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Medicinal Plants in Australia.

Medicinal Plants in Australia

Volume I Bush Pharmacy

By Cheryll Williams

Rosenberg Publishing

Dural Australia

ISBN 978 1 877 05879 0


This is the first in a series of four volumes that are going to be essential for the library of any health care professional who is interested in botany, herbalism and the Australian bush pharmacopeia in particular. The comprehensive description of medicinal Australian plants with great photos for easy identification is ground breaking literature. The text details the plants that have been used in Australia to influence the outcome of disease entities, their active principles and explanations of why and how they work. The author Cheryll Williams has over 25 years experience as a herbalist, nutritionist, homeopath and acupuncturist. Her avid interest and passion for Australian medicines is obvious with the detail and love that has been poured into this work.

The text is divided into eleven chapters with a resource section and index. Starting off with the floral pharmacy discussing history and where we are going in the future gives the reader an idea of how important it is to document and preserve Australia's bush medicines.

The first few chapters discuss the plants of the pioneers and the search for food and medicines; herbal impressions and remedies from the bush including medicinal tucker, tonics or toxins, healing herbs and insect repellents. A full chapter is devoted to sarsaparilla and sassafras, old remedies in a new country, and includes true and false sarsaparilla and the search for sassafras. Further chapters discuss Xanthorrhoea grass tree medicines with descriptions of early botanical collections in Australia, the medical resource of grass tree resin and its uses as a food, fuel and varnish; floral emissaries covering areas such as Banks' Florilegium naming the genus Eucalyptus, Australian carnivorous plants, bottlebrush, Telopea, Banksia, Grevillea and Hakea. Did you know that vines and trees were sources of water? Bush beverages discusses nectars for fermentation, experimental brews, cider making, coffee substitutes and food as medicine.

The detail and interest in this book just gets better and better as you delve into the world of bush tucker bugs, sweet bush foods, edible bugs and grubs, nutritional analysis of caterpillars, feasting on bogong moths, tasty hoppers, locusts and crickets. We learn about medicinal and toxic honeys, Australian native bees, the antioxidant qualities of honey.

The chapter on fragrant medicines includes native myrtles, Boronia as a perfume crop, lillipillies and the medicinal Malay apple with details of pharmacological studies into Syzygium. Sandalwood as an aromatic export is the focus of chapter ten discussing early sustainable harvesting, oils, quality and constituents, medicinal traditions, and the modern Australian sandalwood industry with relationships to international trends. The medicinal value of the native quandong, an edible fruit, is also covered in this chapter.

Chapter eleven introduces the famous Australian gum tree Eucalyptus, its survival strategies, classification, versatitity, its economic and environmental prospects, the international acceptance of eucalypt medicines and the down side of plant exports.

The resource section outlines literally hundreds of fabulous books, articles, research papers and clinical trials to feast your research buds into action if you find a specific area of interest in the text. The index is comprehensive and covers common and botanical names very well.

Australia is a country rich in unique plant species and having this text certainly expands the potential for pharmacy in herbal medicines for us all. My appreciation was enhanced by the Australian medicinal history of flora and I highly recommend this text to all herbalists, integrative healthcare practitioners and students. I especially recommend this book to any gardener who has enough time to roam the nursery and enough room in their garden to grow some of these incredibly beautiful, aromatic and medicinal plants.

I can't wait for the next volumes.

Available in the NHAA library reference only.

Reviewed by Dominique Finney
COPYRIGHT 2011 National Herbalists Association of Australia
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Author:Finney, Dominique
Publication:Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 22, 2011
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