NIH releases app to help patients, providers understand herbal supplements

The National Institutes of Health rolled out HerbList, a smartphone app that aims to inform consumer decisions on more than 50 popular herbs and herbal supplements marketed for health purposes, the agency announced June 12.

The NIH's National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health created the app to provide consumers, patients and healthcare providers with basic information about various herbal products — such as kava, acai and ginkgo — including what recent research suggests about their effectiveness, potential side effects and herb-drug interactions.

"Providing an app for users is part of NCCIH's effort to inform consumers and healthcare providers within the complementary and integrative health space," David Shurtleff, PhD, acting director of NCCIH, said in a statement. "People are considering herbs and herbal supplements for various reasons, and it is important that they are aware of what the research says about safety and effectiveness."

HerbList is available for download on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

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