Book Review: The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia

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Authors: Linda Woolven and Ted Snider
Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside
Book Publication: 2011

Philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau believed that “nature did her best each moment to make us well,”  and furthermore, that we should not resist her. The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia makes it easy to comply with nature’s wishes.

Written by Ted Snider and Toronto-based herbalist and acupuncturist Linda Woolven, this is a comprehensive and scientific work containing a trove of remedies and simple-to-follow advice on living a longer, healthier and happier life, naturally. It is easy to understand, fascinating to read, and an excellent introduction to the wonders of herbal medicine.

Divided into five sections (children, family, women, men, and seniors’ health) and arranged alphabetically for easy reference, each entry reveals important and often surprising information on common health conditions. Candida, ulcers, acne, diabetes, addictions, ear infections, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, colds and ‘flu are just a few of the over 150 topics covered.

Many sections contain charts comparing natural remedies with pharmaceutical drugs or placebos. It will perhaps come as no surprise to readers that the natural approach is often found to be as effective (or more so) as conventional drugs, with fewer dangerous side effects.

The entry on ulcers is one of many that convey the power of natural medicine. We learn that one in 10 people suffer from ulcers; that ulcer medications are among the top-selling drugs in the world; and that the best ulcer treatment is not a drug, but an herb which has been used for thousands of years – licorice.

According to the authors, licorice is better than conventional ulcer medications such as cimitidine, ranitidine and antacids. “And unlike the drugs, licorice actually heals the ulcer: it improves the protective lining of the intestines, and once the ulcer has healed, licorice allows fewer relapses than the drugs do,” they write.

Some of the other natural healing marvels discussed in The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia include: Selenium and vitamins C and D for breast and other cancers; chickweed for skin conditions; kava kava for anxiety; goldenseal and astragalus (my favourites) for strengthening the immune system; and ginkgo biloba for Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition to herbal medicines, the book recommends vitamins and supplements, lifestyle and diet changes, exercise and acupuncture for their natural healing properties. Exercise for depression, acupuncture for pain, and a high-fibre diet for diverticulitis are some examples cited.

Unfortunately, many of the remedies featured in this extraordinary work have not been widely publicized. A case in point is the Swank Diet. Discovered over 50 years ago, this diet has been shown to stop or reverse deterioration in 94% of newly diagnosed cases of relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis.

This book contains the knowledge needed to avoid most illnesses or treat them with safe and effective natural herbs, vitamins and changes to diet and lifestyle. The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia will provide you and your family with invaluable guidance as you seek a natural approach to wellness.

S

Susannah Kent is a Toronto area Fitness and Healthy Lifestyle Instructor.

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