Books for Nature Lovers
Mind-altering and Poisonous Plants of the World
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Review By: Landscape - February 2009

Most cultures of the world have learnt to avoid poisonous plants and mushrooms or to use them with discretion, but many are still widely used as traditional medicine for their therapeutic value in the treatment of diseases. Hazardous plants are commonly used as garden ornamentals, pot plants or florist flowers and many people are no longer aware of the inherent dangers posed by toxic plants or medicines derived from them. Also included in this illustrated guide are plants causing irritation and inflammation of the skin. A special focus is on psychoactive plants which can have stimulant, sedative, hypnotic, narcotic and hallucinogenic properties such as coca, opium and cannabis. This guide gives al the well-known poisonous and mind-altering plants of the world and is presented as a compact, colourful and scientifically accurate reference text. It covers more than 1200 of the most important plants that people are likely to be exposed to. The information covers the plants' diagnostic characters, region of origin and distribution, active ingredients, toxicity, symptoms of intoxication and possible modes of action. Each monograph provides information on first aid treatment and there are more than 550 colour photos to facililtate plant identification.

The authors are Michael Wink and Ben-Erik van Wyk. Wink is a professor of pharmaceutical biology and a director of the Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. Van Wyk is a professor of botany at the University of Johannesburg. 

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