Launched in 2002, About Herbs is an award-winning website developed and maintained by the Integrative Medicine Service of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. It provides evidence-based and objective information on herbs, vitamins, minerals, other dietary supplements, and unproven anticancer treatments. Each entry includes a version for healthcare professionals and a version for the general public that are produced following a thorough editorial review of the peer-reviewed medical literature. All the entries are updated regularly with the latest research findings, and facilitate informed decision-making about dietary supplement use, particularly for cancer patients.
Herbal and homeopathic products and other similar remedies such as Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicines etc., cannot be identified as to their content (no federal standards exist and adulteration and misbranding are concerns). Because they are not classified as drugs by the FDA, these products cannot be administered to patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center except in Institutional Review Board approved protocols (clinical trials).
In addition healthcare providers should always inquire and document the use of herbs and other dietary supplements with all patients. On admission or during perioperative assessment, patients identified as using these agents should be advised about this policy. The concerns about safety and effectiveness should be explained and patients are to be asked to comply with this policy.