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Databases of Scientific Literature

The following databases provide information about published scientific and medical literature that include dietary supplements. Searches usually give the author's name, title, publication and date (citation information). Some also provide abstracts of the article.

Databases of special relevance or usefulness are listed first, rather than in alphabetical order.

International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements (IBIDS)

The IBIDS database contains citations of research on dietary supplements published in international scientific peer-reviewed journals from 1986 to the present. These citations were gleaned from the following databases: AGRICOLA, AMED, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, ExtraMED, FSTA, IPA, MANTIS, MEDLINE, and PsycINFO. Citations for articles in foreign languages are included only if the abstract is in English. Using the IBIDS database requires a Java-enabled browser. One can refine one's search in a variety of ways. The result is a list of citations that can be both displayed on the browser and sent to the viewer as email.

PubMed Search of MEDLINE Database

PubMed searches the MEDLINE database of biomedical literature at the National Library of Medicine at NIH (National Institute for Health). The PubMed site contains links to the full text of articles at the websites of participating journal publishers. The MEDLINE database contains 9 million citations, dating back to 1966. Coverage is worldwide, but most of the articles or their abstracts are in English. The Clinical Query portion of the search engine narrows the search to several varieties of clinical trials.

HealthWorld Online's MEDLINE Database Search

This database search of medical literature goes back to 1966, in many languages, throughout the world. This site makes it easy to search for specific substances (such as Vitamin C, folic acid, zinc, echinacea, glucosamine) in the title or abstract. The search can be limited to specific languages, ages of people, or humans only (no animal research). The search returns both the citation information and an abstract.

CAM Citation Index at National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

NCCAM and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) have partnered to create CAM on PubMed, a subset of the NLM's PubMed database. Literature searchs are automatically limited to complementary and alternative medicine research articles within the overall PubMed database. Or if you prefer, search the entire NCCAM website.

Computer Access to Research on Dietary Supplements (CARDS)

This database provides information on research on dietary supplements and individual nutrients that is currently being supported by the Federal government. It is scheduled to become operational in mid 2001.


This searchable database of approximately 100 herbs contains a variety of information. Easy to read summaries (both large type and plain English) contain hotlinks to actual information. Information categories include:

  • Evidence for activity: human clinical data, case reports, traditional and folk use
  • Warnings: contraindications, toxic & adverse effects, interactions
  • Preparations: commercial methods, suppliers, folk and traditional methods
  • Mixtures: modern, traditional herbals
  • Mechanism of action: constituents, biochemistry, miscellaneous
  • Other: pictures, related keyword PubMed links, other website links

The Lancet Backfiles

More than 340,000 articles published in The Lancet since 1823 can now be searched and accessed online. These consist of fully searchable PDFs, supported by citations, abstracts and references.

MEDLINE Journals

This list of journals indexed in MEDLINE contains more than 300 entries and continues to grow. Some journal sites may require registration, subscription, or a fee in order to obtain the full text of an article. Site includes links to the the journal websites.

Michael Moore's Herbal Research Abstracts

Abstracts concerning 148 medicinal plants, gathered since 1990 by Michael Moore, Director of the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine in Bisbee, Arizona. The abstracts are arranged alphabetically by the name of the plant.



Other Links:

Consumer empowerment:

Information about specific supplements

Consumer publications & information

Consumer advocacy groups

Healthcare practitioners and alternative medicine

Suppliers of high-quality supplements

Sources of research information:

General scientific research information

Databases of scientific literature


NCCAM research on specific health issues

Ethnobotanical information (Use of plants by indigenous peoples)

Industry resources:

Trade organizations

Trade publications

Government regulation:

DSHEA: Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act

US government agencies

Codex Alimentarius Commission (UN)

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(c) Copyright 1999-2003 Dietary Supplement Quality Initiative. For permission to reprint, please contact our editor.