David Winston and Merrily Kuhn have written an excellent clinical manual on the use of herbs and supplements, in a convenient pocket format- no mean feat for a 540 page book! The book is a significant upgrade from the first edition with 16 new monographs and extensive updating of references and new research. 115 herbs and 14 nutritional supplements are presented in monographs which are both more detailed and more clinically informed than information found on web programs commonly available to doctors, herbalists or other medical personnel. Unlike most such books, the authors have many decades of experience using the herbs in clinical practice and thorough research backgrounds.
The monographs cover accurate identification, parts used, constituents and their actions, other known actions, nutritional ingredients, traditional uses, current uses and research, available forms, dosages and administration guidelines, pharmacokinetics, toxicity, side effects, contraindications, long term safety, use in pregnancy or lactation, drug/herb interactions and rationale (if known), special notes or uses and an extensive bibliography for each herb.
There are also a number of useful tables including herbs contraindicated in pregnancy, differentiated from those which require professional guidance; stimulant laxatives contraindicated in pregnancy (although the chart is also useful for those who wish to avoid laxative dependence), and herbs contraindicated during lactation. The table on conditions and possible therapies can be a useful reminder, although it cannot substitute for professional training in the use of herbal medicines.
One should not look to this book as a guide to the use of vitamin supplements- only 14 common supplements are listed. That is not the aim of this book. However despite its small size and lack of photographs, it is perhaps the best herbal materia medica currently available on western herbs.