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In 1812, when Napoleon was on the retreat from Moscow, a young man called Henry Potter was hanging a sign above his premises in Farringdon Street, London. The sign read: Seedsman, Herbalist and Dealer in Leeches . He could never have imagined that he had just begun what was to become Europe's largest and most famous Herbal Medicine manufacturer. Potter's New Cyclopaedia has been accepted world-wide as the authority on plant drugs ever since it was first published in 1907; used as a source of reference by medical scientists, clinicians and laymen alike. To produce a new edition of this monumental work was a daunting task, t only because of the eminent status of the previous editions but particularly in the present climate of renewed interest in herbal drugs. Nevertheless, Dr Williamson has retained the practical and philosophical traditions of the book whilst, at the same time, documenting recent scientific and medical research. This book is unique in the English language and this new and enlarged edition will ensure that it will continue to be an invaluable point of reference for all those with a belief in the power of plants.
Dr Williamson is Senior Lecturer in Pharmacognosy at the London School of Pharmacy, and editor of the journal Phytotherapy Research .