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by Dr. Jill Stansbury, ND
This is the second of a five volume set of herbal formularies, this one focusing on respiration and circulation. It starts with an introduction about honoring traditional knowledge, remembering that modern pharmacology came out of folkloric herbal medicine and most medicines are still refined from the same plants our ancestors used in raw form.
The book is well presented and reads like a serious book on medicine rather than the sort of airy-fairy new age stuff you often see about herbalism. There are three chapters within 184 pages of fascinating information, partially laid out in encyclopedic form. The first chapter is The Art of Herbal Formulation. This covers diagnosis, symptoms, and basically how to determine what herbs to use for a problem.
There is preventative advice like how to support vitality instead of opposing disease. The second chapter goes into creating formulas for the circulatory system. This includes what nutrients will support various biological processes and parts of the system. Some of the information like using cardio glycosides makes me think that a doctor's advice would be needed rather than self-treatment, but as a reference volume for someone in the medical profession it would be brilliant.
The drawing of various herbal plants add visual interest and are very well done. A lot of the herbal names are full Latin rather than common names, though the common names are included in the encyclopedic lists, so this is a book for serious study. Even if it gives me mental images of shelves lined with arcane bottles and a wisened old man with a long beard as apothocary!
The third chapter is on formulas for respiratory conditions. Like the second chapter, it explains the processes and follows with an encyclopedic list of relevant herbs. There is an appendix to compare scientific names to common names followed by another one to translate the common names to the Latin, then a glossary of therapeutic terms.
Unlike a lot of reference books, I think this one would be worth reading all through to familiarize the reader with the material, after which it would sit well on the shelf of a medical reference library. Someone with a formal medical education would probably already be familiar with most of the terms, but I found it all rather interesting.