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NCCIH Clinical Digest

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NCCAM: 5 Most Searched-For Herbs of 2012

January 2013

In 2012, over 3 million visitors came to NCCAM’s Web site seeking information on complementary health approaches. Though many people were looking for information on particular health topics or specific modalities like acupuncture, yoga, and meditation, the majority was seeking information on specific herbs and botanicals.

This issue of the Digest highlights the top 5 searched-for herbs that led visitors to our site:

  1. Evening Primrose Oil
  2. St. John’s Wort
  3. Fenugreek
  4. Echinacea
  5. Aloe Vera

These herbs and botanicals are widely marketed and readily available, often sold as dietary supplements. However, the scientific evidence available to assess safety or efficacy of each of these products is quite variable. In some cases, there is limited evidence to support a product’s use, while in others, evidence identifies significant safety concerns, fails to suggest efficacy, or is insufficient.  Because of this variability, consumers and health care providers should carefully review the available information before deciding to use a specific product.

Time to Talk Tips: What You Should Know About 5 Popular Herbs

Read more about what the science says

Scientific Literature

Evening Primrose Oil

St. John's Wort



Aloe Vera

NCCIH Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, NIH, DHHS. NCCIH Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary health approaches, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCIH-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is dedicated to exploring complementary health products and practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary health researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCIH's Clearinghouse toll-free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCIH Web site at NCCIH is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States.


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This page last modified February 20, 2013