Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Garden Allies by Frederique Lavoipierre

Book cover
Garden Allies
by Frederique Lavoipierre

ISBN-13: 9781643260082
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Timber Press
Released: Sept. 28, 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
The birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects that inhabit our yards and gardens are overwhelmingly on our side—they are not our enemies, but instead our allies. They pollinate our flowers and vegetable crops, and they keep pests in check.

In Garden Allies, Frédérique Lavoipierre shares fascinating portraits of these creatures, describing their life cycles and showing how they keep the garden’s ecology in balance. Also included is helpful information on how to nurture and welcome these valuable creatures into your garden. With beautiful pen-and-ink drawings by Craig Latker, Garden Allies invites you to make friends with the creatures that fill your garden.

My Review:
Garden Allies talks about the different types of insects and animals that you might find in a garden. It's not really a practical, how-to gardening guide since the focus wasn't really on the garden but on the animals that you might find there (and elsewhere). The author talked about various categories of animals and wrote a few pages about each category (like worms, bees, wasps, flies, beetles, etc.). It covered things like nesting habits, what they eat, social behavior, and why gardeners might appreciate having them in the garden. Each section ended with profile-type information: their official names, what they look like, etc. Black and white drawings of the mentioned critters were sometimes included, but I didn't find them particularly helpful in terms of insect identification. Overall, I'd recommend this book to those interested in learning more about garden animals.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Pain Erasers by Michelle Schoffro Cook

Book cover
Pain Erasers
by Michelle Schoffro Cook

ISBN-13: 9781953295514
Kindle: 272 pages
Publisher: BenBella Books
Released: September 21st 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
If you’re struggling with chronic or acute pain, you may find that commonly prescribed medications are often expensive, and often ineffective. They can also lead to unwanted side-effects or serious drug interactions. That’s where Pain Erasers can help. This long-awaited guide to drug-free pain relief offers a wide variety of natural alternatives to help you take control of your pain—and ultimately, your life.

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM, a trusted natural medicine expert, will reveal new ways to naturally erase your pain, often permanently! You’ll discover dozens of natural painkillers, from a little-known but highly effective resin from the rainforest, along with such standbys as ginger and turmeric. And to boost the effects of these remedies, you’ll get helpful tips on how to change your diet and lifestyle for optimal health and pain and inflammation management.

Because not every remedy works on every type of pain, Dr. Schoffro Cook guides readers through the best methods for specific conditions, such as back pain, fibromyalgia, joint pain, migraines and headaches, neck pain, plantar fasciitis, temporomandibular joint syndrome, tendonitis, trigeminal neuralgia, whiplash, and more.

My Review:
Pain Erasers talked about some natural remedies for pain. She focused mostly on using essential oils and strongly favored using the doTerra brand. However, she did have an informative section at the end which talked about making changes in your diet to promote anti-inflammatory foods and remove inflammatory foods as well as suggested some useful supplements. She started by telling her story and then doing short profiles on different types of pain. In these profiles, she briefly described the problem and listed the best remedies for that type of pain. For most of the problems, there was a lot of overlap on which were the best remedies (which is probably good news).

She then went into greater depth about each of these remedies. For each profile, she gave the common name as well as the Latin name, a brief history about the herb's use, some scientific information about how it works and how effective it is, information on how to use it as an herb or essential oil, and safety considerations like whether it's safe to ingest and how to safely do that. She also briefly explained other things the herb is good for.

In the safety section, she seemed to start with the exact same warning with only the herb's name changed. I thought it was odd that she was so concerned with dangerous solvent residues in the essential oils. Almost all of her suggested essential oils are steam distilled, so the solvent is water. Also, oregano oil is usually the herb steeped in an oil for some time, the herb strained out, and the oil ingested with food. This is not meant to be deceptive (as she implies) as they don't claim it's an ESSENTIAL oil. Even if an essential oil comes diluted in a carrier oil, they should clearly list that on the bottle.

I've already been using a number of these remedies for my rheumatoid arthritis pain. I generally felt like I knew more about the essential oils than she did. However, this is a good source of information for someone new to the topic of using essential oils and diet for pain relief.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Herbal Antivirals, 2nd Edition by Stephen Harrod Buhner

Book cover
Herbal Antivirals, 2nd Edition
by Stephen Harrod Buhner

ISBN-13: 9781635864175
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Released: August 31st 2021

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Viruses are smart, mutating, and becoming resistant to antiviral pharmaceuticals. Global crises such as COVID-19, SARS, and dengue feaver spread more quickly than we can develop medicines to fight them. Herbalist and best-selling author Stephen Harrod Buhner has studied the antiviral properties of plants for many years. In this comprehensive guide, he profiles the plants that have proven most effective in fighting viral infections and provides in-depth instructions for preparing and using formulations to address the most common infections and strengthen immunity, safely and naturally. The updated 2nd edition includes an expanded guide to COVID-19, including a review of the most up-to-date medical research and the plant medicines that have been found to be most potent in preventing infection, lessening the impact of the virus on the body, and addressing longer-term effects and co-infections.

