This manual is designed for the use of the primary care physician and other health care practitioners who wish to integrate some herbal therapy into their practice. The symptom model used is more or less that of standard practice medicine, combined with much unorthodox but pertinent naturopathic and eclectic specifics. The format is that of a classical homeopathic repertory. The botanicals, media, and doses are outlined in my other booklet, Herbal Materia Medica. If the practitioner feels the need for something more than what amounts to a symptom flow chart, a more drug-substitute oriented text would be Herbal Medicine by Rudolph Fritz Weiss (Beaconsfield Publishers). The best classic works for the specific botanicals are Materia Medica by Felter and King's American Dispensatory, both published by Eclectic Medical Publications in Portland, Oregon (both medically oriented), and more recently, Handbook of Medicinal Herbs by James Duke (CRC Press) and Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West, Medicinal Plants of the Desert and Canyon West (Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa Fe), and, by 1991, Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West (Red Crane Press, Santa Fe), by myself. This symptom- differentiation is appropriate for using herbs; it is much more important to delineate the nature, stage and modality of a disorder. As herbs are far feebler biological agents than drug therapy, it is important to know if the disorder is acute or chronic, in a strong or immunodeficient person, just beginning or post-inflammatory, and so on.
As an example, pharyngitis may often be treated with an appropriate antibiotic, whether the condition is acute, subacute, or chronic. Although such may indeed be necessary, antibiotics are often a major metabolic stress, substantially altering the ecologies of the skin and mucosa. Most pharyngitis involves normally endogenous viruses or bacteria that take advantage of membrane compromise, immunosuppression, or emotional or metabolic stress. Herbs are often better suited in milder or subclinical conditions. They may strengthen the membranes, stimulate both innate and acquired immunity, resolve the exudate and generally strengthen vital forces. This, without risking superinfections, allergic response or candidiasis. Using an herb, however, is not simply a matter of finding a substitute for a given drug; if an herb was as non-specifically effective as an antibiotic, it would present the same disadvantages.
The validity and purpose of this repertory, therefore, is to give the therapist a constitutional and patient-specific approach to using herbs based on distinct symptoms leading to differential therapeutics, rather than the more common practice of differential diagnostics that lead to a fixed therapy.
This third edition makes a number of minor changes in therapy, deletes several herbs no longer available and adds some of the information to come out of European pharmacy, Naturopathic work on the Pacific Coast, information from the American Botanical Council, my own work with desert and southwestern plants and the few uses of "Miracle Herbs" that are touted in various hotshot product lines that hold up under real use. I have added several new Chinese herbs that I have learned to understand within the Western model. Bear in mind, of course, that the very basis of both the Oriental and Ayurvedic approaches IS differential therapeutics, and practitioners of these disciplines should have no difficulty in translating the therapeutics in this booklet into their modality, especially those that want to incorporate Western botanicals into their practice.
A CAUTIONARY ASIDE: In an herb-perfect world, Cannabis (Marijuana) and Lophophora (Peyote), would be available in their benign roles as useful botanical medicines. THEY ARE, OF COURSE, ILLEGAL TO POSSESS. They are,
however, just two other herbs to me.
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