Pros: Thorough list of ailments new and old, suggestions for the healthy and the well, well-thought-out and neatly organized; simple to use
Cons: Some advice lacks scientific support, "prescriptions" could use more details -- too simple to use
When I hit upon this book, it was a little-known work collecting dust on a health food store shelf in the hippie paradise of Vancouver Island. Now in its second edition, it's a six hundred page work so popular it's sold in mainstream American pharmacies.
I'm not entirely sure why it's gone mainstream, since it's anything but. The advice is thoughtful, extensive and if not scientific at least researched in...some form, but it's more alternative than the average "General Nutrition Center" store. There are hundreds of disorders (Abscesses to Xerophthalmia) listed, and wheatgrass juice is a more common remedy than Aspirin for all of them.
There is a decent dictionary of herbs, vitamins and other supplements; while fairly complete, the descriptions aren't extensive and it serves as a good complement to the book but doesn't hold ground as an encyclopaedia in itself (see the review on "The Honest Herbal" by Varro Tyler -- it would be a suitable fill-in). There is also a shorter list of alternative therapies, which should probably be overlooked -- the treatments in question are too experiemental -- not a bad thing in itself, but they aren't described in sufficient detail.
The meat is the Abscess-Xeropthalmia index of ailments. They're all neatly organized: a description of the problem is followed by nutritional recommendations, herbal remedies, general recommendations, and other considerations. There are a few bits of out-and-out quackery, but most of the advice is sound nutritional recommendations and supplement advice. No matter how much of a skeptic you might be with anything falling under the "alternative" banner, it isn't going to hurt anybody, healthy or well, to eat more raw vegetables.
The authors' credentials are sound (a medical doctor and a certified nutritional consultant), and at bare minimum it's a useful index of problems even for those who know wheatgrass juice tastes as good as it sounds like it might: its encyclopaedic nature makes it a tidy reference work just for looking up the severity of various diseases. And if you want to skip the doctor, or just help him, this book is a good starting point.
"Starting point" is key, though. Look up your particular neuroses and illnesses, but consult other sources before blindly following these particular "prescriptions for nutritional healing." I still have to give it a four out of five, though -- this is often the first health book I reach for, despite the shortcomings.
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About the reviewer
K. Mennie (kmennie)
Oct 27, 2010
Nov 23, 2010 02:45 PM UTC
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In this authoritative reference, a medical doctor teams up with a certified nutritionist to provide information about the healing powers of specific foods, vitamin supplements, herbal remedies, and alternative therapies. It includes an alphabetical reference to treating over 300 health conditions, including AIDS, yeast infections, and infertility.