Physicians' Desk Reference PDR for Herbal Medicine

PDR for Herbal Medicines (Third Edition)

See also:  CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 88th Edition (Crc Handbook of Chemistry and Physics)



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Interest in and usage of herbal preparations as alternatives to pharmaceuticals has exploded in recent years. Having a complete herbal reference on hand is now absolutely necessary for doctors and other healers when a patient wants to add herbs--let's say St. John's wort--to his drug regimen. Should the patient stop taking the Paxil he's been on for depression, and if so, how long must he wait before he can start taking the St. Johns wort, and what's the recommended dosage?

The PDR for Herbal Medicines will go a long way towards answering such questions. The physician in this case would learn, after consulting the PDR, that "St. John's wort taken concomitantly with an SSRI ... may lead to an increased effect and possible toxicity 'serotonin syndrome', e.g., sweating, tremor, flushing, confusion and agitation." The same physician will also learn that the German Federal Health Authority's Commission E, which has studied the effects of hundreds of herbs, approved St. John's wort for depressive moods, among other conditions.

For more information, the physician can read about the trade names, descriptions of all the medicinal parts of the plant, actions and pharmacology (including the compounds and their effects, with citations), the results of clinical trials, contraindications, precautions and adverse reactions (photosensitization is a biggie for St. John's wort), dosage information, and a complete list of literature citations.

The second edition of this mammoth guide includes over 100 entries more than the first, bringing the total to more than 700. Additions include a selection of Asian herbs, such as Buplerum Chinese (also known as Chinese thoroughwax), which is used in Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, and homeopathic preparations; a directory of manufacturers (with Internet addresses when available), a safety guide (don't use kava kava while nursing), and more. There's even a section that lists unproven uses for each herb. But make no mistake: this is a mainstream reference that relies on scientific proof above all. Therefore, this is not a guide for everyone, but for scientific and medical reference, it's a helpful and comprehensive resource, and even those who push the herbal envelope will find much valuable information here. --Stefanie Durbin

From Publishers Weekly
Known for their reference manuals (Physicians' Desk Reference; PDR Medical Dictionary; PDR for Nonprescription Drugs and Dietary Supplements) that have been indispensable to the medical world, PDR has compiled a list of extensive explanations of more than 600 herbal medications available. Addressing the influx of natural supplements into mainstream supermarkets, PDR intends to educate consumers and assist them in choosing the best herbs to treat an ailment or simply to help maintain a healthy life. Arranged by the herb's Latin name (cross-referenced by common name), each herbal entry contains pertinent information: description, physical properties, intended usage and expected effects, precautions and adverse reactions, recommended dosage and references for additional reading. To assist in identifying these supplements, the editors have included color photos of many of these herbs as they exist naturally. The indexes are also helpful; one lists both the scientific and common name of each herb and the other lists ailments such as acne, cardiovascular disease, migraines and rhinitis, and the herbs recommended for treatment. This manual could well become a standard guide for those on the road to self-medication.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal
This comprehensive resource on herbal medicine, in the tradition of the PDRR series, will be a welcome addition to most collections. Over 600 botanical remedies are described in great detail, including: scientific/common names; pharmacological effects; indications and contraindications; adverse reactions and modes of administration; and a most impressive list of literature citations incorporating the latest Commission E findings. The section of full-color photos of hundreds of herbs is a useful tool. (LJ 3/1/99)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Book News, Inc.
Brings together the latest scientific data on the medicinal use of herbs, based on work conducted by the German Federal Health Authority's Commission E. Covers some 700 botanicals, including a wide selection of Chinese herbs. Each entry gives a botanical overview, describes actions and pharmacology, and discusses indications and usage in Western, Chinese, and Indian medicine, as well as homeopathic medicine and unproven uses. Entries also contain bibliographies of technical literature. Includes therapeutic, Asian, homeopathic, and side effect appendices, plus a safety guide, herb and product identification guides, and a manufacturer index. This second edition provides new information reflecting the latest findings and clinical trials, with more material on herb/drug interaction, precautions, contraindications, adverse reactions, and dosage.Book News, Inc.®, Portland, OR

Book Info
Reference listing herbal medicines in use today. Gives names, description, actions and pharmacology, indications, contraindications, usage, overdosages, dosages, and literature. Includes new indices, available formulations, and more research and adverse effects. Color insert is also included. For clinicians. Added to Brandon-Hill Medical List in April 2001.

