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Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.

J.M. Jelin (Ed.), Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, second ed., Pharmacist's Letter and Prescriber's Letter, Stockton, CA, ISBN 0-9747062-0-5, 2004 (1530pp., $92.00).

The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database-2004 provides an extremely broad-based reference text for information on herbal, vitamin and mineral components that make up modern natural medicines and that are often marketed individually or in combination as dietary supplements in the USA. This text is extremely comprehensive, and scientifically well based. For individual herbal, vitamin and mineral ingredients, this database text provides special emphasis on safety, effectiveness, adverse reactions and any known interaction with drugs, foods, other dietary substances or herbs, lab tests, diseases, or other conditions. Common names, common uses, dosage and administration information are revealed in a clear and concise manner. Overall the information is presented a practical, easily read format with frequent citation to scientific papers from predominantly peer reviewed journals and databases.

An appendix of References offers many technical details, related scientific references to resources and extensive referencing to experimental evidence concerning many of the listed botanicals, vitamins and minerals. These references focus not only on the uses of the listed natural medicines, but also on clinical effectiveness, mechanism of action, safety and interaction issues.

A second appendix of "Brand Names provides a non-critical compilation of compositional information on some common brand name natural products. No information is available on the potency, purity or stability of the listed products, except for the few critical notes listed as the specific end-of-section Editor's Notes. These important Editor's Notes might be better placed as boxed comments adjacent to the brand named products within this appendix. Also, there is a lack of reference or chart listing of essential vitamins and minerals and their RDIs for those products that claim vitamin and mineral content. Such chart listing would afford a valuable means of comparative evaluation of many of the listed brand products.

A final appendix of Charts showing [possible] Therapeutic Efficacy, Potential Interactions between Drugs and Natural Medicines, and Effects of Drug Influences on Nutrient Levels can be clinically useful, and provide some excellent detailed comments. Expansion of this section so as to include more details and specific might prove beneficial to clinical specialists concerned with possible nutrient depletion in their treated patients.

Alfredo J. Quattrone

CA-DHS, Food & Drug Branch, 1500 Capitol Avenue, MS-7602, Sacramento, CA 95814, USA
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Author:Quattrone, Alfredo J.
Publication:Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy & Phytopharmacology
Article Type:Book review
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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