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Botanical Medicine: A European Professional Perspective 2nd Edition
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Botanical medicine as it is currently practiced in Europe is a highly evolved, multi-paradigm modality that draws on the sophisticated perspectives of gemmotherapy, oligotherapy, aromatherapy, and phytotherapy, as well as the concepts of terrain to effect treatment and cures using essential oils and herbal preparations. Its foundations extend far beyond conventional reductionist empiricism to three whole-system models--the neuroendocrine, five phase, and diathetic models.
In composing this text, the authors have provided much information and a wealth of new perspectives gleaned from extensive clinical practice and from the Galenic literature and tradition. Designed to provide the herbal practitioner with information about botanical substances, how they are used in Western Europe today, and the tools necessary for developing clinical insights, the text presents the historical traditions leading up to modern European practice and the theoretical perspectives of these three whole-system models.
Over 300 plant substances are profiled according to five phase categories, with a listing for each of the common name, Latin name, actions, constituents, botanical family, flavors, five-phase category, and principal indications according to terrain. Therapeutic guidelines and clinical applications are provided for an extensive selection of illnesses, including symptom discrimination according to terrain, and gemmotherapeutic, botanical, and diathetic prescriptions.
An Excerpt from Comments by Author Dan Kenner:
"Herbal medicine is as old as humankind and has been used universally throughout civilization. In the West since the Middle Ages it has passed through several cycles of ascendancy and decline. During its recent decline in favor of synthesized chemical medicines, the skills on which botanical medicine were based--the observation of patients hour by hour, day by day--were trivialized as 'anecdotal' and disparaged as lacking scientific merit. Diagnosis and treatment became microscopic search and destroy missions, where specific disease agents were sought with specific tests so that they could be attacked by magic bullets of biochemical origin.
"Today, however, people have become aware of the limited resolving power of a solely analytical and microscopic view. Macroscopic observation--touching, listening, questioning--are once again credible. Botanical Medicine is a book for this era. It describes the main paradigms for the professional administration of herbs based on naked-sense observation, using the model of yin-yang and the five phases from Chinese traditional medicine, the model of the terrain medicines of French phytotherapy, as well as modern adaptations in physician-based European practice. The book is complete and self-contained. It begins with an explanation of the ideas and models, extends to theoretical and practical application, and concludes with detailed profiles of a large repertory of herbs. The information required for application of each of the main therapeutic approaches is presented in a large section of herbal profiles. Each profile contains information regarding the herb's botany, chemistry, and history, as well as its applications and indications. The information required for the professional practice of botanical medicine, as it is used in Europe, is emphasized; in particular, French phytotherapy. Richly and extensively presented, this text is certain to facilitate the clinical applications of whole-system models for herbal practitioners in the U.S.A. and will surely be helpful in the development of creative solutions to the ever-changing conditions of clinical practice."
Praise for Botanical Medicine: A European Professional Perspective 2nd Edition
"The authors' elucidation of the concept of the terrain and the dynamics of other Western and Oriental whole-system models serves most generously the discerning minds of serious and creative practitioners. Intuitive herbalists, aromatherapists, and physicians seeking other clinicians' insightful information to help build on their own experience and knowledge will deeply appreciate this significant work that ushers one far beyond conventional Western science's anachronous doctrine of specificity."
-James Green, author of The Male Herbal, and Director of the California School of Herbal Studies
"This book is a unique and highly sophisticated synthesis of three models of medicine: traditional Asian herbal energetic concepts, the French whole system theory of terrain, and the neuroendocrinological system based on distinct physiological processes from a Western biomedical perspective. As the idea of biochemical individuality becomes more attractive in nutrition and related disciplines, this book provides the novice and the experienced clinician new tools to integrate traditional perspectives with modern science in hopes of enhancing the art of herbal healing."
-Mark Blumenthal, Founder and Executive Director, American Botanical Council
"This is an impressive book for any serious clinician interested in all aspects of herbal medicine, both East and West. It seamlessly merges the fields of traditional Chinese medicine, Western herbal medicine and modern essential oil therapy."
-Peter Bennett, ND, author of The 7-Day Detox Miracle; Medical Director Helios Clinic, Victoria, BC, Canada
"Botanical Medicine clearly demonstrates that it is possible to use the analytical approach to herbal medicine-based on modern physiology and plant chemistry-in a holistic context. Key here is the use of whole-system models and preclinical terrain pathology. Kenner and Requena elegantly present herbal medicine as the clinical skill that it ultimately is rather than the theoretical exercise to which it so often defaults."
