Book Review: Herbal Medicines, Third Edition (2008)

September 18, 2007


  • Joanne Barnes, BPharm, PhD;
  • Linda A. Anderson, BPharm, PhD, FRPharmS
  • J. David Phillipson, DSc, PhD, BSc(Pharm), FRPharmS, FLS.

Publisher: Pharmaceutical Press
ISBN: 978-0-85369-623-0
Publication date: August 2007
Reviewed by: Stephen Barrett, M.D.

This beautifully written 720-page guide is intended primarily for health professionals, but its main points are understandable by laypersons. The heart of the book is its 152 monographs that cover identifying features, constituents, food use, herbal use, dosage, pharmacological action, adverse effects, contraindications, warnings, references, and comments that reflect the authors’ analysis and advice. Other portions of the book deal with regulatory controls (primarily in the United Kingdom and Europe), quality issues, and safety.

The authors note:

Despite the growing popularity of herbal medicines world-wide, there is a dearth of scientific evidence of efficacy for most herbal medicines. Indeed, many of the herbs used medicinally in Europe have a traditional reputation for their uses, but there is little scientific documentation of their active constituents, pharmacological actions, or clinical efficacy.

The authors discuss why standardization is difficult and adulteration is not uncommon. They also note that the quality of herbal products continues to be a “major concern.” Nevertheless, they have done their best to for reporting suspected adverse reactions to the British Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Herbal Medicines is available in book form and as a searchable CD-ROM that will be updated annually.

How to Order

The list prices are US$150 for the book, US$150 for the CD-ROM, and US$199.95 for the book/CD package. Prepaid orders accompanied by our order form receive a 5% discount and have no additional charge for postage. Applicable sales tax will be added.

This report was posted on September 18, 2007.