8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2002
I didn't know what to expect when I picked up this book - the cover pulled me in. What I found was incredible! This book is an amazing blend of personal stories, poetry, and a deep analysis of the underlying reasons for the escalating human damage to the natural world. But the author doesn't stop there - he takes us even further, into solutions to the problems that face us as a species. He reveals the amazing language of plants - a language that human beings have always been able to tap into. And he shows how our modern emphasis on defining the world as a machine of interchangeable parts causes tremendous problems. The book explores how our machine analogy of the universe has led to the rise of pharmaceuticals in medicine and he explores, as I have seen nowhere else, the frightening impacts of pharmaceuticals in the environment - many of which exceed agrochemicals in quantity. He contrasts this with plant medicines - ecological medicines - and reveals how plants have been used for medicine for millennia - how plants can alter their chemistries based on the information they receive from their surroundings - how they maintain all the earth ecosystems. The book outlines many exercises to help restore the ability to understand plant language and ends with stories from four environmental activists who also hear and understand the language of plants: John Seed in Australia, Rosemary Gladstar in Vermont, Carol McGrath in British Columbia, and Sparrow in Ecuador. This book truly is poetry and medicine for the soul.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2002
Stephen Buhner asks us, "Have you ever tasted wild water?" This is the question of heart in his book. From his own life he tells of his experiences with the world around us; his taste of wild water. It is poetic and beautiful and makes one long for a similar experience.
He goes on to explain what we have done to our environment that has affected the wild waters, plants, animals and land. Even simple things such as taking an aspirin affects the world around us. He shows why it is important to realize that we must be in relationship with the earth/water around us.
Most importantly he explains how to attain that relationship. Simple things that anyone can do.
It is a beautiful, poetic book of great substance and heart.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2003
We are polluting the environment with pharmaceuticals developed to heal, and are losing the planet's natural healers and stabilizers in the process. In the The Lost Language Of Plants, Stephen Bohner sees plants as sentient beings adjusting to the environment: the discussion focuses on the importance of preserving plants which hold the key to healing both man and environment.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2002
This is a book you should read, and unlike many "should" reads, this one is a real pleasure. Stephen has taken on a huge task with this book, and almost tries to cover too much ground, but he pulls it off with style and art. Once you get past the wonderful language and the perceptive viewpoint you will stumble on a scathing and accurate depiction of what mainstream medicine is doing to the environment. It is a picture that makes "Silent Spring" seem tame in comparison, and the book as a whole will lift you up out of your chair and get you moving to find answers.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2002
Fascinating, informative and eye-opening, "The Lost Language of Plants" by Stephen Buhner shows us the life of evolving plant chemistries, revealing the science in the 'magic' of plants used as medicine by 4 of 5 people on the planet. A merciless exposé following the path of medical effluence through our soil, water, and air clearly illustrates effects on molecules as they change to affect generations to come... generations of all life: bacteria, plants, wildlife, and humans, as we reproduce. We have been participants in a medical experiment of reductionist technology for a few hundred years and the results are not widely known or circulated. Buhner's well-researched and brilliantly conceived presentation refutes any denial one may have harbored before reading this book.
