Kathleen Keeler kkeeler at unlserve.unl.edu
Tue Sep 12 06:45:13 PDT 2000


   I don't own the second ed., I merely leafed through it in a healthfood
store.  The first edition was a solid reference to what is known by western
science about herb chemistry and interactions.  But its botany was scary: it
used the Latin names incorrectly: if they can't use scientific names right,
what else do they have wrong?  That is what I saw corrected, and I hope that it
follows that other things are also better.

The first edition was not very sensitive to the issue that plants have many
common names.  Their choice of common name often drew a blank with me.

They had _Ipomoea_ species as jalap--the plant pictured would leap out to
anyone as "morning glory"--Jalap I think applies to a few _Ipomoea_ species in
Central America.

They have _Iris_ species for orris root.  And in the discussion list the
species as _Iris germanica_ and _I. versicolor_ down below, and "indigenous to
southern Europe."  I have never had the courage to play with iris as a
medicinal in the SCA because I am not confident I can tell these two European
irises from Asian or American species which my sources indicated as quite
toxic.  The PDR first ed. says nothing about that issue at all.  Can anyone
update me?  Can you substitute sweet flags and Japanese iris for Florentine

They have _Tsuga Canadensis_ as the Latin header and "Pinus Bark" as the common
name and I'd say the pictures are hemlock cones.  By the time you get into the
entry, they have "Hemlock Bark, Canada Pitch and Hemlock Gum" as synonyms.
Pines are just not the same as hemlocks.

So my take on the first edition was that IF you were sure of genus and species,
the info was great, since they will have searched the medical research
literature based on scientific names.  (I hope).  If you were trying to match a
plant for which you had only a common name or no name, you could get in some
That's what is improving.  I would like to buy it but haven't yet.

Beware similar problems in the Period literature.  Dioscorides has recipes for
pine apples, what he means are pine cones.


PS Rauthulfr, I remember owing you an essay on nomenclature.  As the world
settles down a bit, I'll check the details I need to get it exactly right, and
get it done.
I'm currently serving as territorial baroness and my herbal progress is
stunted.  But I teach Economic Botany (my hobby becomes my work!) next
semester, and so very soon useful plant research is a priority.

kkeeler1 at unl.edu

Gaylin J. Walli wrote:

> Agnes wrote:
> >PDR for Herbal Medicines you mean?  2nd ed.
> Yes, that's it.
> >Its new this summer so it'll be a while.
> >Its much improved over the 1st ed.
> What would you say are the biggest improvements between
> the 1st edition and the 2nd edition?
> Thanks for the help,
> Iasmin de Cordoba, gwalli at ptc.com or iasmin at home.com
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