Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
J Gen Intern Med. 2008 Jun;23(6):854-9. doi: 10.1007/s11606-008-0632-y. Epub 2008 Apr 16.

Herbal medicine in the United States: review of efficacy, safety, and regulation: grand rounds at University of California, San Francisco Medical Center.

Author information

  • Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA. Stephen.Bent@ucsf.edu

Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Herbal products have gained increasing popularity in the last decade, and are now used by approximately 20% of the population. Herbal products are complex mixtures of organic chemicals that may come from any raw or processed part of a plant, including leaves, stems, flowers, roots, and seeds. Under the current law, herbs are defined as dietary supplements, and manufacturers can therefore produce, sell, and market herbs without first demonstrating safety and efficacy, as is required for pharmaceutical drugs. Although herbs are often perceived as "natural" and therefore safe, many different side effects have been reported owing to active ingredients, contaminants, or interactions with drugs.

RESULTS:

Unfortunately, there is limited scientific evidence to establish the safety and efficacy of most herbal products. Of the top 10 herbs, 5 (ginkgo, garlic, St. John's wort, soy, and kava) have scientific evidence suggesting efficacy, but concerns over safety and a consideration of other medical therapies may temper the decision to use these products.

CONCLUSIONS:

Herbal products are not likely to become an important alternative to standard medical therapies unless there are changes to the regulation, standardization, and funding for research of these products.

PMID:
18415652
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2517879
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (1)Free text

Figure 1
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Springer Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk