Searching online and Web-based resources for information on natural products used as drugs.


Finding and evaluating information on natural products used as drugs can present challenges to the information professional. In this study, eight databases including resources retrieved on the Web were compared for relevancy and uniqueness. Ten reference questions related to natural products used as drugs were searched in the latest three year file of a number of databases, including MEDLINE, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, and EMBASE/Excerpta Medica. In addition, the Web was searched for relevant Internet sites using the Alta Vista search engine. EMBASE/Excerpta Medica retrieved the largest number of relevant citations for four of the ten questions. MEDLINE, the Health Reference Center, and Alta Vista each retrieved the largest numbers in two questions. Overall, the standard medical databases were the first choice for the health professional and for many lay people because of their more extensive indexing and coverage of authoritative journals.

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