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Power HerbsReview - Power Herbs
A Practical Guide to 50 Healing Herbs from the East & West
by Louis J. Vanrenen
J. P. Tarcher, 2000
Review by Susan Wingate
Jan 31st 2001 (Volume 5, Issue 5)

Power Herbs takes you into the realm of history, traditionalism and current use of some of the most effective herbs known to humankind. Vanrenen gives both Eastern and Western perspectives of the medicinal properties of specific plants. He provides a guide in which to make use of identified herbs for one's overall health and welfare. The lay person can learn to work with herbs in their various preparations for the every ailment from basic stress to cold remedies to health maintenance of the whole body system. This book answers the basic "how to, when and what for" questions most asked of the healers and/or doctors of both the Eastern and Western medical philosophies.

This is truly one of the most interesting herbal books I have read to date. I especially enjoyed the historical perspective given, to include the timelines and identified individuals directly or indirectly responsible for the ongoing use or disuse of a particular herb. I appreciate the time and energy it must have taken to trace the practice of the use of herbs in both the East and West. His ability to blend the histories is remarkable. He certainly gives validity for the need to continue building a bridge between the two disciplines. His supportive nature of both of these disciplines creates and promotes his concept of "balance" that is needed in the healing process of mind and body.

Having studied herbs in an internship capacity, I recognize and agree with the information provided in this book. The overall presentation and practical nature of this easy-to-read book makes a wonderful addition to any home reference library. The concept of "mind and body" health approach is both common sense and necessary.

Mr. Vanrenen presents the concept of "living energy" in both the human body and plants. I would have liked to seen more discussion in this area. The concept of a plant having "living energy" is not one easily grasped by someone with a traditional scientific world view. The word "energy" itself is so illusive in nature as well as intangible just in conversation, that I could see this one issue being an ongoing argument between the Eastern and Western healing practices. The irony and debate of intuition (East) and science (Western) continue, when in fact each is a complement and sometimes-necessary component of each other.

I will not hesitate to recommend, even encourage others to read this book. I especially would recommend it to the most skeptical, for its historical value if nothing else. I also think that this is a very important reference guide for those that are currently using herbs and for those considering their use.

Susan Wingate is currently working in personnel management at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She has worked for twelve years as a chemical dependency counselor for adolescents, as well as having worked with survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Her passion is to be a vehicle for creating awareness for self and others.


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