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Alternative Medicine Review

a Merger of Eclectic & Naturopathic Visions of Botanical Medicine

Complex Herbs—Complete Medicines: a Merger of Eclectic & Naturopathic Visions of Botanical Medicine

Steve Helms

Complex Herbs–Complete Medicines: A Merger of Eclectic & Naturopathic Visions of Botanical Medicine Francis Brinker, ND Eclectic Medicinal Publishing, 36350 SE Industrial Way, Sandy, Oregon 97055 ISBN 1-888483-12-1 Soft cover; 428 pgs. $24.95

Dr. Brinker is recognized as a leading researcher and historian of botanical medicine. Three of his books are in third editions, with Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions a pivotal resource to modern medicine. The thrust of Part One of Complex Herbs–Complete Medicines is choosing the most appropriate botanical product, whether whole herb, crude extract, or fraction. Discussing the distinctions of complex herbs down to the isolated phytochemicals, Brinker has liberally folded the historical research of such notables as Drs. King, Scutter, and Ellingwood with modern scientific knowledge. Often returning the reader’s locus to 200 years ago, Brinker relives how standardization has continued to be sought to facilitate a prompt curative effect. Detailed accounts of Panax ginseng, St. John’s wort, and others elaborate on this topic.

Part Two of the book, totaling 200 pages, details nine herbs elaborating uses and exacting dosages used. Herbs covered include the current popular herbs–Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal), Echinacea angustifolia (western echinacea), Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry), Cimicifuga racemosa (black cobosh). Echinacea purpurea (purple cone flower), Serenoa repens (saw palmettto), Piper methysticum (kava), Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s wort), and Silybum marianum (milk thistle).

This section is a great service to the clinician who is piecing together both historical and recent scientific data. Brinker clarifies many points of confusion that reside in the modern literature. For example, the use of Cimicifuga racemosa during pregnancy, and more specifically during childbirth, is clearly presented. Conjecture and inconsistencies are clarified and/or refuted throughout as Brinker blends, in modern language, the intended original context of past works with the substantiating current research.

Complex Herbs–Complete Medicines sifts through history and provides a sound reference for the practitioner looking for detail and clarity on a short list of common botanicals, while presenting a detailed analysis and history of available botanical preparations. Brinker, going beyond the scope of most botanical research, has continued to provide insight into the specific nature of botanical medicine.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Thorne Research Inc.

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