David Hoffman's "The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal" is one of those rare books I keep nearby, as I'm constantly referring to it. Developed for the layman, Holistic Herbal provides sufficient overview of various herbal remedies to allow one to get their feet wet and feel competent while doing so. Part 1 of the book is a mere 16-page overview of the holistic concept - short, but if you weren't already sold on it, you wouldn't be reading the book, would you? Part 2 covers the practical aspects of herbalism, including the collection and preparation of the various herbs. This is one the areas where the work shines through, as Hoffman's descriptions and photographic accompaniments clearly and succinctly illustrate the process of making not only infusions, tinctures and decoctions, but also capsules, lozenges and suppositories. The latter part of this section also familiarizes the reader with the technical terms associated with herbalism, from abortifacients to vulneraries, in clear layman's terms. Part 3 begins the herbal itself, and its clearly expounded sections will have you referring back to it often. Each page has one to two herbs, with a photograph of the herb in question, a description of the parts used and their preparation, dosages and possible combinations with other herbs for varied therapeutic effects. Seemingly in recognition that this information could overwhelm the layman, Hoffman outlines on page 49 a home herbal medicine chest, with around 30 basic herbs as well as the (minor) equipment one will need in order to make use of them. The therapeutic index which lists the various ailments and their herbal remedies also emphasizes several herbal remedies within each category that are particularly efficacious for the ailment in question.