Western thinking has its own way of seeing things and we live in the cradle of all that it produces. We see ourselves as an advanced society and display little use or respect for our elders, or those who have gone before us. Buhner's language unveils the illusion embedded within our language and our thinking, embodies ancient understanding and functional relationships, and reveals the complex communication between all parts of the eco-system. Stephen Buhner, as scientist, intellectual, storyteller and shaman, teaches us a language so that we may see differently. This is a passionate call to reconnect to our biocentric origins, to nature, to save our planet and ourselves.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2002
A Pharmaceutical Silent Spring
. . . is what the publisher calls Stephen Buhner's new book, and they're right: The Lost Language of Plants is a book that everyone needs to read. The USGS has just published a study about traceable quantities of commonly prescribed and over-the-counter drugs (not to mention bug sprays, soaps, lotions, and other personal care products) polluting the water. Researchers are still determining how these contaminants affect the environment, but it's clear that they are having a drastic impact on habitats and the health of humans and the planet alike. Stephen Buhner provides a more detailed synthesis of this data than I've been able to find in any other book. Our bodies do not absorb all the synthetic chemicals we pour into them, and we end up peeing drugs into our waterways. Buhner documents how hormones from birth control pills are altering the gender of fish; how chemotherapy drugs too toxic to be handled regularly get flushed into the regular sewage; how all kinds of bacteria are developing resistance faster than scientists can develop new antibiotics because of the loads of antibiotics fed to humans(and especially livestock) unnecessarily. This information is chilling, especially if, like me, you're moved to take a good look at your medicine cabinet. But medicine saves lives, right? We need it, don't we? Buhner questions this assumption. If we're going to solve America's legal drug problem, we're going to have to look at health and "cures" differently. Buhner suggests, with passionate conviction, that we start by trying to view ourselves as parts of our ecosystem, as equal partners in the health of the
planet with plants and animals. Earth evolved over millenia with plants serving as the chemical catalysts that kept ecosystems healthy and in balance. These same plants have served as medicines for people since the beginning of Homo sapiens as a species. It's only in the 20th century that Western science began to presume that humans could control, replicate, and synthesize the chemical properties of plants. It's time that we recognized that our knowledge is shallow and that to really learn how the earth works we need to listen to our elders--the plants--just as our ancestors once did, and as some surviving indigenous peoples do today. Buhner believes that it is possible for us to change our paradigm of how the world works, and
begins to point the way. The survival of the living world depends on our taking his advice.
on May 12, 2002
The Lost Language Of Plants: The Ecological Importance Of Plant Medicines To Life On Earth by educator and environmentalist Stephen Harrod Buhner is a scathing expose about the abuse of modern Western medicines, and the over-saturation of antibiotics, while the conventional medical community neglect the natural healing power of plants. Offering a way for humanity to relearn and better understand the nature language of growing things, The Lost Language Of Plants is a spiritual book of reinventing one's world view to foster a better world and a testament to the need for a return to our shamanic roots and a renewed respect for, and protection of, the environmental biodiversity. The Lost Language Of Plants is strongly recommended reading for environmental activists, students of alternative medicine, and the non-specialist general reader with an interest in how the natural medicines of plant life can foster our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.
on April 4, 2002
The Lost Language of Plants takes the reader on a journey from our innate and ancient connection with the living Earth to our disconnection from it and the ensuing wounds. Then in a coyote sort of way, Stephen Buhner brings us full circle and shows us a way to walk once again, within the circle of life;a part of it, not apart from it. He speaks to the heart of our separation not only from the plants who are our teachers and healers, but from ourselves and each other. Reading the Lost Language of Plants I sensed an ancient and wise place deep within my psyche, maybe even within my DNA, ache for the healing that renewing our relationship with the plants can bring. The truths revealed within the pages of this book are at once compelling and painful and hopeful. This is a must read for anyone who loves the Earth, loves the plants and is not afraid to think or to feel.
on April 5, 2002
I am deeply moved and inspired by the eloquence,the well thought out and researched information and the insights of The Lost Language of Plants. I find myself enthralled. The author writes intelligently and with obvious caring for the Earth. He takes us out of our normal, narrow perspective of the way life appears to be and gives a broader view of reality that gives hope. He offers solutions for the serious problems of the degradation of the Earth so that we don't just have to be shocked into awareness of the problem, but so we can do something about it, even in our daily lives. He teaches us about the ancient language of plants and how we, too, can learn it. I am thankful to find something so well-written about a subject that affects our lives, the lives of our children and their children and all of the life on the planet.
on June 4, 2002
I am halfway through this book and plan to start right over again when I'm finished. I think that this is one of the most fascinating things I have ever read. BUT, if you asked me what it is about I'd have a hard time explaining it. Yes, it is about how chemicals are seeping into the ecosystem, and how we might view plant medicine as an alternative etc, but it's about so much more than that. It's scientific and shamanistic at the same time, merging two ways of thinking into one. Really I should say, it explains one type of epistemology in the language of another. I really like it and it's changing my way of looking at the life around me. Also, my perception of God/spirituality etc. Check it out. PS. Mr Buhner thanks for such an interesting and thought provoking read! You are so right! KM