The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm by Peg Schafer has just been published by Chelsea Green. The author makes a good argument in favor of learning more about Chinese herbs and possibly getting involved in commercial production of them. As a commercial herb grower herself for 15 years, she sees a growing demand for domestic production of herbs. Alternative medicine is increasing in popularity, yet consumers are wary of products from China. So it stands to reason that the demand for U.S.-grown herbs will expand.But can you grow Chinese medicinal herbs here? You might be surprised to find that you already are— especially if you have flower and herb gardens on your farm. As Stephen Foster, the noted herbalist, points out in his introduction to the book, he has identified at least 779 species of Chinese herbs that are grown in American gardens. Some examples include Agastache rugosa (Korean mint), Allium tuberosum (garlic chives), Artemisia annua (sweet Annie), Carthamus tinctorius (safflower), Celosia cristata (cockscomb), Platycodon grandiflorus (balloon flower) and many others. They go by other names in Chinese medicine, but they are the same species as some of our most common garden plants. The book provides details about how to grow 79 of them, what parts are used medicinally, and how to harvest and dry them.The book is not especially strong on the topic of marketing, probably because there are so few people growing Chinese herbs at present. But Peg Schafer has been instrumental in putting together a consortium of herb growers to try to develop the market together. As she points out, there is still much work to be done to figure out where these plants should be grown to provide the most efficacy as medicines. If you are curious about medicinal herbs or Chinese medicine, or want to be knowledgeable about a potential new crop, this book provides a good introduction.