Medicinal Plants and Herbs

Medicinal Plants and Herbs
The Eastern / Central Medicinal Plants & Herbs book is in its second edition written by Steven Foster and James A Duke. This is a general information field guide that could be helpful to some. It covers over 500 medicinal plants and herb as well as trees and shrubs. It contains over 300 full color pictures of the included plants along with a brief description and common uses for the herbs. It also identifies the components of the plant that appear to be active in the healing process.

Plants are conveniently categorized by flower color, plant family, shrub, evergreen, tree and grasses. It includes an index to medical topics and an index to plants for quick location within the book. It is a convenient size to take along when exploring the wilderness or your own neighborhood.

As with most plant guide books they err on the side of caution sometimes overplaying the toxicity of some of the plants. But it is always best if in doubt of identification to avoid the plant altogether. Always, before consuming any part of any plant, contact a local plant expert for conformation of identity. Many plants have look-a-like or similarities that can be confusing. There are a few plants that possess powerful poisons and are deadly if consumed.

It is my opinion that as a plant guide book it should contain pictures of all of the plants instead of just 300 of the 500. It is hard to identify a plant from just a description. The pictures are small and one could not positively identify a plant solely using this book because not all parts of the plant can be viewed from a single perspective picture.

Although it does give information in general about the active components in a plant it doesn’t tell you when to harvest or any information on preparation for use. So even if you can identify the plant you couldn’t put it to use without further details not included in this book.

If you are interested in medicinal plants or foraging I would suggest joining a local plant expert, go on a herb walk to help familiarize yourself with the plants environment and the available medicinal plants and herbs in your area. No book can take the place of one on one contact with a guided walk to identify the plants first hand.

I purchased this book with my own finances and without any compensation from anyone. I think this book is valuable as a guide to help you know what generally grows in your area but for positively identifying medicinal plants and using them you’ll need another reference source.

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