Academic journal article Journal of the Medical Library Association

Harvesting the Best: Evidence-Based Analysis of Herbal Handbooks for Clinicians**

Academic journal article Journal of the Medical Library Association

Harvesting the Best: Evidence-Based Analysis of Herbal Handbooks for Clinicians**

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The recent increase and widespread use of herbs and dietary supplements (H/DS) extends across the lifespan from pediatric to geriatric patients [1-4]. Patients with chronic conditions are among the heaviest users as they constantly search for additional ways to relieve their symptoms and discomfort [5, 6]. At the same time, a parallel proliferation in the literature has been published on the subject: 405 books on medicinal herbs were published from 1986 to 1989, with more than 1,000 titles appearing between 2000 and 2004 [7]. Clinicians and patients have many sources of information, but selection of the most reliable references is a challenge. Lack of information on potential toxicities, adverse effects, and interactions with medications, other herbs, laboratory tests, and disease states becomes critical in providing health care. Due to time constraints during clinical encounters, many clinicians prefer the convenient presentation and concise entries afforded by handbooks [8].

The objective of this pilot project was to develop criteria for evaluating the quality of tertiary literature on medicinal herbs and dietary supplements and to apply these criteria to selected handbooks intended for clinicians. …

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