The Complete Guide to Herbal Medicines

James Metz, MD
Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

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front coverAuthors: Charles W. Fetrow and Juan R. Avila
Publisher: Springhouse Corporation
ISBN: 1-58255-062-X

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There is widespread use of herbal medicines by cancer patients throughout the world. This utilization requires that health care professionals become familiar with these treatments and that patients understand the herbal medications they are taking. Most importantly, physicians need to understand the interactions of these therapies with conventional treatments and possible side effects of these therapies. Without this knowledge, symptoms and/or side effects of herbals may be wrongly attributed to conventional cancer therapy causing an alteration of conventional cancer treatments. This could ultimately jeopardize patient outcomes.

The authors have written an excellent reference that will enhance the library of any health professional. Charles W. Fetrow, PharmD is Coordinator of Pharmacokinetics, Outpatient Anticoagulation, and Drug Evaluation Services at St. Francis Medical Center in Pittsburgh, PA. Juan R. Avila, PharmD serves as the Medical Therapeutics Liaison for Sanofi-Synthelabo Pharmaceuticals in New York. The authors state "realizing we weren't the only ones having trouble getting information on alternative therapies, we decided to fill the herbal information gap ourselves by creating a comprehensive, objective resource for health care professionals."

The Complete Guide to Herbal Medicines contains information on over 300 herbs and 11 nonherbal unconventional therapies. Each herbal therapy is listed alphabetically within the text for quick access. Each entry has general information including the herbs source, botanical name, and folklore associated with the treatment. Each section also contains clear headings including common doses, side effects, interactions, important points to remember, and selected references. Honest, non-biased information is contained throughout the book.

The Complete Guide to Herbal Medicines is an important reference for health care professionals and patients. This reference is well organized, concise, and conveys important information reliably. It is highly recommended by OncoLink.


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