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From the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients
February/March 2003
Monographs on Naturopathic Medicines
eview by Katherine Duff
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Alternative Medicine® Review, Monographs– Volume One
Kelly Czap, Managing Editor
Thorne Research, Inc., P.O. Box 25, Dover, Idaho 83825 USA
2002, Softcover, $49.95, 488 pp.

Since its premier issue May 1996, Alternative Medicine® Review has published original research and review articles for the complementary health care practitioner. In June 1998 the journal was indexed on Medline, followed with acceptance by Cindahl, Index Medicus and Embase, and its influence continues to grow.

Another feature of this quality publication has been the monographs on many of the nutrients and botanicals used by the practicing professional. The best of these monographs and others never before published have now been compiled into a desk reference titled Alternative Medicine® Review, Monographs – Volume One.

This attractive volume contains eight-six peer-reviewed monographs representing a diverse array of therapeutics that include some of the best naturopathic modalities in use. The twenty-five authors and forty editors, who are listed in the book, are clinically experienced health practitioners from a variety of disciplines. For this project, they have conducted a comprehensive review of the international, technical literature to provide the latest information available on each of the substances. Of the over eighty substances examined, some of the nutrients and herbals may be very familiar, but some of the newer promising compounds are included as well.

Each monograph begins with a general description and is accompanied by either a diagram of the chemical structure or in the case of herbals, a photograph of the living plant. There is a discussion of its active constituents, pharmacokinetics and mechanism of action. The clinical indications are identified and the dosage and safety information is included. In addition, there is important information included about possible side effects, toxicity and interactions between drugs and the botanicals or nutrients. And finally, each monograph is referenced extensively.

Such comprehensive and impartial information of so many substances in one volume fills a void in the available literature for the practicing health professional. It also serves as a resource for the well informed lay public. This is made possible by superb organization of the material and exceptionally precise editing. Monographs is well suited for quick reference when needed and careful reading and research as well.

Where complementary practitioners may already be familiar with the active constituents and mechanism of action of a particular substance, it is the impressive referencing of human and animal studies that supports the information such as dosage and interactions that is necessary for practical applications. Inclusion of the potential interactions, contraindications and toxicity of the substances should not only afford confidence to the practitioner, but should also assist in the continued acceptance of alternative therapies by allaying concerns of those seeking to integrate complementary therapies into their practices.

Monographs is an important contribution to the field of alternative medicine, consistent with the quality work found in the publication Alternative Medicine®Review. Those not familiar with the publication can access current and past issues by visiting the web site and clicking on the journal title. Here, one can find abstracts of the previously published articles and monographs.

Through the continued growth of the journal, we can look forward to the second volume of monographs and all volumes becoming a staple of the alternative medicine literature.


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October 10, 2003