The use of herbal medicine is widespread and growing, with as many as 3 in 10 Americans using botanical remedies in a given year. Because many herbal medicines have significant pharmacological activity, and thus potential adverse effects and drug interactions, healthcare professionals must be familiar with this therapeutic modality. This article summarizes the history and current use of plant-based medicine and highlights the evidence of the risks and benefits associated with 6 plants: echinacea, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, St John's wort, and valerian.
A reflection on the scientific behavior of adherents of conventional medicine toward one form of alternative medicine-homeopathy-teaches us that physicians do reject seemingly solid evidence because it is not compatible with theory. Further reflection, however, shows that physicians do the same within conventional medical science: Sometimes they discard a theory because of new facts, but at other times they cling to a theory despite the facts. This essay highlights the seeming contradiction and discusses whether it still permits the building of rational medical science.
BACKGROUND: To investigate the methodological quality of randomized controlled trials in three areas of complementary medicine. METHODS: The methodological quality of 207 randomized trials collected for five previously published systematic reviews on homeopathy, herbal medicine (Hypericum for depression, Echinacea for common cold), and acupuncture (for asthma and chronic headache) was assessed using a validated scale (the Jadad scale) and single quality items.
BACKGROUND: There is increasing evidence for the extensive use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by patients with psoriasis. Clinical research in the arena of CAM and psoriasis treatment is evolving and includes some randomized controlled trials. OBJECTIVE: To study CAM use among patients with psoriasis attending a dermatology clinic in a major university hospital in northern Israel. Prevalence, reasons for CAM use and its relevance to doctor-patient communication were emphasized.
Complementary/alternative therapies are popular with women who have premenstrual syndrome. This systematic review was designed to determine whether use of such therapies is supported by evidence of effectiveness from rigorous clinical trials. Trials were located through searching 7 databases and checking the reference lists of articles. Randomized controlled trials investigating a complementary/alternative therapy in women with premenstrual syndrome published in the peer-reviewed literature were included in the review.
OBJECTIVES: The purpose is to examine what is known about the efficacy of selected complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies for pain from arthritis and related conditions based on systematic reviews and meta-analyses. METHODS: Results specifically related to pain were retrieved from review articles of acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal remedies, and selected nutritional supplements.
BACKGROUND: Owing to the stigma associated with sexually transmitted infections, patients may prefer to keep their illness private, and choose instead to try self-treatment remedies from the internet. However, such remedies may prove hazardous if the sellers do not provide detailed advice on adverse effects, or on avoiding transmission and re-infection. We conducted an internet search to determine the availability of treatments for STIs and the nature of information provided by vendors of these treatments.
Homeopathy: The Journal of the Faculty of Homeopathy
OBJECTIVE: To conduct a systematic review of the clinical research evidence on homeopathy in the treatment of anxiety and anxiety disorders. METHODS: A comprehensive search of major biomedical databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE, ClNAHL, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library; and of specialist complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) databases: AMED, CISCOM and Hom-Inform was conducted. Efforts were made to identify unpublished and ongoing research using relevant sources and experts in the field. Relevant research was categorised by study type and appraised according to study design.
Eighteen Norwegian dairy farmers were interviewed to examine their reasons for using homoeopathic treatments in managing their herds' health. Overall, they chose the treatments on the basis of factors related to their personal experience, considerations of individual animals and the framework for dairy production. For individual animals homoeopathy was used as an alternative to conventional veterinary treatment, but at the herd level it was used to complement it.
The increasing use and practice of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) all over the world raises important ethical issues for health care providers, researchers and policy-makers. This article addresses the equity issues arising in the context of an evaluation of five complementary therapies provided by general practitioners: homeopathy, anthroposophic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, neural therapy and phytotherapy.