My Review:
Herbal Antivirals, 2nd Edition describes the mode of action of different types of viral infections and how different herbs work to prevent these viral infections. The author began with a look at several types of viruses (influenza, coronaviruses, viral encephalitis, etc.). He provided some history about the disease, very detailed information about how that type of viral infection acts on the body, how different herbs block specific modes of action by the virus (thus helping stop the virus), and the dosing and herbs used for different stages of infection. He strongly suggested the use of tinctures as the best way to get a high enough dosing to be effective.

The information on COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 was written in August 2020, over a year ago, and much of what was predicted (and included in this book) hasn't turn out to be as bad a predicted. I don't know if this section will be further updated before the publish date, but I didn't find a long section of what felt like panic propaganda to be very useful. He did include information about how the virus acted on the body and what herbs should help treat it.

The main, second section profiled several of the most useful antiviral herbs. The author described the common and Latin names of the medicinal herbs, the parts used for antiviral action, the dosage (usually as tinctures, but also powder or decoction), potential side effects, contraindications, herb/drug or herb/herb interactions, a list of medicinal actions, what it can be used to treat, the plant's chemistry, traditional uses, and scientific research on the herbs effectiveness against viruses and such. He also provided information about the plant in general, the habitat where the plant naturally grows and can be harvested, how to grow it, and where to buy it. He ended by describing some other ways (nutrition, some other herbs, etc.) to support the immune system and fight viral infections.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Toxic Legacy by Stephanie Seneff

Book cover
Toxic Legacy
by Stephanie Seneff

ISBN-13: 9781603589307
Hardcover: 262 pages
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Company
Released: June 1st 2021

Source: Bought.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
From an MIT scientist, mounting evidence that the active ingredient in the world’s most commonly used weedkiller is contributing to skyrocketing rates of chronic disease.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup, the most commonly used weedkiller in the world. Nearly 300 million pounds of glyphosate-based herbicide are sprayed on farms―and food―every year. Agrochemical companies claim that glyphosate is safe for humans, animals, and the environment. But emerging scientific research on glyphosate’s deadly disruption of the gut microbiome, its crippling effect on protein synthesis, and its impact on the body’s ability to use and transport sulfur―not to mention several landmark legal cases― tells a very different story.

In Toxic Legacy, senior research scientist Stephanie Seneff, PhD, delivers compelling evidence based on countless published, peer-reviewed studies. Readers will discover the uniquely toxic nature of glyphosate; how glyphosate disrupts the microbiome, leading to gut dysbiosis, autoimmunity, neurodegeneration, and more; why we’re seeing a rise in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, infertility, depression, and anxiety; glyphosate’s role in soil degeneration, water contamination, and threats to wildlife and biodiversity; and important nutritional guidance for conscientious consumers who want to avoid glyphosate-contaminated foods and improve their health.

As Rachel Carson did with DDT in the 1960’s, Stephanie Seneff sounds the alarm on glyphosate, giving you guidance on simple, powerful changes you can make right now and essential information you need to protect your health, your family’s health, and the planet on which we all depend.

My Review:
Toxic Legacy describes how glyphosate is harmful to human health. The book is suitable both for scientists and non-scientists, but it can get technical. The author described in detail the mechanisms for how glyphosate does it's damage in a way that will convince scientists. She tried to describe the detailed scientific information in a way that the common person can follow (especially if you have some science background), but she also summarized her main points at the end of each section in a way that anyone can understand. The first few chapters and the last one are the easiest to understand, and the last chapter focused on what you can do to avoid the harm caused by glyphosate. Many of these suggestions are diet related, like buy Certified Organic food to minimalize glyphosate residue. While not the easiest read, I'd still highly recommend this important book to everyone and I've bought some additional copies to give to family members.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

The Plant Propagator's Bible by Miranda Smith

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The Plant Propagator's Bible
by Miranda Smith

ISBN-13: 9780760369791
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Cool Springs Press
Released: June 29th 2021

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
With easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions, veteran horticulture teacher Miranda Smith provides a complete reference showing every step for cultivating new plants—whether from seed or cuttings or with techniques such as layering, grafting, and budding.

Propagating new plants from existing ones is not only sustainable but also rewarding for gardeners of all skill levels. The Plant Propagator's Bible offers a solid and complete, go-to reference for expert gardeners but is also a perfect primer for the novice plant lover and horticulturalist. Smith teaches readers, with the support of hundreds of full-color photos and detailed illustrations, the natural process and conditions in which plants grow and reproduce, and shows gardeners how to use these systems to propagate any plant that grows in their garden or greenhouse—or even on their windowsill.

