Book Review – Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy

People often ask me what herbal (also known as phytotherapy) books I recommend that have a scientific backing to them. Well this is definitely one of them.

Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy by Simon Mills and Kerry Bone.

While it doesn’t cover an exhaustive list of western medicinal plants, it does cover 44 of some of the more popular ones. Including their traditional use and scientifically backed uses. It also provides doses, side effects and more. Some of the plants it covers include Arnica flowers, Black Cohosh, Chamomile, Echinacea, Ginger, and Turmeric. The monographs about all these plants take up almost two thirds of the book.

I particularly like the section that explains some of the chemical constituents of plants, including why, and how, many of them work in the body, including bitters, saponins, cardiac glycosides, etc. This can be very helpful in ferreting out how an unfamiliar plant might work when all you have is a list of the constituents it contains.

Another helpful section it contains is the “Herbal approaches to system dysfunctions” where it provides a number of case histories and the approach that was used to promote health, including how long it took for improvement to be seen.

It comes with a serious price tag, but this isn’t the typical home remedy book you may have seen on store shelves. This is a book for the serious herbalist… and I understand they are coming out with a new edition soon.

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