What do I look for out there in the millions of web pages? I look for the latest information on research, plant sources, and of course, books. Here are some of my favorite Internet sites.
• http://plantinfo.umn.edu. Plant Information Online from the Andersen Horticultural Library, University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, is a subscription-based service which includes information on retail or wholesale mail-order sources for more than 70,000 plants from more than 1,300 North American seed and nursery firms. It is updated daily. This is a good place to look for obscure garden plants.
• www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/. Medline, the database of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, is my favorite site for new, cutting-edge research on medicinal plants, or anything medical for that matter. NLM is the world’s largest medical library and Medline includes references and abstracts to nearly 4,000 scientific journals, back to 1965. You will find far more manageable amounts of information on most common herbs at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi.
• http://dietary-supplements.info.nih.gov/databases/ibids.html. For information on herbs and supplements, I go to the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements’ database, the International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements. You can always find late-breaking information on herbal medicines here, along with alternative approaches to various conditions.
• www.herbmed.org. The Alternative Medicine Foundation has produced one of the best-researched and user-friendly databases on herb information, called HerbMed. HerbMed contains information on dozens of herbs with scientific evidence for activity, warnings, preparations, mixtures, mechanisms of action, and other information.
• www.nlm.nih.gov/nccam/camonpubmed.html. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is another NIH center, and its website is a good place to find out what’s new in government research or programs on complementary and alternative medicine.
• www.nalusda.gov/ag98/. If I’m looking for information on the biology, horticulture, or agriculture of a plant, I go to the USDA’s National Agricultural Library’s database site, called AGRICOLA. The National Agricultural Library in Beltsville, Maryland, is the largest agricultural library in the world.
• www.ars-grin.gov/npgs/tax/. The USDA’s extensive taxonomic database includes uses of world economic plants. Hidden in the deep recesses of this bureaucratic mammoth, is a website loaded with information on herbs and medicinal plants–the database created by medicinal plant and herb expert James A. Duke, Ph.D. Duke’s information can be viewed at www.ars-grin.gov/duke/.
•www.umd.umic.edu/cgi-bin/herb/. This will bring up Jim Duke’s ethnobotanical and phytochemical databases, and numerous links to other research sites, such as that of anthropologist Daniel Moerman of the Ethnobotanical Laboratory at the University of Michigan. Search more than 447,000 items on food, drugs, dyes, and fibers used by Native Americans.
Click here for the main article, Rhodiola Rosea.