The book features a detailed, step-by-step illustrations and annotated photographs, "What Can Go Wrong" advice explaining potential problems and how to prevent or fix them, and an A to Z directory of more than 1,000 individual plant species—with appropriate propagation techniques for aquatics, ornamental plants, houseplants, shrubs, trees, vegetables, and wildflowers.

My Review:
The Plant Propagator's Bible described many different plant propagation techniques. The first part of the book detailed these various techniques and included a general description of each technique, a list of plants that it works on, step-by-step instructions and illustrations showing how to do the technique, and brief advice about how to handle what can go wrong. The techniques included starting from seeds (including soaking, scarification, stratification, etc.), dividing plants, taking cuttings, layering, and grafting. The book also contained a plant directory for flowering plants and ornamentals, which included information on where the plant is grown, the easiest way to propagate it, other methods that can be used, and potential problems specific to that plant.

I thought that the step-by-step section did a good job of showing how to do the technique. I've done some of these in the past, and I'll try some new ones in the future. I was a little disappointed that the focus seemed to be on non-food plants since the subtitle mentioned "every plant in your garden." I also sometimes felt that the author made propagation sound more difficult than it is. For example, years ago I bought morning glory seeds, simply planted them, and the resulting morning glories have been reseeding themselves in the same spot for years without any action on my part. According to this book, though, you need to scarify the seeds in order to get them to sprout. Overall, I recommend this informative book to anyone interested in learning new plant propagation techniques.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Monday, July 26, 2021

The Zero Waste Garden by Ben Raskin

Book cover
The Zero Waste Garden
by Ben Raskin

ISBN-13: 9780711262331
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: White Lion Publishing
Released: April 20th 2021

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Organic gardening expert, Ben Raskin, shares over 60 unique planning-for-yield guides for key crops. Work out how to make the most of the green space you have got, what to grow easily in it, and how much you will harvest seasonally for zero waste.

Learn how to plant waste-free for any size plot, from balcony containers to 5-metre-square yards. Peppered with root-to-stalk cooking tips, including which crops you can eat straight away, this is a plot-to-plate book for everyone with a green-thumb. Perfect for new and experienced growers, vegans, zero-food waste followers, city gardeners, and the ecologically minded.

My Review:
Hot Button focused on how to make the most of your gardening space and minimalize the waste when using the plants. The author very briefly covered a lot of different gardening techniques. It's enough to get you interested but you'd have to read other books to really learn how to do these techniques. He talked about crop rotation, green manure, interplanting, undersowing, choosing efficient crops, and correct spacing for the crops (including estimates of how closely they can be planted and still give a good yield). He also talked about ways to store the plants after harvest (freezing, drying, fermenting). He then gave profiles on a lot of common garden plants and included information on how much space each plant takes, how much food you get off the plant, growing tips, when do harvest, how to use every useful part of the plant, and how to store the excess harvest for future use. I felt like this was more for a beginner gardener, especially one with limited space, but it doesn't really go into pest or disease control. Its strength is information on minimalizing food waste.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Monday, July 19, 2021

A Mudlark's Treasures by Ted Sandling

Book cover
A Mudlark's Treasures
by Ted Sandling

ISBN-13: 9780593197882
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Aurum Press
Released: June 22nd 2021

Source: review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Mudlarking, the act of searching the Thames foreshore for items of value, has a long tradition in England's capital. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, mudlarks were small boys grubbing a living from scrap. Today’s mudlarks unearth relics of the past from the banks of the Thames which tell stories of Londoners throughout history. From Roman tiles to elegant Georgian pottery, presented here are modern-day mudlark Ted Sandling's most evocative finds, gorgeously photographed. Together they create a mosaic of everyday London life through the centuries, touching on the journeys, pleasures, vices, industries, adornments and comforts of a world city. This unique and stunning book celebrates the beauty of small things, and makes sense of the intangible connection that found objects give us to the individuals who lost them.

My Review:
A Mudlark's Treasures is about the types of things that can be found on the banks of the Thames, specifically the finds that the author has made. These objects span a long period of time, from before the founding of London to nearly present day. He focused on historical objects. After an introduction describing what mudlarking was in the past and is in the present, he talked about his finds. He put them in groupings of similar types. He briefly described the object found and then gave about a page and a half of information about it and when it was made. The only pictures were those on the cover, and they were small and not very high definition. Numbers labeled what they were and when they were made, and these were later described in the book. However, these were only about half of the total finds that he talked about. Part of the reason I got the book was because I was interested in actually seeing what these objects look like (even in a broken state), so I was disappointed. However, I did enjoy learning the history behind these objects.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.