ISBN 1570671435, list price 19 USD.
    It's _the_ book on medicinal mushrooms. Go get it, it's good.
  • Christopher Hobbs: Natural Therapy for your Liver: Herbs and Other Natural Remedies for a Healthy Liver. 128 pages, 2002, ISBN1583331328, list price USD 10.
  • Christopher Hobbs: Vitex, the Women's Herb. 95 pages, 2003, ISBN 1570671575, list price USD 8.
    Accurate and balanced booklets.
    He's online here: http://christopherhobbs.com
  • Steven Foster's botanical booklets. Web site here: http://www.stevenfoster.com
  • No longer in print - a shame really:
    • Paul Bergner: The Healing Power of Garlic
      304 pages, 8.25 x 5.50". Prima Publishing, Oct 1995. ISBN 0761500987, list price USD 16.
    • Paul Bergner: The Healing Power of Ginseng and the Tonic Herbs
      288 pages, 8.75 x 5.25". Prima Publishing, May 1996. ISBN 0761504729. List price USD 15.
    • Paul Bergner: The Healing Power of Echinacea, Goldenseal and other Immune system herbs
      336 pages, 8.75 x 5.50". Prima Publishing, Feb 1997. ISBN 0761508090, list price USD 15.
    • Paul Bergner: The Healing Power of Minerals, Special Nutrients, and Trace Elements.
      320 pages, 8.50 x 5.75". Prima Publishing, Jul 1997. ISBN 0761510214, list price USD 15.
      These are very good in-depth books both about the herbs and the organ systems involved. Get them if you can.
      Paul Bergner is the editor of Medical Herbalism (see the professional level journal list, ch.6.3.2). He has a website at http://www.medherb.com.

6.1.2 Specialty books: women's herbals, men's herbals etc.


Let's get gender-specific:

  • Rosemary Gladstar: Herbal Healing for Women - simple home remedies for women of all ages.
    304 pages, 9.17 x 7.35". Fireside Books, Nov 1993. ISBN 0671767674, list price USD 14.
    A very good book on herbs and women's health - and at that price it's a steal.
    Rosemary Gladstar's website is at http://www.sagemountain.com
  • Amanda McQuade Crawford: Herbal Remedies for Women.
    304 pages, 9.23 x 7.41". Prima Health, 1997. ISBN 0761509801. List price USD 20.
    A very good book on herbs and women's health.
  • Christopher Hobbs + Kathy Keville: Women's Herbs, Women's Health.
    366 pages, 9.2 x 8". Botanica Press, Oct 2007. ISBN 1570671524, list price USD 25.
    Kathi, one of the authors, tells me that this is her favorite women's herb book :-).
    Christopher Hobbs, the other author, is online here: http://www.christopherhobbs.com.
  • Ruth Trickey: Women, Hormones & The Menstrual Cycle - Herbal & Medical Solutions from Adolescence to Menopause.
    680 pages, 9.22 x 6.68". Allen & Unwin, 2nd ed., Apr 2004. ISBN 186508980X. List price USD 30.
    A good book about the hormonal system and what gets it out of and back into balance. Learn how to remedy, for instance, endometriosis, fibroids, or painful menses with diet, herbs and supplements.
  • Amanda McQuade Crawford: The Herbal Menopause Book.
    224 pages, 9.10 x 7.08". Crossing Press, Oct 1996. ISBN 0895947994, list price USD 17.
    Great notes on menopausal discomforts, and how to remedy them.
  • Susun Weed: New Menopausal Years, the Wise Woman Way.
    304 pages, 8.42 x 5.52". Ash Tree Pub., rev. ed., Nov 2001. ISBN 1888123036. List price USD 13.
  • Susun Weed: Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year.
    196 pages, 8.42 x 5.52". Ash Tree Pub., Jun 1985. ISBN 0961462000. List price USD 10.
  • Susun Weed: Breast Cancer, Breast Health, the Wise Woman Way.
    380 pages, 8.42 x 5.52". Ash Tree Pub., Mar 1997. ISBN 0961462078. List price USD 15.
    Susun has her own very wise way of looking at things. You buy one first, and then you go out of your way to get the others when you or somebody close to you needs them.
    Susun is online here: http://www.susunweed.com
  • No longer in print:
    • Anne McIntyre: The Complete Women's Herbal - a manual of healing herbs and nutrition for personal well-being and family care
      287 pages, 10 x 7.75". Henry Holt & Co., Jan 1995. ISBN 0805035370, list price USD 25.
      A very good book on herbs and women's health.
    • James Green: The Male Herbal - health care for men and boys
      278 pages, 9 x 6". Crossing Press, Apr 1991. ISBN 0895944588, list price USD 15.
      The only book about herbs for men that I've seen so far.

