Cover image for Medicinal plants of the world : chemical constituents, traditional, and modern medicinal uses
Medicinal plants of the world : chemical constituents, traditional, and modern medicinal uses
Ross, Ivan A.
Personal Author:
Physical Description:
volumes <1-2 > : illustrations (some color) ; 26 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RS164 .R676 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
RS164 .R676 1999 V. 2 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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An extraordinary compendium of information on herbal medicine Medicinal Plants major book's detailed clinical

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

As interest in alternative medicine continues to grow, sifting through the rumors and claims of nonstandard therapies can be a confusing process. Garlic, it often seems, will cure just about anything; and aloe's uses seem unlimited. In this new volume, Ross, a biologist with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, cuts through the claims and gives the historical uses and documented effects of 27 plants that are widely used throughout the world. Whereas The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants (DK, 1996) offers a discussion of hundreds of plants and their preparation, and the excellent Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (2d ed., Prima, 1998) offers detailed advice on treating illness, Ross' goal in this volume is to provide a summary of the systematic and scientific information about the most widely used medicinal plants. The first chapter is dedicated to plant nomenclature and description. The discussion is accented by abundant illustrations. Each of the succeeding chapters is dedicated to a particular medicinal plant. Entries begin with a listing of common names for the plant from around the world, followed by a botanical description and details of the plant's distribution and origin. Next comes a list of the traditional uses of the plant in various countries. Each use is documented with a citation to an entry in the extensive bibliography. Then there is a listing of the chemical constituents that indicates the part of the plant (e.g., root, leaf, or stem) and concentration of the constituent. Perhaps the most valuable part of each entry is the final section, where Ross provides an extensive listing of the pharmacological effects and activities of the plant. Typically, this includes numerous effects, such as antifungal and antibacterical activity, and a toxicity assessment. Like the list of traditional uses, this comprehensive discussion is very well documented. One color plate of each plant is provided in a separate section. An index to all common names precedes a glossary of terms and a 67-page bibliography, which primarily contains citations to journal articles. Ross has done an outstanding job of gathering information from a wide variety of sources and synthesizing it into a readable and systematic discussion. No other single volume brings such depth and intense research to the systematic understanding of the uses and effects of the plants discussed. The delivery is fairly technical and will be most accessible to readers with some background in botany and pharmacology. As a resource that summarizes a huge amount of published information on medicinal plants, this volume belongs on the shelves of medical and botanical libraries. Large public libraries and academic libraries, especially those supporting graduate programs in the health or botanical sciences, may also want to consider this title.

Choice Review

Ross's title is possibly misleading because he discusses only 26 plants. The first chapter is an illustrated glossary of botanical terms. For the selected plants the author has included the scientific name and finder, a small picture, a list of common names and the country where that name is used, a brief botanical description, the plant family name, the place of origin and present distribution, traditional medicinal uses, chemical constituents, and pharmacological activities and trials. The traditional medicinal uses, pharmacological activities, and trials are all referenced from an extensive bibliography of approximately 1,600 items. An alphabetical list of all common names used in the book includes the country where that name is used and the reference plant. A second glossary primarily of medical terms also includes some terms found in chapter 1. An insert of four pages presents in color the picture included with the plant name for 24 of the 26 plants. Unfortunately there are a few typographical errors, inconsistencies, misstatements, and jumbled sentences. A book for the professional interested in medicinal, chemical, and pharmaceutical aspects of plants. C. T. Mason Jr.; emeritus, University of Arizona

Table of Contents

Nomenclature and Descriptive Terminology
Abrus precatorius
Allium sativum
Aloe vera
Annona muricata
Cassia alata
Catharanthus roseus
Cymbopogon citratus
Cyperus rotundus. ibiscus rosa-sinensis
Hibiscus sabdariffa
Jatropa curcas
Lantana camara
Macuna pruriens
Mangifera indica
Manihot esculenta
Momordica charantia
Moringa pterygosperma
Persea americana
Phyllanthus niruri
Portulaca oleracea
Psidium guajava
Punica granatum
Syzygium cumini
Tamarindus indica