Sunday, April 02, 2006

Captain’s Book Review: “Anti-Aging Prescriptions”

“The Green Pharmacy Anti-Aging Prescriptions: Herbs, Foods, and Natural Formulas to Keep You Young” by James A. Duke and Michael Castleman

The author, Dr. Duke, spent his life working as a botanist with the USDA - much of it spent as chief of the Medicinal Plant Resources Laboratory. So Dr. Duke, PhD, knows about his plants.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. I found the information very useful.

But let me start with a few things I did not like about the book. The book is big – over 500 pages. The book can be repetitive since it is broken up into chapters based on health concerns which people can flip to in no particular order. Dr. Duke is advocating for his way of life (more on this later) – which is impractical for several reasons. First, he is 72 and retired – probably with a comfortable retirement package, not to mention the money he gets for the books he writes and products he endorses. Second, his “Garden of Youth” takes a lot of space, resources, and know-how to build and maintain. Third, many of the plants he grows in his garden are brought from all over the world. Last time I checked, that is a dangerous recipe for invasive species and is illegal. Lastly, eating all the uncommon types of food can be very expensive and sometimes untasty.

Okay, now to the things I like about the book. I like his natural, yet realistic, approach to diseases. He always recommends seeing a doctor for any serious health problems or when there might be a concern with using a natural remedy. I also like all the research he quotes when making his case for his “treatments”. There are times, though, when acknowledges a lack of research – and I agree that sometimes these treatments are not taken seriously and are not researched. He also criticizes that the health industry does not compare alternative treatments (like herbs) with conventional ones (drugs) and that the studies are not as rigorous. Dr. Duke categorizes his book by health conditions – arthritis, impotence, kidney health, menopause, etc… This makes it easy to flip right to the concern of your choice instead of reading the entire book. Like I mentioned above, he repeats a lot of his material so if you do turn to a particular section, you won’t really miss anything.

Here are the three most-mentioned supplements he recommends over and over:
1. Garlic
Dr. Duke seems to think it can treat or prevent almost any disease – it’s listed in almost every section. It lowers cholesterol, is antimicrobial, boosts immune system, and more.
2. Turmeric
It’s an antioxidant, a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory, and a whole bunch of others.
3. Ginger
A close relative to turmeric – enough said.

It’s a great reference book which I will soon add to my library (I originally checked it out from the library). His remedies are worth a try – considering that they usually cost much less than regular meds and have much fewer side effects (does the recent Vioxx scandal ring a bell?).

I plan to blog about health and supplements as a sort of financial investment – stay tuned.


At 12:57 AM, Blogger Abdullah said...

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.

I quit worrying about my health. It'll go away...The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don't want, drink what you don't like, and do what you'd rather not. :/

At 6:23 PM, Blogger CaptnSaj said...

True - your health will fade eventually. But you can greatly delay health problems and live healthy longer.

And of course, like any advice, do your research before acting on it.

At 10:45 PM, Blogger Abdullah said...

That is why we have you, Dr. Captnsaj.

You take care of us, we take care of your computer (Oh wait, you can do that too).

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