cloth, 415 p., $99.50
This is a serious study for students of medicinal plants, covering, despite the title, only 27 plants and relatives. Some are familiar, such as garlic, lemon grass, turmeric and pomegranate, and others are familiar only to students of exotica. The lay reader, while not the intended audience for this unrelentingly scientific treatise, will find much of interest here. The many folk uses around the world are often hope masquerading as help, but there is also an impressive register of laboratory studies, some of which have shown the efficacy of ancient folk remedies. The author, a researcher with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, believes that nature still has more benefits to confer on a mankind fascinated with synthetic molecules and genetic manipulation.
— John F. Swenson, Volunteer, Plant Information Office, Chicago Botanic Garden.