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Online Drug Information Resources (June 2015): Natural Standard

By Kristy Steigerwalt

Natural Standard

Natural Standard ( is a subscription-only database that delivers information about complementary and alternative medicine and dietary supplements. In 2013 it was acquired by Therapeutic Research Center, which produces the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (NMCD). A new combined database will be called Natural Medicines ( Natural Standard provides information that is broad in scope, and focused on both medications and disease states. Print and e-mail capabilities are enabled, along with the option of providing feedback on individual pages. Individual monographs display robust reference lists and notification of the last updates (which are performed every three to eighteen months, depending on the topic). Navigation is assisted by A-Z lists, “popular topics” and “jump to” features, and a synopsis of monographs. Page-loading time is reasonable.

Editorial board credentials are extensive and readily available, along with lists of authors and peer reviewers. Research methodology for the selection of information for inclusion is also outlined. The site’s data come from experts and from reputable databases including AMED, CINAHL, CISCOM, The Cochrane Library, Embase, HerbMed, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, and NAPRALERT. Blinded reviews and data extraction are conducted by clinical professionals working in academic institutions. Data are verified by a second reviewer. Searching is via a simple search box, or an advanced search function that allows filtering by topic type (e.g., Health and Wellness; Sports Medicine). Misspellings are accounted for via suggestions for correct terms and presentation of results for the closest match.

A standout feature of this database is its graded, evidence-based evaluation of alternative therapies. The site’s plethora of features includes comparative effectiveness; an interactive drug interactions checker; information on product effectiveness and pregnancy/lactation; patient handouts; and an app version. Continuing education opportunities and news are among the other features provided. Natural Standard has great value and usefulness for those searching for interactions between drugs and herbal medications, and for authoritative, vetted content about alternative/complementary products (often not as clearly delineated in other databases). The references, external and internal informational links, and broad coverage of a variety of disciplines related to alternative medicine make Natural Standard a valuable resource for almost anyone doing research in these areas.


Highly recommended as one of the most reliable, evidence-based alternative medicine resources for laypersons, faculty, staff, undergraduate/graduate students, and professionals.