Tyler's Herbs of Choice Tyler, Varro E. and Robbers, James E., 1999 Edition. ISBN 0-7890-0159-4 (hard US $39.96) ISBN 0-7890-0160-8 (soft US$19.95) 287 pages with Index. Tyler's Honest Herbal Tyler, Varro E. and Foster, Stephen, 1999 Edition. ISBN 0-780-0705-3 (hard US $49.95) ISBN 0-7890-0875-0 (soft US$24.95) 442 pages with Index. The Haworth Herbal Press, 10 Alice Street, Binghamton, NY 1390-1580.—These books are the best introductions to herbal medicine published in this country. Dr. Tyler's profound knowledge of botanical medicine is present in every sentence. Not a single word is wasted. Any botanist wishing to understand scientific herbal usage will find in these two books a complete mini-course.
The Honest Herbal, subtitled "A Sensible Guide to the Use of Herbs and Related Remedies" is directed toward the ordinary user of herbs. It has more than a hundred short monographs on the most commonly used herbs. Each monograph has accessible References. The herbs are listed under their Common Names of Commerce but complete Botanical Names are given in each monograph and in the Index. Old wives' tales are laid to rest and scientific uses are described.
Herbs of Choice, subtitled "The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals," is directed toward the medical professional who knows little about botanicals. Each chapter discusses herbs commonly used by the general public to treat a specific class of illness. Some uses are dismissed as ineffective. Others are discussed at length. Contraindications and possible side effects are carefully noted. There are numerous Reference Notes.
As a phytotoxicologist I hope that every person interested in herbs will read and reread "Pros and Cons" and "Rules and Regulations" in the Herbal and the first two chapters of Herbs of Choice very carefully. Herbal preparations in this country are completely unregulated and no manufacturing standards are enforced. Many products are merely worthless, but some are dangerous. These two books are excellent guides. There are innumerable herbal concoctions on sale that are not mentioned in these books. No one should ingest them.
My only criticism is the dismissal, in both books, of homeopathic remedies as mere placebos. Many recent scientific studies have shown these preparations can be effective medications. I have seen adverse reactions in which the only possible cause was a homeopathic herbal. The symptoms matched those to be expected from the plant material listed on the bottle. Since there is widespread use of these materials all users should be aware that adverse reactions are possible.—Sarah Delle Hultmark <email@example.com>