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How strong is the evidence for the effectiveness of herbal products?

The evidence for natural remedies is growing by leaps and bounds thanks to the research by the National Institutes of Health - National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine http://nccam.nih.gov/research/ in the U.S.

Note, the German Commission E: Monographs, have been publishing results for many years. http://cms.herbalgram.org/commissione/HerbIndex/approvedherbs.html and the FDA (although they treat herbs as foods not drugs) has issued guidance on the use of such products. http://www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/Guidances/ucm144657.htm

Most importantly, any individual who chooses to take herbal remedies should discuss with their health care provider, specifically for potential interactions with commonly prescribed prescription drugs or other treatments.

William B. Salt II., MD
Gastroenterology
Most of the evidence for efficacy of "natural" remedies and herbal products is empirically derived, which means that recommendations and usage are based upon repeated experience and observation throughout history. Few have been subjected to the rigors of scientific testing. But even if no better than placebo, "natural" remedies may be helpful.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the MindBodySpirit Connection: 7 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functional Bowel Disorder, Crohn's Disease, or Colitis (Mind-Body-Spirit Connection Series.)

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the MindBodySpirit Connection: 7 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functional Bowel Disorder, Crohn's Disease, or Colitis (Mind-Body-Spirit Connection Series.)

Fast Facts on IBS: One in five people suffers from the frustrating symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). There is no simple answer--no pill, potion, or quick fix--that will cure IBS. But help...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.