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Books, Journals, New Media
May 19, 1999

Herbal Medicines: PDR for Herbal Medicines

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

JAMA. 1999;281(19):1853-1854. doi:10.1001/jama.281.19.1853-JBK0519-3-1

Physicians have come to expect the Physicians' Desk Reference (PDR) to provide all the information essential for intelligent and informed decision making. But the PDR for Herbal Medicines does not meet such expectations.

No brand-name particulars are given, so that prescribers can evaluate crucial data about herbal efficacy, quality, and safety. The text does cover generic information about more than 600 phytomedicines, and its focus on Latin names gives it a scientific aura. But the latinophilia becomes a nuisance when one tries to look up popular natural remedies by their common names. Cats claw, dong quai, kudzo, and grape seed extract are not mentioned, nor are any fixed-combination herbal products. Even Saint John's wort is hard to find because it appears unalphabetically, 45 pages beyond where "saint" should be (under "St").