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Handbook of African Medicinal Plants

Provides a comprehensive overview of plant resources available in Africa as medicinal agents, with information about botany, chemistry, pharmacology, and usage
Covers over 1,000 species of plants employed in indigenous African medicine
Medicinal reports are derived from published results and direct accounts from various field sources
Botanical sketches are descriptive enough to allow for field identification of plants
Chemical constituents, pharmacologic activities, and toxicity are reported for each major plant

By: Maurice M Iwu (Author)

506 pages, 94 colour illustrations, 1 table

CRC Press

Hardback | Feb 2014 | Edition: 2 | #207946 | ISBN-13: 9781466571976
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £88.99 $109/€100 approx

About this book

Handbook of African Medicinal Plants provides a comprehensive review of over 1000 species of plants employed in indigenous African medicine. It gives a concise description of the materia medica of an enormous and extensively varied continent, with well over 2000 distinct tribes and several distinct floras. A detailed pharmacognostical profile of the major herbs is presented, including the common name, synonyms, African names, habitat and distribution, medicinal uses, chemical constituents, and published pharmacologic activity. This extensive catalog of plants is presented both in alphabetic order and according to family. References are cited from over 600 publications, and photographs and sketches illustrate many of the plants. Handbook of African Medicinal Plants also provides an introduction to African cosmology and beliefs as they relate to healing and the use of herbs. Handbook of African Medicinal Plants is an invaluable, practical desk reference that should be on Handbook of African Medicinal Plantsshelf of every pharmacognosist, ethnobiologist, botanist, ecologist, phytochemist, pharmacologist, and scientist interested in tropical plant utilization as a tool for the conservation of biodiversity and as a source of new drug leads.

"Since the first edition was published, much has changed in the fields of ethnobotany and ethnomedicine. In the preface to the second edition of his book, Dr. Iwu acknowledges the enormous body of knowledge that has become available over the last twenty years. He felt that it was critical to add new, relevant information [...] to review the medicinal plants currently used as phytomedicines that were, for the most part, unknown in 1993. [...] I found Dr. Iwu's Handbook of Major African Medicinal Plants impressively detailed and well presented [...] . While Dr. Iwu indicates that this is a book for scientists developing new medicines and practitioners of herbal medicine, I suggest that this is a book that should also be read by Western medical doctors who either work or volunteer their services in rural African clinics and hospitals. [...] I commend the time, energy, and knowledge that Dr. Iwu has invested in both editions of his book. This is a truly valuable resource that I hope will be used prolifically and expanded upon."
– Patricia Rain, The Vanilla Company

Praise for the First Edition:

"The book gives a good description of African medicinal plants and their use within the general African culture [...] . This is an interesting handbook for phytochemists, pharmacologists, anthropologists, or anyone who is interested in African medicinal plants [...] . A pioneer work on African medicinal plants [...] . Our congratulations go to the author and publishers for producing such an interesting book."
– Nigist Asfaw and Sebsebe Demissew, The National Herbarium Science Faculty, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Economic Botany, Vol. 48, No. 1, 1994

"A vast topic, medicinal plants in the wide expanse of Africa, is well covered in this work. Primarily for medical library collections, but will interest anyone concerned with ethnobotany and African culture."
- C.T. Mason, Jr., University of Arizona, as quoted in Choice, June 1994

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See the previous edition

Handbook of African Medicinal Plants

Handbook of African Medicinal Plants provides a comprehensive review of...

NHBS Price: £228.00 $279/€256 approx


Historical Perspective
Current Topics

Catalog of Major African Medicinal Plants (Alphabetical listing)

Pharmacognostical Profile of Selected Medicinal Plants (Alphabetical listing)

Healing and the African Culture
Healing, a Gift of the Spirit
The Restless Spirits
Spirit Possession
Symbols and Artifacts in African Ethnomedicine
Incantations and the Magic Power of the Word
Taboo and Totems

The African Medicine Man
Training of Traditional Healers
Types of Traditional Healers
Trephination or Craniotomy
The Specialist

Medicinal Plants and Traditional Healing Methods
Arthritis and Inflammatory Disorders
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS
Gastrointestinal Disorders
Psychiatric and Psychosomatic Diseases
Convulsions and Epilepsy
Helminthic Infestation
Sterility Medicines
Skin Diseases and Cutaneous Infections
Arrow and Ordeal Poisons

Index of Species, Genera, and Families
Subject Index

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Maurice M. Iwu (M. Pharm., Ph.D. Bradford) was a professor of pharmacognosy at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and a senior research associate at the Division of Experimental Therapeutics of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of the Bioresources Development and Conservation Programme (BDCP), the International Centre for Ethnomedicine and Drug Development (InterCEDD), and Intercedd Health Products. He is a member of the board of directors of Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals (Formerly Pfizer Nigeria).

He has been Visiting Scholar to the Dyson Perrins Laboratory, University of Oxford (1980), Fulbright Senior Scholar Award (Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio and the Department of Chemistry, Columbia University, New York(1983);Senior Research Scholar Award, U.S. National Research Council, Washington D.C.(1993 – 1995) and the Richard Schultes International Prize for Ethnobiology(1999). He was awarded the Doctor of Letters (Honoraris Causa) of the Imo State University (2009).

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