Herbs and Natural Supplements

Herbs and Natural Supplements: An evidence based guide 2010 (3rd edition)

Braun, Lesley. Cohen, Marc.
Churchill Livingstone Chatswood Australia ISBN 9780729539104

Herbs and Natural SupplementsThis long awaited third edition lives up to expectations and is the quintessential Australian guide to evidence based herbs and natural supplements.

This text is essential for practitioners, manufacturers and students interested in integrative medicine.

Bigger than the second edition, all 1221 pages are jam packed with quality information that is a feast for the reader. Instead of the CD that went with the second edition, this one has internet access which will make your research easier and provide effective information very quickly, saving you carrying this mammoth text around.

The book is divided into four organised sections, starting with a basic introduction to complementary medicine and moving specifically to herbal medicine, clinical nutrition, aromatherapy and food as medicine.

The second section focuses on the emerging trend of integrative medicine , clinical practice, and benefit versus risk assessment. This section covers safety of herbs, drug interactions, and specific chapters on safety in pregnancy, before surgery and for people undertaking treatments for cancer.

The third section is the largest with 130 evidence based reviews of some of the most popular herbs and supplements available over the counter. This is a wonderful collaboration of peer reviewed literature, exhaustive reviews by the authors and a full update and expansion of herbs and supplements covered in previous editions. Common names, chemical components, main actions, clinical uses, dosage range and safety issues are included for each herbal medicine. For nutritional supplements , background information and pharmacokinetics, food sources, deficiency signs and symptoms and the new Australian and New Zealand recommended daily intakes are included. This section is of course, technical and aimed at readers who are proficient in understanding of herbal and nutritional supplements. However there is a summary in non technical terms called “Practice points and Patient Counseling” and answers key questions the patient may have to ask. A gorgeous historical note is added where appropriate and makes for very interesting reading. Occasionally the Authors have added a clinical note about a particular supplement to provide further information.

The fourth section is full of ready reference appendices with a table that outlines the possible interaction between the 130 complementary medicines reviewed and pharmaceutical drugs. This is another emerging area in Integrative medical practice and is a guide based on currently known information. There is a guide for safe use of complementary medicines in the preoperative period and a table of pharmacological action giving the herbs and nutrients that produce that action and the type of evidence available to support this.

This absolutely wonderful book also has a glossary of medical, research, integrative and complementary medicine terms and abbreviations, a list of Australian and New Zealand poisons information centers and their phone numbers, and the contact details for teaching institutions, complementary and integrative medicine associations and product manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand.

The work that has been produced through this combination of Authors with their expert team of peer reviewers has yet again produced what I consider the most important Integrative and Herbal medical text in Australian history. It certainly deserves celebration with a place on every Health professionals book shelf. I offer congratulations to all involved and can see this book being a global reference of quality and practicality.

Review by Dominique Finney