208 pages, 100 illus
Over the ages humans have sought out plants across the globe for many uses: to heal wounds, cure disease, soothe troubled minds, kindle love or evoke curious dreams. Gardener and botanist David Stuart tells the story of that search, and how the world of plants has interacted with the world of humans in the quest. This is not only a story of soothing balms and heroic cures. Many plants have a dark side to balance the light and most of the really powerful and effective plants are double-edged. They can heal or kill, calm us or enslave us, cure depression or roar us off to meet strange gods and monsters. The relationship between humans and plants is a complex one. Stuart relates amazing tales of how the quest for plants has sparked wars, helped establish international trade routes and generated fortunes.
Here are wars, plagues, poisoners, poetry, moral campaigns, gourmets, explorers, charlatans, aphrodisiacs, gods, alcoholism, degradation, exploitation, epidemics, towering personalities, desperadoes and agony, to name a few. All this could hardly fail to be fascinating. A rare, absorbing book with the bonus of sumptuous illustration. A pleasure from first to last. New Scientist ... in an age when we seem to have all but forgotten how central plant products were to our lives before petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries, Dangerous Garden redresses the balance ... it is to David Stuart's great credit that he has managed to extract and distil so much information and package it in such an intelligible and readable form Gardens Illustrated This book should be on the wish list of every medical professional and plant enthusiast Kew
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