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National Geographic Desk Reference To Nature’s Medicine


Comprehensive, Fully Illustrated Resource on Plants That Soothe and Heal

WASHINGTON (March 30, 2006)--For thousands of years, humans have looked to nature for remedies for everything from minor aches and pains to serious illnesses. Throughout history, healers used plants to ease the symptoms of dozens of diseases. Today, as interest in medicinal plants is escalating and their use is on the rise -- in conventional and alternative ways -- the need for credible information on the topic is greater than ever.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DESK REFERENCE TO NATURE’S MEDICINE (National Geographic Books, ISBN 0-7922-3666-1, April 2006, $40) is based on the work of experts in the herbal medicine field and provides the general reader with the scientific facts, the folklore and the latest theories. The book examines such time-tested favorites as cinnamon, believed to improve circulation, and coneflower (Echinacea), a traditional Native-American remedy for the common cold.

Featuring 200 full-color photographs, 150 beautiful botanical drawings and 159 maps, this accessible chronicle explores healing traditions and practices worldwide -- from the Amazon rain forest, where shamans first summoned the power and curative magic of plants, to high-tech pharmaceutical labs, where pharmacologists and other scientists work to discover new plant-based drugs. Readers learn how aspirin evolved from a concoction of willow bark to the familiar white pill taken by millions today, how the foxglove’s bioactive ingredients became the potent heart drug digitalis, and how a wide variety of now common treatments developed.

Surprising facts abound: Catnip, famous as a feline stimulant, has an opposite sedative effect on humans; drinking tea began with a Chinese emperor 5,000 years ago; a derivative of sweet woodworm offers new hope for an antimalarial drug; the deadly belladonna earned its name as a beauty treatment for fashionable women in 16th-century Italy.

At once a practical resource, a browser’s delight and a tour of the herbal medicine world, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DESK REFERENCE TO NATURE’S MEDICINE will become well-thumbed at the library and dog-eared at home.


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