Kids

  • Aviva Romm: Naturally Healthy Babies and Children - a Commonsense Guide to Herbal Remedies, Nutrition, and Health.
    2000, Storey Books, Pownal, Vermont, USA. ISBN 1-58017-285-7, list price USD 17.
    A good, practical, all-round book for parents.
  • Linda B. White, MD, and Sunny Mavor: Kids, Herbs and Health - practical solutions for your child's health, from birth to puberty.
    1998, Interweave Press, Loveland, CO, USA. ISBN 1-883010-53-5, list price USD 22.
    Another look at herbs for kids, this combines the conventional approach with the herbal one.

Pets

  • Mary L. Wulff-Tilford and Gregory L. Tilford: Herbs for Pets.
    1999, BowTie Press, Irvine, CA, USA. ISBN 1-889540-64-1, list price USD 30.
    A blockbuster of a book, this really is worth getting. It includes, among other things, 200 pages of herbal materia medica for pets with glorious pictures, and notes on diet for dogs and cats.

Cancer

There are three books on cancer and herbal medicine for the serious herbalist. These will help you understand the research. They also make it easy to see what's real and what's hype around herbs for cancer:

  • Donald Yance: Herbal Medicine, Healing & Cancer.
    1999, Keats Publishing, Lincolnwood, Ill, USA. ISBN 0-87983-968-6, list price USD 22.
  • John Boik: Cancer & Natural Medicine - A Textbook of Basic Science and Clinical Research.
    1995, Oregon Medical Press, Princeton, Minnesota, US. ISBN 0-9648280-0-6.
  • John Boik: Natural Compounds in Cancer Therapy.
    2001, Oregon Medical Press, Minnesota, USA. ISBN 0-9648280-1-4.

If you want to get some knowledge about TCM, but keep your western herbalist bias:

  • Steven Foster + Yue Chongxi: Herbal Emissaries - bringing Chinese Herbs to the West.
    1992, Healing Arts Press, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-89281-349-0, list price USD 17.
    Very thorough description of Chinese plants (with growing instructions) for us Westerners. (I LIKE books with more than 2 pages per plant. These guys use about 6 pages per...)

... or the other way around:

  • Michael Tierra: Planetary Herbology - An Integration of Western Herbs into the Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Systems.
    Lotus Press, Santa Fe, NM, USA. ISBN 0-941524-27-2, list price USD 18.

6.1.2.1 Going for broke (and I wish you luck)


There's a very good series of books on how to turn a herb enthusiast into a cottage industry: the bootstrap guides. They're practical, down to earth, and they tell you not only what plants will sell but also what kind of American bureaucracies you need to look out for. They are:

  • Lee Sturdivant: Profits from your backyard herb garden
    1995, San Juan Naturals, PO Box 642, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, USA. ISBN 0-9621635-3-8, list price USD 11.
    Starting with a smallish herb garden, this book tells you what you need to know in order to sell fresh herbs to local restaurants and markets.
  • Lee Sturdivant and Tim Blakley: Medicinal Herbs in the Garden, Field and Marketplace
    1999, San Juan Naturals, PO Box 642, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, USA. ISBN 0-9621635-7-0, list price USD 25.
    The first half of the book gives a view into successful herb businesses, the second part tells you how to grow herbs for the bulk trade - machinery, techniques, hints and tips, and growing and picking specific plants. At the very end of the book you'll find contact information of some American tincture and tea makers, including what plants they need and how to approach them.
  • Lee Sturdivant: Herbs for sale
    1994, San Juan Naturals, PO Box 642, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, USA. ISBN 0-9621635-2-X, list price USD 15.
    Interesting views into diverse successful herb businesses.

