Assessing the risks and benefits of herbal medicine: an overview of scientific evidence
Language: 
English
Short Title: 
Assessing the risks and benefits of herbal medicine
Abstract: 

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. Therapies outside the medical mainstream tend to suffer from a dearth of research and critical evaluation. Critics and supporters alike note the conceptual and practical difficulties in studying many complementary and alternative therapies such as acupuncture, homeopathy, and meditation. Herbal medicine, however, lends itself well to standard evaluation methods. This article summarizes and evaluates evidence from randomized controlled trials and meta-analyses. We present the results of meta-analyses and subsequent randomized controlled trials for garlic and St John's wort; a comprehensive critical review and subsequent randomized controlled trials for ginkgo; and summaries of all identified randomized controlled trials for echinacea, ginger, and valerian.

Author(s): 
Barrett, B.
Kiefer, D.
Rabago, D.
Item Type: 
Journal Article
Publication Title: 
Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine
Journal Abbreviation: 
Altern Ther Health Med
Publication Date: 
1999-07
Publication Year: 
1999
Pages: 
40-49
Volume: 
5
Issue: 
4
ISSN: 
1078-6791
Library Catalog: 
PubMed
Extra: 
PMID: 10394673

Turabian/Chicago Citation

B. Barrett, D. Kiefer and D. Rabago. 1999-07. "Assessing the risks and benefits of herbal medicine: an overview of scientific evidence." Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 5: 4: 40-49.

Wikipedia Citation

<ref> {{Cite journal | doi = | issn = 1078-6791 | volume = 5 | pages = 40-49 | last = Barrett | first = B. | coauthors = Kiefer, D., Rabago, D. | title = Assessing the risks and benefits of herbal medicine: an overview of scientific evidence | journal = Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine | date = 1999-07 | pmid = | pmc = }} </ref>