Book Review: Medicinal Plants in Australia

Australia is a massive pharmacy store, where some very useful plants grow in our streets, reserves and gardens.

Enter Cheryll Williams’ world of potent plants used for healing and eating.

There’s so much quackery and conflicting advice about medicinal plants the internet, this major reference book is a welcome antidote and scientific update.

‘Medicinal Plants in Australia’ informs about beneficial plants and it’s rich content will undoubtedly enthuse gardeners to reflect and reconsider the edible and ornamental plants around them. I’ve discovered I’ve squandered time, money and resources, innocently growing voodoo lilies for their scented blooms, and giving away my surplus instead of eating it. This revelation is the tip of the iceberg.

Should we let kids put more tomato sauce on their pies? If you get stung by a jellyfish in tropical Australia, which beach plant could you turn to for immediate pain relief? It’s hard to imagine a GP prescribing a gum tree to remedy influenza, yet compounds isolated by bioprospectors from Black Ash (Eucalyptus sieberiana) eventually lead to the development of Tamiflu.

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Williams uses plain English, plus a few fancy terms, to explain which home remedies work, which plants to avoid, and why. Delve into the history of plant exploration, ancient knowledge of chemistry, and the latest from modern medicine. Will Queensland Tacca supersede the taco? Which chrysanthemum sustains good eyesight in the elderly? How can ivy cause sunburn?

Gardeners and cooks in home or community gardens, pet or livestock owners, first aid and safety officers now have dozens of practical remedies and new crops to protect health and expand their menus.

Inspiring, informative and, possibly, addictive.

Jerry Coleby-Williams
13th September 2012

‘Medicinal Plants in Australia’Volume 3 – Plants, Potions and Poisons. Cheryll Williams, Rosenberg Publishing,
ISBN 9781921719165, 2012