The Leaf Rating System

Here, we reveal our Leaf Rating System and how to use it.

As a consumer concerned about your health, you would like to make sure that the herbal supplements that you are taking have some research evidence to back up their claims.

The only way to find out is by published independent research studies, not by testimonials made by someone.

Real-world published research studies are the gold standard in testing any natural remedies or supplements before any claims can be made about them.

Needless to say, the studies must be done in humans (called clinical studies), not just in rats or rabbits.

The product's evidence of effectiveness for treating the health condition is rated by our editors based on the quantity and quality of researched studies that have been done.

Selected references to those studies are included.

Five-Leaf Rating System Explained

Natural Remedies leaf Rating System Review
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Proven Effective

This is the highest rating for any of our natural remedies reviewed. There are an extensive amount of high quality research studies done in clinical trials to prove that the natural remedy really works and is highly effective.

Very few natural remedies fall into this category. Garlic and Fish Oil would be two notable examples.

Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Maybe Effective

There are a several research studies done on humans for the natural remedy or supplement in question.

Most, if not all the studies show that the natural remedy is possibly effective in treating the stated health condition.

Overall, most people taking this natural supplement can expect some positive results for treating their health condition.

Most natural remedies with good evidence of effectiveness fall into this category.

Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects There are Studies Done in Humans But...

There are one or more research studies done on humans.

This would include population studies showing a potential link between taking the herb or supplement and possible benefits.

But the studies may be small and/or that the research methods used do not result give us confidence in the results.

Indeed, at this rating level, we can expect that there will be studies that show no benefits at all from taking the herb or supplement.

This would be the lowest level that would make it worthwhile to give the supplement a try.

Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Animal Studies

This rating shows that research studies have been done in animals such as rats, mice, rabbits and mammals such as dogs, cats, monkeys or chimpanzees.

If there are any studies done in humans, they are either of a very poor design, involved a small number of subjects or that they were not published in peer-reviewed journals.

It would be difficult for the manufacturer selling the supplement to make any claims of its effectiveness in humans.

At this level, it is probably questionable on if this product would actually benefit the health condition is claimed to treat.

Save your money.

Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Lab Studies Only / Accidental Observation

There are no studies done on human or in animals. The only research done is in lab settings on human or animal cells or tissues.

It does not mean that natural remedies with the one-leaf rating will not work. It's just that there's no research studies done on animals (rats, mice, rabbits, etc..).

At this level of research, it is pretty much impossible to say if the supplement would work.

Helpful This rating is given to natural remedies that could be helpful for the stated health condition based on known chemical properties and activities of the herb.

For example, herbs like catnip have carminative properties so it may be helpful for treating stomach complaints although no animal or clinical studies were done to verify this.

Also, this rating are given to natural remedies that are suggested by experts (for example naturopaths) experienced in treatment with alternative medicines or by groups of experts in different parts of the world.

Note: The rating Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects and Helpful is often used interchangeably. For example, if a researcher did some lab studies to show that a herb can relax muscle cells in a test tube and suggest that it can be helpful as a muscle relaxant, this herb would then be rated as Helpful.

Not Likely Effective or May Not be Effective or or Not Effective

There are clinical research studies that showed that the natural remedy does not help with treating the condition.

This is very different than unknown effectiveness. In this case, we have evidence that it might not work.

Unknown Effectiveness / Historic or Folk Medicine (Folkloric)

Also referred to as folkloric or anecdotal uses. Many natural remedies fall into this category.

These are historically suggested used where there are practically no research studies done on the herb.

There may not even exist any studies done in a test tube by some person dressed in a lab coat.

In the section titled "Uses and Suggested Uses", we also list suggested and traditional uses of the herb.

Editor's Comment on the Rating System

Our Leaf Rating System represents our editors expert opinions based on the scientific research that we have reviewed.

If you find conflicting studies, some show results, other showing no results, that should not surprise you.

The results can vary depending on how the research study is designed and on the selection of the volunteers for the clinical study.

Regarding our Leaf Rating System, should you consider trying the natural remedy if it has low evidence of effectiveness?

What about if there are no studies done on humans?

what if there are no studies done on even animals?

These are excellent questions that you might have thought of.

There are several things to consider:

Is it safe? Are there any hidden dangers or side effects?

Will it interact with my current health conditions or medications?

What are the side effects I can expect?

How much does it cost?

If it is safe (assuming there are some research studies to prove that, even if they were done on animals), you might want to try it.

Check to see if the herb has any potential conflict with your current health conditions or medications that you take (if any). Consult your pharmacist or physician first to discuss any possible concerns.

Some health conditions are easy for you to monitor. These include blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, arthritis, muscle spasm, stomach ache, etc...

Other health conditions are very difficult to self-monitor. You will need the support of your health care professionals to monitor the condition. These include cancer, uterine fibroids and hepatitis.

Health care professionals can provide you with advise and give you guidance and ways to watch out for problems. If the natural remedy is reasonably priced, then you will be out some money (but not by much) if the supplement does not live up to its claims.

There are probably thousands of species of plants that have not been discovered yet that have medicinal benefits. It is likely that the secret cures to many of our earthly ailments are still locked up in these yet to be discovered plants.

Related to Natural Remedies Rating System

Return to Health Conditions A-Z List


References for Rating System

Revised: 12.09.2014