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Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not answered below, or if you would like to suggest additional features or information, Contact Us. 

Q: How can I cite HerbMedPro in a publication?

See our separate information sheet on Intellectual Property and Citation Information

Q: Are the research resources quality evaluated? 

Quality evaluated resources such as systematic reviews or meta-analyses are quickly outdated by new information. HerbMedPro presents data in neutral categories of evidence and information, so that users can choose the most relevant for their particular needs, and so that the database will be as comprehensive and current as possible.

Q: Is the evidence from human clinical trials more reliable than data from case studies or traditional usage? 

Users may select the level of evidence with which they feel comfortable, or which answers their needs. Thus, physicians or pharmacists may want only to select information from human clinical trials; companies and researchers may also be interested in viewing observational or folk data to gain insights for further research; consumers may need the full range of information to judge how best to supplement their basic diet. 

Q: How is the information selected for the HerbMedPro entries. 

A: The information for each herb record is as impartial and comprehensive as possible. Some selection is necessary where there is a very large amount of available information. This judgment is made by the researcher compiling the resource on the basis of relevance and completeness.

HerbMedPro Features

  • Each herb is identified and listed by scientific name (also known as the Latin binomial) and common name and can be searched by either listing. Family information is compiled from GRIN & USDA taxonomic information, and alternate family names are given where applicable. Common names are based on the widely accepted Herbs of Commerce, 2nd ed. Herb records can be selected from the alphabetized lists on the home page or the full list of herbs can be browsed. Just click on Herb List.
  • Information on individual herbs is sorted into six categories and up to 5 subcategories. Each subcategory of information may be viewed separately, or the herb record may be viewed in full.
  • The resource is content rich with minimal navigation, and the herb records are accessed directly from the home page. Few graphics are used on the web site out of respect for your time.
  • HerbMedPro allows for simple searches by own choice keywords, such as disease category. Advanced searches are available only for the licensed version of the database.
  • Information on individual herbs is hyperlinked directly to the scientific literature primarily using PubMed, the freely available interface for MEDLINE, and to other research resources available through the World Wide Web. Additional sources include:
  • Dynamic Updates provides search terms to automatically access and list the most recent publications for the main categories of research and information on each herb from the PubMed database.
  • The History of Record - provides the name of the original researcher and date of compilation of the material, and name and date of the most recent major revision and latest updates.
  • HerbMedPro has an advanced search engine. The help page, Notes for Advanced Searches provides instructions on how to use the search features.

HerbMedPro Categories and Subcategories

  1. Evidence for Efficacy - human data includes reports of controlled clinical trials, observational and case study reports, and empirical knowledge from long-standing folk or traditional use.

    Clinical Trials - evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of herbal formulations through monitoring their effects on large groups of people. This section includes systematic reviews of clinical trials. 
    Observational Studies/Case Reports - observations generated from health practitioners or research reports from experiments done with small, non-controlled groups. 
    Traditional & Folk Use - use of medicinal plants based on specific historical and cultural practices, including organized systems of medicine such as Traditional Chinese Medicine practice (TCM). 

  2. Safety Data - links to published information on contraindications, toxic and adverse effects, and interactions.

    Adverse Effects & Toxicity - reports of toxic reactions to the use of medicinal plants, as well as data from animal toxicity studies. 
    Interactions - information on all interactions, beneficial or harmful, between two or more medicinal plants, or between prescribed/OTC drugs, medical procedures, foods or nutrients and medicinal plants. 
    Contraindications - any indication that some particular line of treatment with medicinal plants is harmful. 

  3. Evidence for Activity - Pre-clinical studies, where a medicinal plant is first tested on animals or other non-human testing systems. Information from such studies is used to support further clinical investigation of medicinal plant use.

    Animal Studies - Pre-clinical studies where a medicinal plant is first tested on animals 
     - what the plant and its compounds do to the body (included will be animal studies that are not specifically a response to toxicological events). Pharmacodynamics tells us which medicinal plant compounds are responsible for the plants' biochemical and physiological effects and the mechanisms for their actions on the body, including the correlation of action and effect of the medicinal plant compound with its chemical structure. 
    Pharmacokinetics (ADME) - what the body does to the medicinal plant and its compounds. This involves the action of medicinal plant compounds in the body over a period of time, including the processes of absorption, distribution, localization in tissue, biotransformation and excretion of those compounds. 
    Analytical Chemistry - chemical techniques that provide quantitative and qualitative identification of medicinal plant compounds. 
    Genetics - the study of the patterns of inheritance in plants, particularly focused on the production of the medicinal compounds, as well as the study of the effect of medicinal plant use on the genetic causes of disease.
    Literature Review - reviews of evidence of activity that are not clinical reviews or reviews of safety.

  4. Formulas/Blends - these may be novel commercial mixtures or blends from traditional or folk systems where the multiple components are reputed to have a synergistic effect.

    Modern Methods of Preparation - recent medicinal plant formulations and the science behind their methods of preparation.
    Patents - listings drawn from the US Patents & Trademarks office of novel uses and preparations involving medicinal herbs
    Folk Blends - specific medicinal plant formulas used in traditional systems of medicine such as Ayurvedic or Traditional Chinese Medicine.

  5. Other Information - miscellaneous categories.

    Pictures & Distribution Maps - collection of publicly available image resources. 
    Cultivation, Conservation & Ecology - the current conservation status, cultivation practices and information on the native ecology of medicinal plants normally found in the wild. 
    Related Links - key web links are provided.

  6. Dynamic Updates

    15 search strategies provide search terms to automatically access and list the most recent publications for the main categories of research and information on each herb from the PubMed database.

HerbMedPro Disclaimer

The information materials in HerbMedPro are provided for educational and research purposes only. They should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease.