Back of the Book
The stress and strain of modern-day living takes its toll on our mind and body. Lack of time and patience make us resort to methods which provide instant relief and often we forget that the answer to a problem is effective cure. Modern medicine has made many discoveries yet the side effects of many of the wonder drugs cannot be ignored. This book, on medicinal plants and their healing powers, is a compilation of articles written for Asian Age by the author. The articles are interesting and informative and throw light on the little known facts about various herbs.
What makes this book stand out amongst countless number of books on alternative medicine is that the healing properties of each medicinal plant has been explained in detail, and many of them are taken from ancient traditional books on medicine of the Indian as well as the Chinese culture. The readers are also made aware about the importance of the many treasured herbs and also the issue of patent regarding the same. A fountain of knowledge on medicinal plants, this book is a must for professional as well as personal collection.
Padma Shri Prof. Ranjit Roy Chaudhury is one of the leading clinical pharmacologists in the country. He was the Head of the Department of Pharmacology and Dean at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, where he initiated the D.M. Course in Clinical Pharmacology. He has important positions in the World Health Organisation for fifteen years.
Currently Prof. Roy Chaudhury is Emeritus Scientist at the National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, and UNESCO Professor of Rational Use of Drugs at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. He is also the President of the Delhi Medical Council, Coordinator of the India-Who Programme on Essential Drugs and Chairman of the National Sub commission in Macroeconomics and Health.
Prof. Roy Chaudhury has written several books and received many national and international honours, the UNESCO UNITWIN award (2002) and K.N. UDUPA award (2003) being the latest.
When the newspaper Asian Age was first brought out in 1994, on 16 February, I was invited to write a fortnightly column on Alternative Medicine for the newspaper. I did this for one year.
The articles I wrote in the column brought readers closer to medicinal plants and I received many letters from people asking either for more information or for help regarding their problems. These articles covered a wide range of subjects. The article on "Spices from your kitchen cabinet have medicinal properties also" elicited widespread interest. The public was informed about the anti-fatigue properties of the plant Trichphus zeylanicus, discovered by the Kani tribes. This is now available in the market as a medicine.
An article entitled "India should get a patent on haldi as an anti-inflammatory drug" was printed well before two scientists in USA obtained a patent, which was then challenged by the Government of India. After spending an enormous amount of effort and money, India won the case. All this could have been avoided had heed been paid to this article.
It is gratifying to note that the plants mentioned in the article "Plants can increase resistance to AIDS" are now being clinically evaluated for their beneficial effect on AIDS. The first article "Ancient Chinese text provides a new cure for malaria" was prophetic. Today, the three most effective drugs for treatment of malaria available to modern medicine are from Artemesia annua.
The use of medicinal plants in South America described in "Healing practices of Amazonian Indians" and the article on "Western medicinal plants are equally effective" brought to the Indian public information about medicinal plants used abroad.
The present-day public will find the topics described in these columns interesting. It is for this reason that these fortnightly column write-ups have now been brought together in this publication entitled Herbs for Health and Healing.
I am grateful to the Editor-in-Chief of Asian Age, Mr. M.J. Akbar, for granting me permission to publish these articles as a book. I hope that the readers today find this compilation as interesting and informative as the articles were to the readers of Asian Age.
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