I am pleased to announce that the first copies of the all new Third Edition of the Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs: Eastern and Central North America by Steven Foster (me) and James A. Duke are being received by booksellers and their customers. | ISBN-10: 0547943989 | ISBN-13: 978-0547943985 | 456 pp., paperback | $21.00 | Available at your favorite book store.
Roger Tory Peterson (1919-1996) wrote and illustrated A Field Guide to Birds: Eastern and Central North America, now in its 6th edition, first published in 1934. He invented the modern 20th century concept of field guides, introducing generations of Americans to the flora, fauna and natural features of North America. Peterson Field Guides have now been for published 80 years.
The new third edition of the Foster and Duke Field Guide to Medicinal Plants has been expanded to include 60 new species not found in previous editions. The book includes 531 species accounts with information on 588 medicinal plant species. With 705 color photographs by Steven Foster, over 88% of the images are new. Over 66% of the plants in the book are native species, while 33% represent non-native, mostly European and Asian aliens.
Medicinal plants and herbs are all around us
- Whether hiking along a remote Appalachian mountain trail or simply observing plants in one’s own yard, medicinal plants can be found everywhere humans live and travel.
- Can we control invasive alien weeds by finding a use for them? Many homeowners attempt to eliminate weeds from their yards—dandelions, English plantain, and chickweed. Some call them weeds. We call them medicinal plants.
- Some garden plants, such as English Ivy, are registered as ethical drugs in Europe, in this case for the treatment of coughs and upper respiratory tract infections.
Inspiring Conservation awareness:
- A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs provides a glimpse of the human experience with plants. Native medicinal plants from the eastern deciduous forest, including black cohosh, goldenseal, and American ginseng are among more than 150 native species that are still harvested from the wild and enter international commerce. Sustainable use of these valuable resources is paramount for future generations.
- Conservation of these important genetic resources is informed by awareness of their medicinal value.
- “Without knowledge there is no appreciation. Without appreciation there is no conservation.”
New Research, New Details—Reconciling tradition with science:
- Uses have been thoroughly updated and revised, with more nuanced detail on historical use in pre-21st century America and elsewhere, including ethnobotanical details by specific native American groups, traditional use by American physicians and herbalists, and information on historic or modern use in Europe, China, and elsewhere.
- Details on the latest scientific developments that in many cases reveal a rational scientific basis for traditional use.
- Rather than use the internet or secondary references, the authors went to great lengths to scour the original references from which the information is derived, whether a 17th century renaissance herbal or the latest original scientific studies.
- Since the publication of the second edition in 2000, worldwide research on medicinal plants has increased by a factor of at least 5-fold. Prior to the year 2000 a PubMED search for Echinacea in the title of a scientific paper returns 80 unique studies. A search for Echinacea in the title between 2000-2013 yields 443 studies.
Names, Distribution, Descriptions, and Flowering Times Updated:
- The last decade produced a dramatic increase in the study of plant genetics leading to changes in plant taxonomy and family associations. New taxonomic designations are provided along with the synonyms of familiar scientific names from earlier works.
- Plant biology and plant geography is dynamic, not static. We have revised and updated geographical distribution and occurrence details. Many non-native species have greatly increased in distribution, a disturbing but important data set.
- A surprising aspect of revising data was the need to readjust the range of blooming periods. With the effects of climate change, some plants are blooming earlier (or in some cases later), which may reduce or extend flowering or fruiting, depending upon species and distribution range.
Updated Information on safety, toxicity and drug interactions:
- The book contains appropriate warnings on those plants that can lead to poisoning or toxic reactions, sometimes even by handling the plant. Some plants, such as St. John’s wort are known to interact with enzyme systems that interfere with the absorption of prescription drugs, sometimes increasing or decreasing the drug’s effective dose. Important examples such as St. John’s wort are update to reflect that new research.
First published in 1990 Steven Foster and Jim Duke’s A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants: Eastern and Central North America (Softcover: ISBN 0-395-46722-5) featured information on the identification and use of about 500 medicinal plants of eastern and central North America. It was the first modern comprehensive field guide to medicinal plants. The book included pen and inks by Roger Tory Peterson, Lee Peterson and Jim Blackfeather Rose. A 48-page color insert had nearly 200 photographs. With 366 pages it was the 40th title in The Peterson Field Guide® Series. If you have the first edition, you don’t have the third edition. Simple as that.
In 2000 we produced a new edition of the title, this time calling it A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs: Eastern and Central North America, with no line drawings, illustrated with photographs. Herbs had come of age by the year 2000. In 1990, annual herb product sales were about $250 million, and by 1990 they had surpassed $3 billion largely the result of the dietary health and supplement act on 1994, which created the regulatory category of “dietary supplements” and moved herb products from health and natural food stores into the mass market. A few years earlier, the infant internet also began to play a role in marketing and distribution. If you have the second edition, we think you will enjoy the all new third edition.