By Ivor Hughes HerbdataNZ
The Pharmageddon Herbal is a unique learning and reference tool for anybody interested in herbal medicine - produced as an interactive CD. The CD is easy to navigate. As you put it into the CD Rom drive it launches itself and displays a splash screen. Enter via the Bookcase link or read the dedication. From there you can take a wild ride by browsing the CD's incredible resources, including herbal monographs, articles on the history of various aspects of herbal medicine or look at the photo gallery. Most impressive though, is the 12 module teaching unit, which guides the student through a complete learning program on how to gather, dry or grow herbs, distill essential oils or make various herbal preparations. It talks about the theory and practice, the art and the science of herbal medicine in a thoroughly holistic voice, taking into consideration sociopolitical as well as ecological aspects that should concern the holistic health practitioner. What I liked about it especially, apart from the wide swathe of interesting topics covered, is its emphasis on phytochemistry, which is the aspect of herbal medicine that seems to be particularly frightful to the novice. The various compounds and terms are explained in detail as are the chemical processes involved in the different extraction techniques etc. In teaching these modules complete ignorance is assumed so that anybody who only slept on one ear through high school chemistry should be able to follow the concepts presented here. In fact, the pharmageddon does not deal with diagnosis or treatment approaches, but rather with the craft of making the actual herbal preparations, which is the part that most common herbals sadly lack. This CD to my mind is an excellent teaching tool for the novice and a great, instantly accessible desktop reference for the experienced herbalist. It even has an internal search engine!
My only minor niggle is that in some documents the font size and type changes in mid-text, which can be irritating - when I first looked at it on my old computer some documents were very difficult to decipher due to the way the browser displayed these font changes - however, this apparently is not a problem on all browsers (the computer I am now working on displays the font changes, but that doesn't obscure the text).
The pharmageddon herbal is available from http://www.herbdatanz.com
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