'The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm' Book Review


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Chinese Medicinal Garden Book Cover 

If you are a gardener or farmer in North America thinking of growing Asian medicinal herbs, mostly Chinese, The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm: a Cultivator’s Guide to Small-Scale Organic Herb Production was written for you. It’s both a how-to and reference guide. If you consume or prescribe Chinese medicinal herbs and want to understand why your growing them regeneratively is crucial (hopefully you do!), chapters one, two, and five are for you. This substantial book is colorful, beautifully laid-out, and easy to read.

The popularity of Chinese medicine has exploded all over the world. Demand for Chinese medicinal herbs has outstripped supply of plants harvested traditionally, ie. from the wild and in an ecologically renewable manner. This is partly due to sheer volume of clients, but also to dwindling intact wild ecosystems in China and other countries traditionally harvesting them. Supply is also down due to urbanization, pollution, over-harvesting, and climate change--like everywhere.

To remedy this situation, China has started farming medicinal plants as monoculture crops, but is said to use pesticides. Even organic medicinals, when tested on arrival in the U.S. can show pesticide levels higher than the standard, likely due to drift. In addition, traditional Chinese medicine is wild-foraged, not monocropped. Traditional germplasm does not respond on command to huge-scale commercial agricultural regimentation like long-cultivated crops.

Furthermore, when the dried medicinal herbs finally arrive in North America after weeks of storm-tossed sea travel, these weary travelers are often the worse for wear, testing out with lower levels of medicinal properties than a plant grown closer to the end user.



We are in a great transition here, everyone trying to do what they can to ensure these plants thrive with the medical efficacy expected of them.





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