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Cancer: Herbs In Holistic Healthcare

by by Dr J Walker

listed in cancer

[Image: Cancer: Herbs In Holistic Healthcare]

This was a fascinating book to read. It will be become a much thumbed reference book. The sub title "herbs in holistic healthcare" provides a full and accurate description of the content. But there is more – much more.

The author draws on her wide experience as a Physician and Surgeon in hospitals and also as a Principal in General Practice within the National Health Service. Since leaving the NHS almost ten years ago she has worked to broaden her approach to wellness and studied to expand her knowledge of medical hypnotherapy, acupuncture and herbal medicine in order to complement her practice of orthodox or conventional medicine. Her avowed aim is to inform patients, their doctors, nurses and other health care professionals about safe, effective, natural remedies that can be used to treat some of the unwanted effects or concurrent illnesses associated with cancer and its treatment.

A chapter is devoted to each of eighteen common complaints from Anxiety to Vaginitis. Each chapter is headed by a superbly apt quotation illustrating aspects of the condition and its treatment which may afflict those suffering from or being treated for cancer. The major drugs commonly used in the conventional treatment of cancer and the conditions arising from them are all presented. Their unwanted effects and interactions are reviewed and discussed. Recommendation and advice is given on herbal remedies which can safely be used to alleviate symptoms of each of these complaints effectively. In each case the interaction and effect of both prescribed medicines and that of herbs on other drugs and other herbs is given, as is a full range of the dosage of the various forms of herbal medicine, whether they are taken as tablets, capsules, liquid extracts, tinctures or infusions. Each of these conditions or complaints will have been experienced at some time or other by the majority of mankind. They are not confined to the unwanted effects of life-saving medication. This book will be a most useful reference for health professionals, complementary therapists and everyone interested in promoting good health for themselves and for others.

Dr Walker has provided a unique service in listing the many prescribed medications for the various conditions and the information on their possible unwanted effects and their possible reactions with each other. Most of this information is available in the patient information leaflet supplied with each prescription medicine. All too often such leaflets are discarded on opening the package and, naturally, the information is of one medicine only. The great advantage is that in each chapter the full gamut of medicines likely to be prescribed is provided along with some comparisons, dosage, treatment period and always the injunction "do not stop taking these medicines yourself but discuss them with your doctor".

The monographs on each herbal remedy in the various chapters are clear and informative. Both the common name and botanical name is given but the botanical family is missing. Information on the background and historical use of most plants is given with reference to traditional use and that of indigenous peoples. The style is easy and conversational and there is frequent informal reference to recent or current research; a bibliography is included. Specific literature references would have been useful, but possibly may have changed the tone of the book. Above all, it is easy, informative, interesting and accessible.

In addition to the extensive information on orthodox medicines and herbal alternatives, Dr Walker suggests changes in lifestyle and in diet to complement the natural remedies recommended which may help to improve both physical and mental well being. Each chapter has useful advice and suggestions for self help. This is beneficial in all respects and particularly appropriate in the first two chapters on Anxiety and Depression. Safe, non-drug strategies such as Counselling, Diet changes, Relaxation, Aromatherapy, Humour and control of Breathing are described, along with Exercise, various Occupational Therapies and an injunction to take sufficient rest. She continues with clear, informative suggestions on life style changes, discussing the deleterious effects of alcohol, caffeine and other stimulant containing beverages, tobacco, sweeteners and sugar; in addition to the damaging effects of low levels of trace elements, vitamins and minerals in the diet and providing suggestions on mineral and vitamin supplements.

There is very useful discussion on nutrition and the effect of diet in illness and healing. Emphasis is given to the necessity for quality and freshness in food, the avoidance of irradiated fruit and vegetables and of colourants and other additives. All the dietary advice converges on the benefit and advantages of home cooking with known ingredients. The choice of food and ingredients is made easy by an overview of macro- and micronutrients and by reference to valuable tables listing vitamins and minerals, their recommended daily allowance, reference nutrient intake and sources. Excellent advice is given on the addition of culinary herbs and spices in cooking and suggestions for nutritional supplements with the reminder not to overdo them. In addition, in the chapter on diet, there is a review of research into the effect of certain foods on various cancers. Each cancer site is taken in turn; foods with apparent deleterious effects are discussed and those with protective or beneficial effects are presented. Not only is this work a very useful reference resource; it is also a very readable and enjoyable book to browse.

Maureen Farrell
Published by Amberwood Publishing Ltd

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