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Chemist, formulator, and college instructor, Robert S. Rister grew up on a farm on which his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents had grown medicinal herbs in the same garden. For the last 25 years, Robert has focused his professional life on helping people with limited resources make the most of modern opportunities for health care.

Rister was the editor one of the editors of The Complete German Commission E Monographs, which was for a time the world's most widely cited modern scientific reference on herbal medicine. and is the author or co-author of twenty other books on natural health and the philosophy of science, including Japanese Herbal Medicine: The Healing Art of Kampo and Medicine of the Five Rings.