Adding the Guide to ABC’s online resources always has been part of the organization’s web content plan, as was the case with the online versions of ABC’s first 2 books: The Complete German Commission E Monographs–Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines (1998) and Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs (2000). Online publication of The Guide helps carry out ABC’s nonprofit educational mission to make as much credible information on herbs and phytomedicines available to the widest audience as possible.
ABC members who use the online Guide will benefit from the electronic version’s global and advanced search functions and enhanced interactivity, which enables users to view any specific section of the Guide by simply clicking their selection from the hyperlinked Table of Contents. The user can also download PDFs of the full monographs—including the main monograph, the clinical overview, and the patient information sheet for each herb—as well as PDFs of the proprietary product monographs.
Because the book was published in 2003, ABC has taken the opportunity to correct any typographical errors, and also has updated and revised several sections. The “Accreditation for Continuing Education” page, for example, has been updated and the expired test and applications for continuing education credit are no longer available. Several parts of the online version also link to more recent information. The outdated “Introduction on Recent Market and Consumer Use Information” and “Top-Selling Herbal Supplements in Food, Drug, and Mass Market Retail Outlets” sections now link to the Market Report section of ABC’s printed, peer-reviewed journal, HerbalGram, so that the user will always have access to the most recent data.
Additionally, ABC has clarified that the Recent Studies were recent “as of April 2003” and provide links to HerbalGram and HerbClips online for information on new research developments and relevant breaking news. Additionally, the online Guide now states that Company Contact information in the Branded Products sections of the monographs and in the Appendix was current “as of April 2003” and has not been updated due to the ease of using Internet search engines to find up-to-date and revised contact information for clinically tested branded product manufacturers.
A benefit of ABC membership at the Professional level and above, the online Clinical Guide can be accessed on ABC’s homepage by clicking the “ABC Guide” link, located on the left side of the page, or the “Programs & Services” link, at the top of the homepage. For a limited time, ABC is offering members at the Individual and Academic levels the opportunity to upgrade to the Professional level at a 20% discounted rate. For more information, contact ABC’s membership department.
—Gayle Engels and Lindsay Stafford