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Tyler's Honest Herbal

Tyler's Honest Herbal
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Professor Varro Tyler passed away in August 2001. As a reply to those critics of the following essay who have suggested it constitutes a personal attack on Professor Tyler and as a mark of respect for his passing, Bookworm wishes to point out that while the essay below is indeed intended as a strong critique of the Honest Herbal, (and by most accounts succeeds in so doing) it is not and was never intended as, a critique of the man himself. Throughout his career, Tyler sought to promote the "rational" use of herbal medicine. In the opinion of the Bookworm, the Honest Herbal was, and remains in its recent edition, a book that was misconceived enough that it has more often been invoked by the opponents and conservative critics of herbal medicine, than its supporters. This would suggest that Tyler was a complex and paradoxical figure, whose appeals to conservatism and scientific rationalism may not necessarily have had the effect he desired. The following Bookworm essay is only as controversial as Tyler's text. In the end, both are marked by passion...a characteristic perhaps shared by Tyler and the Bookworm both.

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