Herbal medicine is as old as humankind and has been used universally throughout civilization. Yet, in the West since the Middle Ages it has passed through several cycles of ascendancy and decline. During its recent decline in favor of synthesized chemical medicines, the skills on which botanical medicine were based--the observation of patients hour by hour, day by day--was trivialized as ``anecdotal" and disparaged as lacking scientific merit. Diagnosis and treatment became microscopic search and destroy missions, where specific disease agents were sought with specific tests so that they could be attacked by magic bullets of biochemical origin. Today, however, people have become aware of the limited resolving power of a solely analytical and microscopic view. Macroscopic observation--touching, listening, questioning--are once again credible. Botanical Medicine is a book for this era. It describes the main paradigms for the professional administration of herbs based on naked--sense observation, using the model of yin-yang and the five phases from Chinese traditional medicine, the model of the terrain medicines of French phytotherapy, as well as modern adaptations in physician-based European practice.
The book is complete and self-contained. It begins with an explanation of the ideas and models, extends to theoretical and practical application, and concludes with detailed profiles of a large repertory of herbs. The information required for application of each of the main therapeutic approaches is presented in a large section of herbal profiles. Each profile contains information regarding the herb's botany, chemistry, and history, as well as its applications and indications. The information required for the professional practice of botanical medicine as it is used in Europe, is emphasized in particular, French phytotherapy.