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November 5, 2008

Integrity of Active Components of Botanical Products Used in Complementary and Alternative Medicine—Reply

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2008;300(17):1995-1996. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.559

In Reply: Dr Stoney and colleagues highlight the additional challenge of assessing and ensuring the composition, integrity, and stability of botanical preparations during clinical trials. Researchers in this area should become familiar with the policies and programs established by the NCCAM and ODS to ensure the potency, purity, and consistency of biologically active agents used in CAM research.

Although these processes add further complexity and cost to studies, the value of rigorous CAM research lies not only in producing scientifically valid and reproducible results but also in establishing an evidence base for appropriate use, dosage, and interactions with other biologically active products (including medications). Consumers of CAM, however, should be aware that commercially available botanicals and dietary supplements are neither subject to such scrutiny nor held to the same Food and Drug Administration regulatory standards as drugs.1,2