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Herbal Supplements and the Brain


Today, many manufacturers of plant-based “neuroceuticals” claim their products can offer powerful benefits in brain function. However, the US government does not require these manufacturers to demonstrate their products’ effectiveness, leaving it difficult for consumers and health professionals to make decisions about the benefits and risks.

In Herbal Supplements and the Brain: Understanding their Health Benefits and Hazards, two leading researchers provide this crucial information in clear language any intelligent reader can understand and use. They begin by introducing the fundamental principles of pharmacology, explaining how drugs and natural products can affect the body’s organs and organ systems. Using examples, they show how to determine whether an ingested substance can enter the bloodstream and reach its target at a concentration sufficient to have an effect. They also explain how natural products may influence blood levels of other substances, and discuss whether such interactions may diminish the effectiveness of prescription medications or alter normal body chemistry.

Throughout, the authors emphasize factors relating especially to neuroceuticals and the brain. Individual chapters are devoted to nutritional supplements which promise to enhance memory, relieve pain, safely promote sleep, and aid in the treatment of depression or anxiety. Specifically, readers will find research-based coverage of Ginkgo biloba; St. John’s Wort; Valerian; Lemon Balm; Kava; Lavender; Kudzu, Daffodil, Passion Flower, and Camellia Tea and other caffeinated beverages.

From the Back Cover
“Written with authority, yet as lucid and enticing as a novel. The finest book I know addressing the interaction of herbs, the brain, and behavior.”
–Solomon H. Snyder, M.D., Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

“Both skeptics and believers in the value of herbal supplements for brain conditions will enjoy the calm objective analysis to which these two experienced pharmacologists put the most popular products. You may not like their conclusions, but their evidence is convincing.”
–Floyd E. Bloom, MD, Professor Emeritus, Molecular and Integrative Neuroscience Department, TSRI

“It all began with Adam’s apple. Knowing what you add to your diet may change your life. Getting a kick from a cup of coffee, fighting depression with St. John’s wort, drifting away with valerian, or reaching a ripe old age with Gingko, this book gives insights into the pros and cons of taking herbal supplements. Excellent and entertaining reading!”
–Hanns Möhler, Professor of Pharmacology, University of Zurich, Switzerland

“If you are someone who takes and believes in herbal supplements, then this book is a must-read for you. I’ll bet you will be surprised at some of the information. It is written by two extraordinarily qualified authors, who have decades of experience with the effects and toxicities of drugs and supplements. The aim of the book is to use proven criteria to evaluate if herbal supplements are effective or not. This information is not always easy to find, so read on.”
–Michael J Kuhar, Ph.D., Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University, Candler Professor of Neuropharmacology, School of Medicine, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, Center for Ethics of Emory University

Table of Contents
Chapter 1. The Gifts of Eden
Chapter 2. Transforming Plants into Gold
Chapter 3. Thinking Like a Pharmacologist
Chapter 4. The Brain as a Drug Target
Chapter 5. Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
Chapter 6. St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
Chapter 7. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Chapter 8. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Chapter 9. Kava (Piper methysticum)
Chapter 10. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Chapter 11. Kudzu (Pueraria lobata)
Chapter 12. Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus)
Chapter 13. Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata)
Chapter 14. Coffee, Tea, and Cocoa
Chapter 15. Epilogue

Book Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press (May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0132824973
  • ISBN-13: 978-0132824972
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