The 'Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994' guarantees Americans ready access to herbal products. While selected herbal products have impressive therapeutic activity in tissue culture and animal models, with few exceptions clinical trial documentation of activity is less than impressive. In fact, the common pattern is for initially promising laboratory findings to lead to widespread commercial availability without any intervening clinical investigation. An additional problem of great concern is that the commercially available herbal products vary widely in their quality. Nevertheless, the increasing number of clinical trials carried out with these materials combined with the advent of modern molecular biological drug-screening techniques promises to revolutionize drug discovery and lead to effective anticancer compounds in the next 5-10 years.
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