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About the book
  • Published: 1 December 2008
  • ISBN: 9781426202933
  • Imprint: National Geographic
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • RRP: $39.99

National Geographic Desk Reference To Nature's Medicine


Formats & editions


For millennia, humans have looked to nature for remedies to ailments great and small. Long before formal science enabled us to take a systematic approach to medicine, healers used plants to alleviate pain, ease the symptoms of dozens of diseases, and treat complaints of every kind. And today, countless people still use medicinal plants, whether in traditional roles or as building blocks for new research and innovative drugs.

Featuring 350 full-colour photographs, botanical drawings, and maps, this accessible, fact-filled book is based on the work of renowned botanical experts and presents alphabetically arranged, beautifully illustrated entries for hundreds of plants touted for thousands of years to soothe, even heal. Each is clearly described, with full details of its physical appearance and medicinal uses; its origins and geographic distribution, how it's harvested and used in conventional and alternative medicine, a range map; and more.

With fascinating medical chronicle filled with informative sidebars on everything from ancient folklore to the latest research, readers learn how aspirin evolved from a concoction of willow bark to the familiar white pill of today, how the foxglove's flowery beauty contributes to the potent heart drug digitalis, and how many other now common treatments have deep historical and cultural roots. It's a journey that starts many centuries ago in remote places like the Amazon rain forest, where shamans practiced their powerful curative magic of plants, and leads to the high-tech pharmaceutical labs of today's scientists working to discover new plant-based drugs that can be used effectively to treat diseases major and minor alike, from cancer to the common cold.

  • Pub date: 1 December 2008
  • ISBN: 9781426202933
  • Imprint: National Geographic
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • RRP: $39.99

About the Authors

Rebecca Johnson

Rebecca Johnson is an award-winning Australian author, part-time primary school science teacher and mother of two. In 2015 she received the Prime Minister's Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools. In 2010 Rebecca received the Peter Doherty Award for Excellence in Science Teaching.

The 'Juliet' series won the Environmental Award for Children's literature in 2014 (Bush Baby Rescue) and 2017 (Rainforest Camp), been nominated for the CBCA younger readers section (2014 and 2015), and nominated for the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature (2014). This series will soon be published in Norwegian, Czech, Slovak and Portuguese.

Her best-selling series of page-turning adventures featuring Australian wildlife (Steve Parish Storybook Collection) has sold more than 3 million copies and will soon be published in Mandarin. Her Insect Series (published by Pascal Press) was Winner of the 2014 Whitley Commendation for Best Educational Series.


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