Could that weed you just pulled have provided a cure for cancer? Scientists have warned that the destruction of the world’s rain forests may mean that plant species are being lost before we recognize their potential as sources of new medicines. This is equally true for the plants much closer to home. New Jersey, while heavily industrialized and densely populated, is extraordinarily rich in plant resources. Botany and Healing: Medicinal Plants of New Jersey and the Region describes nearly 500 species of plants found in the Garden State and in nearby areas that have been used medicinally.
Cecil Still lists plants by family and, within each family, by genus and species, to underscore the close relationships among medicinally valuable species. This arrangement is familiar to every botanist and easy for the amateur naturalist and herbalist to use as well. For each entry, Still discusses both the natural history and the historical and modern medicinal uses of the plant: scientific and common names, description, habitat, geographic range, and preparations and applications in Native American, European, African, and Asian herbal traditions. Most species are illustrated with Still’s line drawings. The book also contains a helpful index (with cross references by usage, common or scientific name), a glossary of terms, and a list of resources for further reading.
Botany and Healing explains the history and present status of the uses of herbal medicines, explains what makes a plant medicinal (or poisonous), how herbal medicines are prepared for use, and why they should be used only with great caution.