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  1. Myers, Esther F. PhD, RDN, FAND


Healthcare professionals face significant challenges in providing evidence-based healthcare when the evidence base is limited. A prime example of this dilemma is finding the evidence base for answering patient questions about the use of herbal therapies. This article summarizes the current resources available to healthcare professionals. An example of the types of information available for selected herbal therapies for diabetes mellitus from each resource is also presented. Greater consistency in methodologies used to evaluate the safety and efficacy of herbal/botanical therapies would be helpful. The handbook published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences' Office of Health Assessment and Translation, which integrates both evidence for safety and evidence for efficacy, sets the stage for future systematic reviews. The current information on herbal/botanical medication continues to be limited by the number of high-quality studies, which in turn limits the types of conclusions that can be drawn by systematic reviews.