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Advances in Botanical Research: Recent Trends in Medicinal Plants Research, Volume 62, by Lie-Fen Shyur and Allan S.Y. Lau (eds.). London, England: Academic Press; 2012. Hardcover; 468 pages. ISBN: 978-0-12-394591-4. $193.00.

Recent Trends in Medicinal Plants Research is the 62nd volume of the “Advances in Botanical Research” series published by Academic Press. The series is dedicated to exploring all aspects of medicinal plant research and covers topics such as ecology, biochemistry, plant genetics, physiology, and cell biology, among others. This volume is comprised of 11 chapters in the form of detailed research reviews written by researchers in a variety of scientific fields. The editors describe the book as a “major volume of reviews on the current research of elucidating bioefficacy and deciphering the mechanisms of action and molecular targets of specific bioactive phytocompounds or traditional herbal medicines for cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, cerebrovascular, stroke, and other inflammation-mediated chronic diseases, which are the main concerns of human heath.” Other volumes in the series include Plant Virus Vector Interactions (Vol. 36), Plant Innate Immunity (Vol. 51), and Plant Responses to Drought and Salinity Stress (Vol. 57).

 

Healing Elements: Efficacy and the Social Ecologies of Tibetan Medicine by Sienna R. Craig. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press; 2012. Softcover; 344 pages. ISBN: 978-0-520-27324-5. $34.95.

Sienna R. Craig, an assistant professor of anthropology at Dartmouth College, explores the practice of Tibetan medicine in areas of China, Nepal, and the Tibet Autonomous Region in her latest book, Healing Elements. She begins by asking a simple question — “Does it work?” — for which, it turns out, there is no simple answer. Craig takes into consideration the varying definitions of efficacy as well as the politics involved in this much-disputed region of the world. As she explains in the book’s introduction, “social ecological approaches demand we think holistically about how and why people fall sick, seek care, take medicines, experience the outcomes of these actions, and make sense of such events.” The book is divided into seven chapters and includes an overview of Tibetan medical practices and practitioners (known as amchi in Tibetan), the global potential for Tibetan medicines, current manufacturing practices, and details about botanicals used in Tibetan medical practices. The last chapter focuses on the history and efficacy of an 11-ingredient Tibetan herbal formula known as zhijé II, which is commonly used in childbirth.