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TABLE 2-1 Brief Characterization of 13 Secondary Resources and How They Meet the Described Considerations




Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) (AHRQ, 2000a, 2000b, 2002b, 2003a)

American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP, 2002, 2004a, 2004b; Upton, 1997, 1999) (Reviewed St. Johns Wort and Valerian Root monographs)

Type of organization responsible for resource

U.S. government

Private, nonprofit organization

Substances reviewed techniques, practices,

Many health care and substances, including several dietary supplements

Botanicals commonly used in the United States; selections are based on recommendations of a prioritization committee or monograph sponsorship from interested organizations or companies


Meta-analysis published when completed

Summary monographs

Focus on safety/risk

Both efficacy and safety are considered

Identification, handling, standardization, and analytical methods are discussed; safety and efficacy information are considered

Reliance on primary data

Primary sources are cited, including foreign language sources

Primary and secondary sources are used, including foreign language articles

Use of nonhuman data

Only human data are considered in the examples reviewed

Human, animal, and in vitro information are used in efficacy assessment; however, from the examples reviewed, it is not clear the degree to which various types of information are generally used

Description of limitations

Limitations are described: a summary of challenges in conducting and interpreting the research is given, difficulties in obtaining and interpreting adverse events are explained

The material examined includes limitations as described by the authors of the primary sources

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