Dangerous Garden: The Quest for Plants to Change Our Lives (Hardback)
  • Dangerous Garden: The Quest for Plants to Change Our Lives (Hardback)
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Dangerous Garden: The Quest for Plants to Change Our Lives (Hardback)

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£27.95
Hardback 208 Pages / Published: 01/06/2004
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Traces the origins and history of botanical medicine, including how it has established intercontinental trade routes and created fortunes, as well as the healing and killing powers of medicinal plants.

Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674011045
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 972 g
Dimensions: 273 x 203 x 32 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
In "Dangerous Gardens," David Stuart trots us along the thorny hedgerows of history, following the search for botanical deliverance from aches and aging, plagues and poisons, insufficient libido and unwanted pregnancy. -- Patrice Clark Koelsch "Ruminator Review" (06/01/2004)
Rhubarb for syphilis? Belladonna for beauty? In a handsomely illustrated text, Stuart catalogs the medical uses--both valuable and dubious--of a wide variety of plants. Consider, for example, species of the genus Artemisia, extracts of which have given rise to a promising new treatment for malaria as well as to the drink absinthe, under whose influence Van Gogh may have sliced off his ear.
Many people think of new pharmaceuticals being brewed up from chemicals in the labs of companies such as Pfizer and Merck. While this is often so, a full 40 percent of the drugs behind the pharmacist's counter in the Western world are derived from plants that people have used for centuries. For instance, quinine from tree bark relieves malaria, and licorice from a root has been an ingredient in cough drops for more than 3,500 years. Stuart examines how different peoples have used these and many other medicinal plants at different times. Such medications have affected civilizations by stemming both ferocious plagues and common maladies. Stuart illustrates this as he documents a host of medicinal plants from a historical perspective.
insufficient libido and unwanted pregnancy.
documents a host of medicinal plants from a historical perspective.
civilizations is an opulent, intriguing account of both plants and the people who exploit them.
garden seems suddenly transformed from a benign wash of colour and fragrance to a protean bed of potential miracles and murders.
far-reaching movements triggered by plants; and of 'our vain attempts to forget, to slow or to stop entirely our descent in [Death's] arms.'
popular pie filling. Readers will learn about history's complex relationship with the plant kingdom in the pursuit of cures for pain or recreational panaceas.
Artemisia, extracts of which have given rise to a promising new treatment for malaria as well as to the drink absinthe, under whose influence Van Gogh may have sliced off his ear.
equatorial rain forests and along trade routes to Asia. We learn of healers and those who would be healed, along with imperialists, quacks, criminals and other denizens of the 'dark side.'
As he brilliantly guides the reader through the history of humanity's complex relationship with the plant kingdom, and our relentless pursuit of remedies, restoratives, or recreational panaceas, Stuart reminds us that as long as humans have walked the earth, their destinies have been intricately woven with those of the plants around them. Lavishly illustrated, exhaustively researched, Stuart's investigation of the plants that have changed civilizations is an opulent, intriguing account of both plants and the people who exploit them.--Carol Haggas"Booklist" (06/01/2004)
Enthralling and splendidly illustrated. Stuart was prompted to write this book in reaction to the sentimentality about natural remedies that is so pervasive today. And, certainly, here is a book to wipe that placid smile off your face and replace it with a rictus of pleasurable horror...Aside from frightening tidbits, Stuart serves up a historical feast of quackery and delusion; of poisonings, medical, marital, and dynastic; of great events and far-reaching movements triggered by plants; and of 'our vain attempts to forget, to slow or to stop entirely our descent in [Death's] arms.'--Katherine A. Powers"Boston Globe" (07/04/2004)
There seems hardly a plant or story that Stuart has overlooked as he charts the relationship of humans and plants over more than 2,000 years...Reading Stuart's book is almost like sipping a draft of poppy juice: the garden seems suddenly transformed from a benign wash of colour and fragrance to a protean bed of potential miracles and murders.--Merilyn Simonds"Montreal Gazette" (07/17/2004)
Plants are entwined with human history--aesthetically, spiritually and physically. This gorgeous book describes flora that cure and those that kill (usually a matter of dosage). It also documents society's quest for health, freedom from pain, good sex and enlightenment. Every turned page reveals another exquisite illustration, framing taut and witty prose that reads like fiction. We travel from ancient Egypt to medieval apothecaries, into equatorial rain forests and along trade routes to Asia. We learn of healers and those who would be healed, along with imperialists, quacks, criminals and other denizens of the 'dark side.'--Lili Singer"Los Angeles Times" (09/09/2004)
In "Dangerous Gardens", David Stuart trots us along the thorny hedgerows of history, following the search for botanical deliverance from aches and aging, plagues and poisons, insufficient libido and unwanted pregnancy.--Patrice Clark Koelsch"Ruminator Review" (06/01/2004)
Stuart tells the fascinating tale of botanical medicine; the earliest human ancestors found plants to heal wounds, cure diseases, and ease troubled minds. The use of medicinal plants, however, has been a double-edged affair; plants heal or kill people, calm or enslave them, lift them from depression or summon gods and demons. These contrasting effects result from slight changes in dosage. In this beautifully illustrated book, Stuart describes how the herbal plants helped intercontinental trade routes and seeded the wealth of empires. For example, yew, a favorite Roman poison, now provides the basis for a cancer drug; rhubarb, once thought to cure syphilis, is now a popular pie filling. Readers will learn about history's complex relationship with the plant kingdom in the pursuit of cures for pain or recreational panaceas.--S. M. Paracer"Choice" (02/01/2005)

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