The Crestview Public Library just purchased the latest edition of one of the most vetted reference sources for information on alternative medicine.

Can magnets relieve arthritis pain? Does the scent of lavender calm the nerves? Is St. John's Wort a mood enhancer? Authoritative, objective and in tune with the subjects that matter to students and researchers, Gale presents four volumes of current, unbiased information on alternative and complementary medical practices.

Covering all aspects of the subject through more than 800 entries, “The Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine” identifies types of alternative medicine being practiced today, including reflexology, acupressure, acupuncture, chelation therapy, kinesiology, yoga, chiropractic, Feldenkrais, polarity therapy, detoxification, naturopathy, Chinese medicine, biofeedback, Ayurveda and osteopathy. For the practitioner or interested patient, there are current training requirements, listings of organizations, as well as descriptions of treatments.

Information on recommended therapies for specific disorders and diseases and medicinal uses for plants and herbs are balanced by conclusions of studies on efficacy and analysis of current levels of acceptance by traditional scientists and doctors. Biographies of pioneers in the field -- including Deepak Chopra, Edward Bach and David Palmer --appear as sidebars through the text. Included in each entry are glossary sidebars that define key terms.

The four volumes contain more than 800 entries, approximately 400 color images, and many informative illustrations and charts pertaining to herbs and flowers, therapies and procedures, nutrition, and diseases and conditions. More than 50 new entries were added on topics ranging from cherry juice, modified citrus pectin, oleander, and horticultural therapy; the most existing entries were reviewed and updated, and many new images, charts and illustrations were added.

For additional study, each entry concludes with a listing of other books on the subject (which the library could order for you through interlibrary loan outside of our Okaloosa County Public Library Cooperative) and a listing of organizations dealing with that topic and their contact information.

So from abscess and acai berry to zinc and zone diet, come have a look at the authoritative and fascinating Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine.

 Sandra Dreaden is the Crestview Public Library's reference librarian.