A handy introduction to readily available nostrums, although web-savvy readers may find most, if not all, of this...

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Folk Remedies for the Modern Age

A debut collection of health-based folk remedies using natural items.

“I love simple answers,” writes Canelo, the manager of a holistic healing center in Montclair, N.J., as he introduces this book of ancient and modern remedies. His slim collection proves this assertion with an appealingly brief account of  mixtures, methods and practices dedicated to healing without prescription drugs or conventional treatments. According to the author, vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, sea salt, raw bee products, olive oil, colloidal silver, castor oil and activated charcoal, among other items, form the building blocks for health. However, he also reminds readers “with any serious health problem” to consider his suggestions only after they consult with their “regular health care practitioner and/or medical doctor.” The discoveries here aren’t new; for example, D. C. Jarvis’ Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor's Guide to Good Health espoused the cure-all properties of apple cider vinegar mixed with honey back in 1958. Readers can easily find the identical text and pictures in “Six Air Purifying House Plants” on numerous blogs and Pinterest boards online. Readers may also wonder if the cures proposed here come from the placebo effects or the actual treatments; Canelo supplies little supporting evidence, other than his own testimony. Nonetheless, readers may wish to try his “Sleepy Time Tonic” of apple cider vinegar mixed with freshly boiled water, bee pollen, and lemon juice, or drape a simple black scarf over the face to enhance sleep. It’s true that baking soda and salt clean almost anything, and that using natural ingredients found around the house saves money. Readers may find these natural healing mixtures appealing compared with commercial chemical products; after all, olive oil does wonders for skin and digestion.

A handy introduction to readily available nostrums, although web-savvy readers may find most, if not all, of this information online.

Pub Date: May 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-1482618648

Page Count: 74

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2013

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...

THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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Authoritative and, most helpfully, accessible.

HEALING OUR VILLAGE

A SELF-CARE GUIDE TO DIABETES CONTROL

Self-help guide for diabetes sufferers, mostly in question-and-answer format, with an emphasis on helping racial and ethnic minority diabetics.

Coleman is a pharmacist with a doctorate in her specialty, Gavin a Ph.D. and M.D. Aside from acknowledgments and a foreword signed by Gavin alone, their voices and expertise are indistinguishable, offering lucid, simple solutions for diabetes patients. Gavin relates watching his great-grandmother endure debilitating pain as a result of diabetes while he visited her as a youngster. He remembers hearing adults mention that sugar killed her, and he wondered how something that tasted sweet could cause so much harm. As an adult, he realized that his great-grandmother's affliction could be controlled through treatment. The authors focus on Type 2 diabetes, the most common form in minority populations. An estimated 18.2 million Americans are diabetic, with perhaps 5 million unaware of their situation. About 11 percent of U.S. diabetics are African-American, and about 8 percent are Latino. The question-and-answer format begins with an overview section about diabetes, with an emphasis on risk factors. Section Two covers management of the disease, including nutrition, exercise, blood-testing, oral medications and insulin use. In addition, the authors continually recommend smoking cessation, as well as instructing patients on the readiness of self-treatment. Section Three explains the complications—high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease—that could arise if the condition remains untreated or treated ineffectively. The questions in all of the sections are worded simply, and the answers are usually free of medical jargon. Though the sudden shifts in tone and voice are occasionally jarring, the writing remains clear enough to distill the facts. The real downside here, though: patronizing, laughable illustrations that degrade the overall product.

Authoritative and, most helpfully, accessible.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2004

ISBN: 0-9746948-0-0

Page Count: -

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2010

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