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Book and Media Reviews
July 22 2009

Medical Toxicology of Natural Substances: Foods, Fungi, Medicinal Herbs, Plants, and Venomous Animals

JAMA. 2009;302(4):441-444. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1070

At a time when accessing information on the Internet is seductively easy and the role of hardcopy print books—esthetically pleasing to handle as they may be—is being rethought, a new text occasionally appears that is truly worthy of going into print. Medical Toxicology of Natural Substances is one such volume.

To understand this book is to understand Don Barceloux. The author can be aptly described as a toxicology wonk. His career is marked by a unique thirst for information, which he then deftly synthesizes into highly readable and data-rich publications. He is perhaps best known for the key role he played in the first edition of Medical Toxicology—a book that faltered greatly in its second edition, which was prepared without his participation. Other reviews, such as his series on metals that appeared in Journal of Toxicology—Clinical Toxicology, possess the above characteristics. These are heavily cited in the toxicological literature today.

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