- Peter Holmes, author of Energetics of Western Herbs and Jade Medicine
"Botanical Medicine: A European Professional Perspective by Dan Kenner and Yves Requena
Most botanical books that I have read prescribe herbs for a specific illness, but Dan Kenner and Yves Requena's book Botanical Medicine: A European Professional Perspective focuses on prescribing herbs according to individual type, i.e. a person's terrain. Practitioners of Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine have long recognized that people with similar personality, temperament, and constitutional traits manifest similar reactions to various foods and substances. A person with predominantly Fire or with Pitta energy would react to licorice or ginseng differently than a person with predominantly Water or Kapha energy. In Western European botanical therapy, the five-phase Chinese model is often used in prescribing herbs and essential oils; but, Europeans have also developed their own models for categorizing terrain. Botanical Medicine, which is divided into three sections, explores different systems of phytotherapy and terrain, profiles numerous herbs and essential oils and their effects on different terrain types, and discusses which herbs to prescribe, according to terrain, for several physical and emotional ailments.
The main terrain systems used in Western European botanical therapy are the neuroendocrine model, which categorizes people according to sympathetic/parasympathic variations and endocrine gland dominance, and the five-phase model from Chinese medicine. A third model, oligotherapy, developed by Jacques Menetrier, is often used in conjunction with the other two. Menetrier developed his system, which identifies five diatheses (terrains) similar to the Chinese model, in order to explain why trace elements caused significant therapeutic effects in some people and had no obvious effect on others. Oligotherapy uses minute amounts of trace elements to activate enzymes and enhance metabolism and detoxification. The authors encourage physicians to use any system(s) of typology that attract their interest as a basis for determining which botanical will be most helpful for an individual.
In their profiles of herbs and essential oils, the authors use the five-phase Chinese model to delineate a substance's effects. Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), for example, has been shown in scientific studies to regulate endocrine function, stimulate the central nervous system, and enhance the body's ability to adapt to stress; and, the herb also haspantioxidant and antiviral properties. However, not everyone who takes Siberian ginseng notices a beneficial effect. Using the Chinese five-phase model, practitioners can more accurately determine if Siberian Ginseng would be the best choice for a specific individual's complaint.
If the person has a fire yin constitution (sentimental, emotional, introverted, hypersensitive), Siberian ginseng would be helpful for memory loss, hypertension, decreased libido, altitude sickness, anemia, or hypopituiterism. For Wood yin types (nervous, moody, indecisive, timid), the herb is indicated for hypercholesterolemia, influenza, viral fatigue syndrome, and thyroid hypertrophy. With Earth yin types (amorphous, emotionally detached, detail-oriented, self-critical), it is useful for treating hyperglycemia, diabetes, leukocytosis, leukopenia, and anemia. For the Metal yin type (melancholic, conservative, easily fatigued, solitude-loving), Siberian ginseng is beneficial for treating chronic bronchitis, cough with sputum, altitude sickness, leukocytosis,' leukopenia, and thymus atrophy, and, for the Water yin person (hypersensitive, sentimental, dependent, easily discouraged), it is helpful for illness caused by cold and/or fatigue, hypoadrenalism, tumors, low sperm count, and decreased libido.
Rarely do people fit a single type. What does one do if a person with a Water yin and Metal yin nature develops tachycardia (typically a Fire type dysfunction)? The authors would advise trying Water yin or Metal yin herbs with a Fire nature first - mullein, for example, or lavender oil. Botanical Medicine profiles over 140 herbs and about 75 essential oils according to the five-phase model.
The third section of the book gives fundamental information on the use of botanicals and therapeutic guidelines for choosing herbs and essential oils in order to treat respiratory, gynecological, genitourinary, metabolic, circulatory, nervous system, and skin disorders and infections and childhood diseases.
These herbs are given as tinctures, suspensions, water extracts, or as teas in the bulk form. The authors do not recommend specific dosages or even the traditional prescription of determining dosage by the recipient's weight because terrain/ individual typology affects the response. Also, mindful of the observations concerning dosage made by Karl Koetschau, a German physician, the authors state that "a single substance can have different, often opposite properties at different levels of dosage."
In addition to the information on terrain, Botanical Medicine contains fascinating information about essential oils that I had not encountered before. Essential oils are highly concentrated substances that have been distilled from plants; only one kilogram of thyme oil, for example, results from 100 kilograms of the plant itself. In the US essential oils are used topically for hair and skin care or are looked upon as pleasant odors that have emotional effects. In Europe, these powerful oils are used medicinally; pharmaceutical grade oils can be taken orally or rectally. "The essences are highly concentrated," explain the authors. "The dose of an oil for an acute infection can be as little as 0.2 g per day (I gm= about 20 drops), usually encapsulated along with flax oil or honey."
