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Growing Use of Medicinal Botanicals Forces Assessment by Drug Regulators

Charles Marwick
JAMA. 1995;273(8):607-609. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520320015008.
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THE GROWING USE of botanicals (drugs and other products derived from plants) by the US public is forcing moves to evaluate the health claims of these agents and to develop standards of quality and manufacture.

The parties involved—herbal therapists, manufacturers, processors, and distributors of botanicals—and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are circling each other warily. But at a meeting in Washington, DC, sponsored by the National Institute of Health's Office of Alternative Medicine in cooperation with the FDA, all these parties had a frank exchange about the issues that must be addressed if botanical products are to enter the mainstream of medical practice.

Need Scientific Evidence  "There are estimates that as many as one in three Americans are using some form of alternative medicine," said Devra Lee Davis, PhD, MPH, senior adviser to the Assistant Secretary for Health. "Botanicals are becoming widely used. We have to assess a process


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