Not in the same series, this one comes from the other side of the world:

  • Greg Whitten: Herbal Harvest
    Bloomings Books, The Stables, 21 Isabella Grove, Hawthorn Victoria, Australia 3122. ISBN 1876473045.
    Review by Rosemary Jones: Just got a copy from the publisher and it seems to answer most questions on the bulk processing of herbs for commercial use. How to build drying sheds and so on. The farming advice is geared towards Australia but could work elsewhere with some modification.

6.1.3 In-depth books, by organ system


  • Simon Y. Mills: The Essential Book of Herbal Medicine.
    1993, Arkana, Penguin Books, London, UK. First published under the title "Out of the Earth", by Viking Arkana 1991. ISBN 014-019309X. List price GBP 15.00, USD 17.
    Excellent in-depth information for the practitioner.
  • Daniel B. Mowrey: Herbal Tonic Therapies.
    1993, Keats Publishing Inc., New Canaan, Connecticut, USA. ISBN 0-87983-565-6, list price USD 15.
    Good information on the use of mild tonic herbs, organized by organ system.
  • David Hoffmann: The New Holistic Herbal
    1991 (3rd edition), Element Books Ltd, UK. ISBN 1-85230-193-7, list price 17 USD.
  • David Hoffmann: An Elders' Herbal - Natural Techniques for Promoting Health and Vitality
    1993, Healing Arts Press, Vermont. ISBN 0-89281-396-2, list price USD 18.
  • David Hoffmann: The Herbal Handbook: A user's guide to medical herbalism.
    1988, Healing Arts Press. ISBN 0-89281-782-8, list price 15 USD.
    I don't think it really matters which of David's books you get - they seem quite similar, one and all. So go for the newest, or the cheapest, or the prettiest cover picture - but don't go out and buy them all.
    An online Materia Medica, by Hoffmann: http://www.healthy.net/clinic/therapy/herbal/herbic/herbs/index.html . Therapeutics to go with that: http://www.healthy.net/clinic/therapy/herbal/prevent/body/index.html . - The healthy.net site is spamming everybody and their uncle. Whatever you do, don't give them your email address; if you do, they'll spam you forever and ever.
    He's also made a good herbal CD-ROM. Review here: section 6.5.4.
  • Priest & Priest: Herbal Medication, A Clinical and Dispensary Handbook.
    1982, L.N.Fowler & Co. Ltd., Essex, UK. ISBN 01-85243-368-9.
    Great notes for the herbal practitioner.

So you're a mainstream medical professional with an interest in herbs? Try these:

  • Rudolf Fritz Weiss, MD: Herbal Medicine.
    the original: 1988. AB Arcanum, Gothenburg, Sweden / Beaconsfield Publishers, Beaconsfield, UK. ISBN 0-906584-19-1. Expensive.
    the unchanged reprint: Herbal Medicine - Classic Edition.
    2001, Thieme Medical Publishers. ISBN 158890069X. Expensive.
    Translated from the sixth German edition of Lehrbuch der Phytotherapie. Written by one of -the- experts on herbal medicine in Germany, it's a gem for practising herbalists and MDs interested in herbs. Don't buy the "updated" version with Fintelmann, stay with the original from 1988 or the reprint ("Classic edition") from 2001.
  • Francis Brinker: Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. 2. edition.
    1998. Eclectic Medical Publications. ISBN 1888483067, USD 20.
    It's just what it says on the title, and it's written by a ND who works with herbs. What more can I say? Buy it.
  • Steven G. Ottariano: Medicinal Herbal Therapy.
    1999, Nicolin Fields Publishing, Portsmouth, NH, USA. ISBN 0-9637077-6-0, list price USD 15.
    A pretty good summary for the MD or pharmacist who wants to know more about herbs.
  • Simon Mills, Kerry Bone: Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy - Modern Herbal Medicine.
    448 pages, 9.96 x 7.75". Churchill Livingstone, Nov 1999. ISBN 0443060169. List price USD 83.
    From Robyn Foley, Oct04:
    "Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy" appears to be a very good text for those who want to learn about the clinical and pharmacological studies conducted to date for the herbs they prescribe. This is a text for teaching, which is embedded with clinical application, but that is not the main focus of the text. This book may not be for someone who is not interested in scientific backup for their prescriptions.