Excerpted from PDR for Herbal Medicines (Physician's Desk Reference (Pdr) for Herbal Medicines) by Medical Economics Staff, Joerg Gruenwald. Copyright © 2004. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Foreword to PDR for Herbal Medicines, 3rd edition

Herbal medicines are preparations derived from naturally occurring plants with medicinal or preventive properties. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4 billion people, amounting to 80 percent of the world’s population, use herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care. Herbal medicine is a major component in all indigenous peoples’ traditional medicine and a common element in Ayurvedic, homeopathic, naturopathic, traditional oriental, and Native American Indian medicine. The foods early humans ate contained thousands of phytochemicals, and through modern science we are also recognizing some of these as functional foods (e.g., green tea and soy). Many spices such as garlic and curcumin have medicinal properties in addition to their roles in flavoring foods. Today, we are rediscovering the utility of herbal medicines as botanical dietary supplements with potentially important preventive and medicinal effects. However, when patients talk about using herbal medicines, primary care physicians often lack the knowledge to provide intelligent advice on their use or misuse. This book is designed to fill that knowledge gap.


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Herbs contain families of related compounds that interact, and the sum of biological effects of these compounds is often greater than the so-called "major active ingredient" in the herb or plant. For many herbal medicines, these families of compounds contribute to overall biological benefit by acting on several different targets simultaneously. For example, lycopene in a tomato plant is a potent antioxidant but also has effects in prostate cells on DNA and cellular communication. Recent research in animals demonstrated that isolated and purified lycopene did not have the same preventive activity against prostate cancer as tomato paste, which contains the plant’s full complement of related phytochemicals including lycopene, phytoene, and phytofluene. Since toxicity is often related to the dose of the single most active constituent, the contributions of other analogs of the parent compound, or even unrelated compounds, to the biologically effective dose can lessen the risk of toxicity.

Today, the overall intake of natural foods and herbs has declined with the era of industrialization, which has filled our diets with what I call modern "white and beige" processed foods. For example, 25 percent of all vegetables eaten in America are French fries, and the traditional spices of Americans are ketchup and mustard. Without diversity in our diets, we have lost the benefits of herbals and plant foods. These benefits cannot always be addressed by pharmaceutical drugs.

Rather than concentrating on the isolation of chemicals from herbs and plants in order to develop drugs, the focus of modern research on herbal medicines and botanical dietary supplements is the establishment of a sufficient science base to support definitive clinical trials. Modern research techniques would include detailed phytochemical profiling using mass spectrometry, biological assays including gene expression analysis, and transgenic animal models of chronic disease. Also needed are toxicology and pharmacokinetic studies in animals and humans. In fact, entire armamentarium of modern medical research can be brought to bear on these ancient herbal medicines to advance their use in modern times. Current problems with manufacturing, processing, contamination, and quality of botanical sources are all potentially soluble with adequate resources and talent over the next several decades.

In view of their preventive benefits and potential lack of toxicity when properly used, I view these botanicals as the medicines of the 21st century and predict they will ultimately be used for the prevention and treatment of many modern chronic diseases of aging. For anyone interested in current information on botanicals for preventive or medicinal purposes, this is an excellent reference book. It contains more than 700 monographs completely updated with newly recognized interactions. Another useful feature is the identification guide, which has clearly labeled, full-color photographs of medicinal plants. You’ll also find a new section on the most popular nutritional supplements, and information on the clinical management of interactions. Each monograph contains the common names of herbs followed by its official scientific name. A complete description of the herb is provided, including its medicinal parts (e.g., flower and fruit) and its unique characteristics. Additional common names and synonyms as well as a detailed summary of the active compounds are given. For each herb, indications and usage are given under any of five applicable categories: Commission E Approved; Chinese Medicine; Indian Medicine; Homeopathic; or Unproven. This reference is a great starting point for researchers interested in advancing the field or for practitioners who want a concise, accurate, and accessible reference on botanical medicines.

David Heber, MD, PhD, FACP, FACN
Professor of Medicine and Public Health
Director, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition
and UCLA Botanical Research Center
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Product Description:
New, Expanded, Improved, Comprehensive

Building on its best-selling predecessors, the new PDR for Herbal Medicines, Third Edition has left no resource unturned to bring together the latest scientific data in the most comprehensive herbal reference compiled.

The third edition goes far beyond the original source, adding a new section on Nutritional Supplements and new information aimed at greatly enhancing patient management by medical practitioners. All monographs have been updated to include recent scientific findings on efficacy, safety and potential interactions; clinical trials (including abstracts); case reports; and meta-analysis results. This new information has resulted in greatly expanded Effects, Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions, and Dosage sections of each monograph.

>Indexed by common name
>Asian, Indian and Homeopathic Herbs Index
>Safety Guide
>Daily dosage information for unprocessed herbs and commercially available brand name products >Manufacturers' Index, including name, address, contact information and product list
>Trade names of available products added to each monograph
>Expanded Drug/Herb Interaction Guide
>Therapeutic Category Index
>Clinical Management of Interactions

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