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(eBook) Encyclopedia of Herbs and Mind Enhancing Foods Drugs (2000)

(eBook) Encyclopedia of Herbs and Mind Enhancing Foods Drugs (2000)

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Published by: mustangdev on Apr 29, 2009
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Encyclopedia of Mind Enhancing Foods, Drugs and Nutritional Substances
Hardback; Book224 pagesMcFarland & Company, Inc.
Book Description
It seems as though every day brings a new pill or potion claiming to restore mental
alertness or improve memory. While many of these claims are based on factual information,
many others are not. This encyclopedia of foods and drugs that are believed to improve
mental performance contains information on nearly 400 nutrients, herbs, and drugs, ranging
from ancient plant compounds to the latest pharmaceuticals. Entries are arranged by type
of substance, such as foods, vitamins, minerals, spices, and medical drugs. Each entrycontains information such as alternate names and forms, sources, results, side effects,
precautions, and recommended dosage. Although readers are encouraged to consult with their
doctors before diagnosing and treating themselves, this book provides crucial, factual,
and unbiased information on the "miracle drugs" that many people believe can solve healthproblems from fatigue to Alzheimer's. Readers can discover for themselves the properties ofeach substance. A complete index allows for easy reference and help with alternate names,food and drug interactions, and symptoms.
Author:Group, David W.Published:November 2000786408537ISBN:0
The brain is a physical organ just like the heart or lungs or liver and, as such, its functioning can beaffected by our environment, particularly the substances we put in our bodies. I first became aware of smart drugs from an article in Omni magazine some twenty years ago while I was attending college.It was also at that time that I was becoming aware of health foods, and the article so impressed methat, while other students were taking speed and No-Doz to cram for exams, I was gobbling hand-fulsof vitamins. While my approach was undoubtedly too haphazard and belated to have had much effect,it certainly set me on the right path.But it wasn't until a few years ago that a number of books began coming out extolling the virtues of synthetic drugs that could actually reverse aging, prevent Alzheimer's, or improve the functioning of the brain. I began taking notes, thinking the information, when summarized, would amount to nomore than a few dozen pages. Even though I only worked on it occasionally and in my spare time, itdidn't take long for the research to swell to its current size.My enthusiasm for the project was tempered by the fact that many of these books downplayed orignored the side effects of these drugs, some of which were quite serious. Compounding myfrustration was the fact that none was very comprehensive and none could be used for easy referenceby the reader. I vowed to remedy that situation. The result is this book, which deals with over 400various substances ranging from basic foods to the newest wonder drugs, from the mostcommonplace substances to the most obscure — by far the most complete work on the subject.The chapters are arranged progressively, beginning with the safest and most natural substances andending with synthetic drugs and additives that are experimental and potentially hazardous.The entries for the substances are alphabetized by popular name within the appropriate chapter, andinclude such information as alternative names and forms (scientific, brand names, and so forth),sources (such as foods), effects (benefits), precautions (side effects, interactions, overdosage, medicalconditions that may render the substance ineffective or toxic), and dosage. In the interest of brevity, Ihave eliminated much of the history, folklore, background, and detailed analysis of individual studies,dealing only with that information that can help the reader evaluate each substance.This book does not contain a discussion of how the brain works and the various theories of aging.Neither does it deal with all the vitamins and nutritional supplements required by the human body—only those that have more-or-less direct effects on the brain. It should also be noted that all of thesubstances mentioned in this book are secondary to the two most important brain-boosters: physicalexercise and mental exercise. It is essential to keep challenging yourself throughout life so that themind and body remain in peak condition.It seems rather ironic that, with new strides in medical and nutritional science enabling us to livelonger and more productive lives, most people would rather not live to a ripe old age. This fear of oldage is based on a basic misconception — that the elderly are invariably frail in mind and body. Toooften, however, the ravages of age are no more than the accumulated results of a lifetime of poorhealth habits. Though some decline in abilities is inevitable, the picture is not as dire as it was oncethought.Though smart-drug proponents and the media will often tout a particular substance as a new "wonderdrug," the truth is that there is probably no such thing. The human mind — not to mention the humanbody and the process of aging — is too complex for any single pill to be considered a cure-all, asthere are inevitable side effects of any medicine, natural or man-made. The Fountain of Youth is notso much a single herb, or vitamin, or pill, but a way of life, a holistic view that takes into account allaspects of nutrition and health.

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