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DANGEROUS GARDEN was listed by DISCOVER magazine as one of the top 20 science books that appeared in 2004. It is also nominated for The Council on Botanical and Horticultural Libraries Annual Award for a Significant Work in Botanical or Horticultural Literature
Reviews are at the bottom of the page.
The Quest for Plants to Change Our Lives
As our earliest ancestors migrated out of Africa, they encountered entirely new floras. By sampling these, they found plants that appeared to (and sometimes did) heal wounds, cure maladies, and ease troubled minds. This process of discovery continues today, as multinational pharmaceutical companies bioprospect in the globe's remaining wild places for the next tamoxifen or digitalis.
The Gardener and botanist David Stuart tells the fascinating story of botanical medicine, revealing more than soothing balms and heroic cures. Most of the truly powerful and effective medicinal plants are double-edged, with a dark side to balance the light. They can heal or kill, calm or enslave, lift depression or summon our gods and monsters. Often the difference between these polar effects is a simple change in dosage.
The book chronicles the tale of how the herbal materia medica of healing and killing plants has sparked wars, helped establish intercontinental trade routes, and seeded fortunes. As plant species traveled the globe, their medicinal uses evolved over miles and through centuries. Plants once believed to be cure-alls are now considered too dangerous for use. Others, once so valuable that they sowed the wealth of empires, are merely spices on the kitchen shelf.
David Stuart recounts engrossing human stories too, not only of the scientists, explorers, and doctors who gathered, named, and prescribed these plants but also the shamans, magicians, and quacks who claimed to possess the ultimate herbal aphrodisiac or elixir.
David Stuart, a botanist, has been a columnist for The Sunday Times of London and a nurseryman. He is the author of Plants That Shaped Our Garden (Harvard) and The Garden Triumphant: A Victorian Legacy.
Reviews and sound
DISCOVER MAGAZINE Top 20
ASIAN REVIEW OF BOOKS
THE GUARDIAN (London)
THE TELEGRAPH (London)
LOS ANGELES TIMES
If you want to listen to a radio slot about the book, for 25th June, last fifth of the Stateside program, try:
though simpler, just click on here (the first minute is music - will edit out later!)
and if you are really enthused, buy the book here and now
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