Looking for reliable reading on complementary and alternative medicine? Check out these resources:
Duke Encyclopedia of New Medicine: Conventional and Alternative Medicine for All Ages and Mayo Clinic Book of Alternative Medicine: Both are clear, up to date, and comprehensive (especially the Duke guide at over 600 pages), and neither gives in to cheerleading on the one hand or mudslinging on the other.
What Your Doctor Hasn't Told You and the Health Store Clerk Doesn't Know: Gerontologist Edward Schneider, former deputy director of the National Institute on Aging, offers up advice on alternative care that is likely to help—and what probably won't.
Alternative Medicine for Dummies, Herbal Remedies for Dummies, Acupressure and Reflexology for Dummies...: Reading a Dummies guide is like having your favorite uncle plop down next to you and hold forth, giving you the real skinny authoritatively but so conversationally that it's fun. These and other titles on alternative medicine in the Dummies line are in that mold.
On the Web
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: NCCAM, a part of the National Institutes of Health, distributes more than $120 million annually for research. Its Web page has a wealth of explanatory publications.
Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Most people don't know that this agency within the National Cancer Institute, another NIH arm, spends roughly the same amount annually as NCCAM to look into alternative therapies for preventing and treating cancer, as well as those that might lessen discomfort and in other ways improve the quality of life for cancer patients.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center herbals page: This may be the best unbiased source around for ongoing information about herbs and other botanical products used in alternative medicine—results of the latest clinical trials, bench research, and other findings.
Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine: 39 medical schools, 36 of them in the United States, banded together three years ago to promote a blending of conventional and alternative medicine. Almost all top academic hospitals are members.