6.1.4 Chinese herbs, or TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)


A reader has checked my TCM section (many thanks!). Her comments are marked "AC":

  • Dan Bensky, Andrew Amble, Ted Kaptchuk: Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica, 2nd edition.
    1993, Eastland Press, Inc., Seattle, WA. ISBN 0939616157.
    The standard Materia Medica for western-trained TCM practitioners.
    AC Jan05: This info is from the old 1st edition of their MM. It was at that time the standard. They have a new 2nd edition, that I personally don't like as well, but that may be personal choice and I don't know if Bensky is still the standard with TCM schools and the NCCAOM (testing body) or not.
  • John K. Chen and Tina T. Chen: Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology.
    Art of Medicine Press (http://www.aompress.com) ISBN: 0-9740635-0-9.
    AC Jan05: An absolutely fantastic Materia Medica that may have supplanted Bensky. There was some controversy when this book first came out last year about the traditional functions (from TCM) in this vs Bensky vs the old classics, and some about the animal studies (vs human studies) he cites. I don't know the resolution of that controversy but I expect it really depends on who you talk with, and especially the political camp to which they belong (so called "evidence based medicine" vs the vitalists (to borrow a term from the Western tradition of energy medicine))
  • Dan Bensky, Andall Barolet: Chinese Herbal Medicine Formulas & Strategies, 1st. edition.
    1990, Eastland Press, Inc., Seattle, WA. ISBN 0939616106.
    The companion Formulary.
    AC Jan05: Still the standard as far as I know.
  • Roger Wicke: TCHS vol. 1, The Language and Patterns of Life, USD 55.
  • Roger Wicke: TCHS vol. 2, Herbs, Strategies and Case Studies, USD 55.
    These are the two major textbooks for the Rocky Mountain Herbal Institute's Chinese herbology course.
    While Roger, in these books, tries to integrate western physiological understanding of TCM theory where possible, the major focus is on using Chinese herbs according to the traditional TCM clinical rules (any other way simply doesn't work as well, as verified by clinical studies in several countries).
    AC Jan05: Roger Wicke's program has really been updated. He has done some wonderful things with software and now has both the books and all his data arranged into a distance learning CD that's really incredible.

TCM for beginners:

  • Michael Tierra: The Way of Chinese Herbs.
    1998, Pocket, ISBN 0671898698, list price USD 18.
    AC Jan05: It's quite good and readable as far as it goes. It's a great consumer-level or even dabbler-level book.
  • Zhang Yu Huan, Ken Rose: Who Can Ride the Dragon?
    1999, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0912111593, list price USD 20.
    AC Jan05: I wish I had read this at the beginning of my schooling. I would recommend it to all folks interested in TCM for any reason (medicine, martial arts, etc.).
  • Harriet Beinfield, Efrem Korngold: Between Heaven and Earth.
    1992, Ballantine Books, ISBN 0345379748, list price USD 16.
    AC Jan05: I like it, but it's largely Five Element theory, and many of the evidence-based medicine folks don't like that.
  • Donald E Kendall: Dao of Chinese Medicine, Understanding an Ancient Healing Art.
    2002, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0195921046, list price USD 50.
    AC Jan05: A deeper exploration of TCM theory and philosophy, although not really a textbook. I like it, but it, too, has its detractors and controversy.
  • Ted Kaptchuk: The Web that has no Weaver.
    2000, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0809228408, list price USD 22.
    AC Jan05: I hear the 2nd, updated printing is much improved, but the 1st edition is really dry, dry, DRY, and not all that good.


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