FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY: Herbal medicine’s effectiveness examined in library acquisition |

FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY: Herbal medicine’s effectiveness examined in library acquisition

“The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines” hardly sounds like a little light reading from the Truckee Library’s reference section.

But if you’re interested in herbal remedies, it may be an essential reference book. Although herbs have been used for their curative powers as long as humans have been around, there has been a new focus in this country on the use of herbs in the last couple of decades.

Because herbs are “natural,” we often assume that, even if they don’t effect a cure, they can do no harm.

Most pharmaceuticals are synthesized from “natural” plants and herbs, and we are aware of the dangers of combining incompatible drugs in our systems.

The same can be true for natural plant or herbal remedies.

As more and more Americans turn to alternative methods of healing and herbal remedies, “The Complete German Commission E Monographs” is important reading.

Germany is the only country in the world that has developed a mechanism to assure the safety and efficacy of phytomedicines. In 1978, the Federal Health Agency established an expert committee on herbs and plant-derived medicines. This Commission E was composed of physicians, pharmacists, pharmacologists, toxicologists and lay persons, and their assessment process is independent of the FHA.

Unlike our own FDA which evaluates drugs in a passive manner based on information from the manufacturer, Commission E actively checks data from clinical trials, field studies, single cases and scientific literature. With this kind of evaluation process, the reasonable certainty of the safety and efficacy of the herb can be established.

“The Complete German Commission E Monographs” is a collection of these reports or monographs, representing the most accurate information in the world on the efficacy of plant and herbal medicines.

The section on each herb includes its composition, uses, contra-indications, side effects, interactions with other drugs and dosage.

For instance, are you aware that photosensitivity is a possible side effect of St. John’s Wort? Or that progressive systemic diseases such as tuberculosis and multiple sclerosis are contraindications in the use of Echinacea? Or that Saw Palmetto relieves only the symptoms associated with an enlarged prostate without reducing the enlargement?

The American Botanical Council took it upon themselves to translate “The Complete German Commission E Monographs,” which Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., calls, “accurate, responsible, authoritative.”

If you’re currently using herbs or are considering the use of herbs, have a look at this valuable book in the reference section at the Truckee Library.

Special Programs for Children

— Between the Lions

A PBS Reading Skills Program for ages 4-7, Wednesdays, 4 p.m., Feb. 7 to March 28

Regular Children’s Programs

— Saturday Morning Storytelling

For ages 3 to 7, Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. at the library, with Mrs. Fix from Church of the Mountains Preschool

— Friday Storytime

For ages 3 to 5; Fridays, 10:30 a.m. at the library

Joanne Stacher will bring her trained animals to Storytime on March 2, 16 and 30 and April 13 to introduce preschoolers to the hows, whys and whens of interacting with pets.

— Tuesday Toddlertime

For ages 3 and under; Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m. at the library

Truckee Library

10031 Levone Avenue


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