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European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy (ESCOP) Monographs on the Medicinal Uses of Plant Drugs (ESCOP, 1996, 1997, 2001) (Reviewed St. John’s Wort and Valerian Root)

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (NMCD) (NMCD, 2002) (Reviewed St. John’s Wort and Valerian)

Type of organization responsible for resource

Coalition of international trade associations

Therapeutic Research Center, publisher of the Pharmacist’s Letter and the Prescriber’s Letter; a for-profit organization

Substances reviewed

Botanicals used within the European community

Botanicals, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, glandular products; over 1,000 entries


Groups of monographs (Fascicules)

Website and book

Focus on safety/risk

Includes safety data, but primarily designed for efficacy assessment by regulatory authorities

Safety and efficacy are considered; describes circumstances in which the supplement is Likely to be Safe, Possibly Safe, Possibly Unsafe, Likely to be Unsafe, Unsafe

Reliance on primary data

Primary sources are cited, including many foreign language sources

Primary and secondary sources are cited, including foreign language sources

Use of nonhuman data

Animal and in vitro experiments are used

Safety information is generally derived from human data

Description of limitations


Limitations in interpreting human data are presented

Description of literature search strategy

Not described

Not described in database, but some aspects of strategy are described in description below, from personal communication

Use of current literature

Late 1990s literature cited

Very current; according to the publisher, individual supplements are updated about every 6 months; the book is updated annually

Starting assumptions/appearance of impartiality

The stated purpose is to “advance the scientific status of phytomedicines”;


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