This paper is an evidence-based systematic review including written and statistical analysis of scientific literature, expert opinion, folkloric precedent, history, pharmacology, kinetics/dynamics, interactions, adverse effects, toxicology, and dosing.
Search strategy: To prepare each Natural Standard review, electronic searches are conducted in nine databases, including AMED, CANCERLIT, CINAHL, CISCOM, the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, HerbMed, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, Medline, and NAPRALERT. Search terms include the common name(s), scientific name(s), and all listed synonyms for each topic. Hand searches are conducted of 20 additional journals (not indexed in common databases), and of bibliographies from 50 selected secondary references. No restrictions are placed on language or quality of publications. Researchers in the field of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) are consulted for access to additional references or ongoing research.
Selection criteria: All literature is collected pertaining to efficacy in humans (regardless of study design, quality, or language), dosing, precautions, adverse effects, use in pregnancy/lactation, interactions, alteration of laboratory assays, and mechanism of action (in vitro, animal research, human data). Standardized inclusion/exclusion criteria are utilized for selection.
Data analysis: Data extraction and analysis are performed by healthcare professionals conducting clinical work and/or research at academic centers, using standardized instruments that pertain to each review section (defining inclusion/exclusion criteria and analytic techniques, including validated measures of study quality). Data are verified by a second reviewer.
Review process: A blinded review is conducted by multidisciplinary research-clinical faculty at major academic centers with expertise in epidemiology and biostatistics, pharmacology, toxicology, CAM research, and clinical practice. In cases of editorial disagreement, a three-member panel of the Editorial Board addresses conflicts, and consults experts when applicable. Authors of studies are contacted when clarification is required.