Essential oils also have an inhibitory effect on micro-organisms that offers an alternative to antibiotics; and, this inhibitory effect does not always correspond to an oil's known antiseptic constituents. The authors say that "[r]ather than killing microbes by direct contact, they seem to somehow alter the terrain so that it is no longer hospitable to the infecting microbes." For example, they tell about a man who had suffered from repeated episodes of chronic urethritis with a prostate focus for years. By using an aromatogram, three essential oils were identified as inhibiting microbial growth. Aromatograms are simple laboratory tests in which a sample of the patient's blood, urine, vomit, skin, or other affected tissue or secretion is cultured in a petri dish. Pastilles with different essential oils are placed along the perimeter of the dish, which is then incubated at 37 centigrade (98.6F) for 24 hours. When the dish is checked the next day, it becomes obvious which, if any, of the essential oils have inhibited microbial growth. In the case of the man with chronic urethritis, the bacterial culture avoided eucalyptus, juniper, and geranium. All three of these oils have anti-diabetic effects. Even though fasting blood sugar and glycosuria tests showed no signs of diabetes, the man was put on an anti-diabetic diet and prescribed the three oils. The urethritis did not return. "The oils did not act by directly inhibiting the growth of the micro-organisms," the authors explain, "but by treating the prediabetic terrain, that is, by altering the conditions that were the origin of the bacterial proliferation." Botanical Medicine: A European Professional Perspective really educates the reader about the power and possibilities of healing with botanicals. Western practitioners who want to break out of the reductionist, formula systems so prevalent in US botanical medicine will, I think, find in this book keys for using botanicals in a truly holistic manner."
-Prescribing Herbals According to Type review by Jule Klotter
"A new addition to the growing number of texts from Paradigm Publications is "Botanical Medicine: A European Professional Perspective", by Dan Kenner and Yves Requena. The authors, both well known and respected within the respective countries and professions, present the reader with a current European herbal perspective. They utilise three different clinical systems as the basis for diagnosis and prescribing of European botanical medicinal substances, known in Europe as phytotherapy. These three systems- the neuroendocrine, the five phase and the diathetic- are presented as an attempt to integrate what they term as "whole system models" and therefore yield new insights so as to inform practitioners from both the western European schools of herbal medicine as well as those versed in Eastern medical herbal traditions. Yet they make it clear they do not wish to develop a unified system of though rather to "help practitioners in their quest to create their own internalised systems of understanding for developing the clinical skills that will ultimately allow judgment to be instinctive rather than intellectual." It is with this objective in mind that the reader must approach this adventurous text, and recognise that the botanical profiles should by no means be seen as definite and irrefutable. Some readers may be familiar with Yves Requena's work which utilises and builds upon Traditional Chinese theory, however you may not be aware of the other two systems. The neuro-endocrine models is based upon interpreting ill health in terms of the neurological control systems and their effect on endocrine gland secretion. Based on the pioneering work of Hans Seyle and the stress response, it presents a very modern perspective of life in the nineties. The other whole system, which is more foreign to us, is known as the oloigotherapy or diathesis. Developed by Jacques Menetrier, this system groups patients according to typologies or diatheses which are based upon hereditary background, disease predisposition and psychological traits. Treatment involves the ingestion of trace elements that are specific to certain diathesis.
The text is divided into three main sections. The first section defines each of the three systems giving the theoretical background for developing the skills for discriminating clinical use of the European herbs. This is a very interesting section which some may find difficult to comprehend if they are attempting to interpret solely from an eastern medical perspective. It is essential however that the reader understand the theoretical background of each system in order to assess its clinical utility. The second section is the bulk of the text. One hundred and forty two European herbs are tabulated and discussed as to their action, constituents, family, flavour, five phase category, principle indication according to terrain and historical usage. As well thirty nine essential oils are described and related to neuroendocrine typologies and terrains. Section three involves therapeutic guidelines for the treatment of a range of disease states, detailing dosage and application.
The format of the text is easy on the eye and offers extensive tables, glossary and a large cross reference index, making it a very accessible text to the reader. The only criticism I have of the text is the unfamiliar content of the text, especially if you are coming from an Eastern medical perspective. On first investigation the reader may feel as if they are in foreign territory, however on perseverance this territory will become more familiar and one will recognise that it is all a matter of perspective and that what one is offered within the covers of the text presents an exciting foray into the unique clinical world of European herbal medicine.
Containing three hundred and ninety three pages, it is published by Paradigm Publications in American and sells for US $35. For those interesting in broadening their perspective and improving their clinical efficacy this text definitely has something to offer."
-Book Review by Chris Zaslawski
"The interested layperson will find quite a bit of usable information in the second section. I learned new things about many familiar plants while reading this section, as well as the names an properties of others not in the traditional Western practitioner's kit-bag. As a novice with no formal medial education, I can only marvel at the lucidity of the writers, that I can actually read an enjoy this sophisticated new approach to total health. I recommend it to all open-minded souls who are interested in the medicines of the future."
-The Empty Vessel