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Clinical Naturopathic Medicine.

Clinical Naturopathic Medicine

By Leah Hechtman

Elsevier Australia 2011

ISBN 978 0 729 53885 5


Weighing in at nearly 1600 pages Clinical Naturopathic Medicine makes a substantial contribution to the genre of contemporary CAM texts that integrate holistic traditional approaches with evidence based practice. Well known naturopath Dr Joseph Pizzorno describes this book as an outstanding one that "will have a profound impact on improving the clinical quality and efficacy of our profession". Does it live up to this high praise?

Lead author, Leah Hechtman, is Vice President of the National Herbalists Association of Australia as well as a university lecturer and experienced naturopath. She has assembled an impressive team of experienced practitioners and academics to collaborate on this comprehensive text.

The structure of the book is logical and easy to follow. It is divided into 5 parts and focuses on the key naturopathic treatments of nutritional medicine, herbal medicine and lifestyle recommendations

Part 1, Principles of Naturopathic Medicine, consists of 4 chapters covering the philosophy of naturopathy, the principles of nutritional medicine, the principles of herbal medicine and an introduction to herb/nutrient drug interactions. Included in this section is a description of the historical highlights that have shaped the profession. There is also an interesting review of the current position of naturopathy within the Australian healthcare system.

Part 2, Naturopathic Treatments, provides an overview of the key practices of nutritional medicine and herbal medicine. Whilst the nutritional medicine chapter briefly mentions food and diet the focus is on supplementation. Perhaps a section on fresh juices and phytochemicals could be squeezed into the next edition? The chapter on herbal medicine provides useful lists of herbs relevant to each body system and grouped according to their pharmacological actions. For example listed under the heading of 'gastrointestinal system' are antacids, anthelmintics, antiemetics, carminatives, demulcents, gastrointestinal anti-inflammatories, gastrointestinal astringents, gastrointestinal spasmolytics, laxatives and mucous membrane trophorestoratives.

The next 12 chapters make up Part 3 of the book, Body Systems. Each system of the body, together with relevant conditions and treatments, is comprehensively covered incorporating both traditional naturopathic practices and scientific evidence. These chapters are densely packed with useful information and case studies. However the presentation of the scientific evidence could be much improved by including a grading system such as that recommended by the NHMRC.

Fertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding and pediatrics are covered in part 4, The Lifecycle. The chapter on pediatrics includes some controversial statements such as the suggestion that 'liver is the most suitable source of arachidonic acid' for infants who are 100% formula fed. Those with a passion for evidence based practice might feel agitated by some of the advice in this important chapter.

Part 5 consists of 8 appendices for miscellaneous tables including a herbal medicine dosage chart and a list of herbs that are contraindicated during pregnancy and lactation.

Whilst some chapters contain helpful diagrams and photos the overall ratio of words to visual aids in this book favours those readers who can handle long stretches of narrative without any scenery.

This comprehensive text will be a valuable resource for students of naturopathy, nutritional medicine and herbal medicine. Experienced naturopaths and integrative medical and allied health professionals will find many sections useful but this is a hefty book for the shelves rather than a concise clinical desktop reference.

The book has a scratch off panel concealing a PIN on the inside cover to allow purchasers access to the complete contents of the book online.

Available for non postal loan from the NHAA Library.

Reviewed by Katrina Clark
COPYRIGHT 2011 National Herbalists Association of Australia
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Clark, Katrina
Publication:Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism
Article Type:Book review
Date:Sep 22, 2011
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