The EVIDENCE Project2019-05-15T21:52:19+00:00

Project Description


A lack of quality research on the effectiveness and safety of integrative health products is the single greatest reason for a lack of inclusion of these products in conventional medicine. While many research studies do exist, a great deal of these studies use poor methodology and fail to provide the evidence required to truly establish that 1) these products actually work, and 2) that these products are safe to use as directed.

Without this critical evidence, holistic medicine will continue to fail to establish itself as a legitimate scientific approach to wellbeing.

The purpose of The Evidence Project is to gather, analyze, and summarize the existing body of knowledge on the effects of herbal products, essential oils, and dietary supplements, particularly regarding safety and efficacy. This project spans the breadth of research by compiling case study reports, conducting systematic reviews of the scientific literature, and quantitatively analyzing existing clinical trials through meta-analyses.

Findings from the three branches of The Evidence Project will identify gaps in knowledge, pinpoint the greatest needs for future scientific inquiry, and summarize existing knowledge to increase its availability for inclusion in healthcare.

The Evidence Project is a collaborative research supported through industry leaders and professionals. It is fully funded by the generous donations of sponsors, both individual and corporate.


Compiling, contrasting, and analyzing case reports collected from aromatherapy experts nationwide.


Gathering, analyzing, and organizing all of the existing scientific research on each herb and essential oil.


Studying the research by compiling and analyzing available evidence at the macro level.


The Evidence Project relies on the collaboration of herbalists and aromatherapists who make this project possible.


Both one-time and regular monthly donations help to make this project happen.


The cost of each topic ranges from $5k to $65k. Learn how your company can sponsor an herb or essential oil.


Help spread the word! The most effective way to contribute to The Evidence Project is to share with the holistic health community.

(T)here cannot be two kinds of medicine – conventional and alternative. There is only medicine that has been adequately tested and medicine that has not, medicine that works and medicine that may or may not work.Once a treatment has been tested rigorously, it no longer matters whether it was considered alternative at the outset. If it is found to be reasonably safe and effective, it will be accepted.”

Tabish et al, 2008, Complementary and alternative healthcare: is it evidence-based?. International journal of health sciences, 2(1), V.

For CAM therapies to be considered effective, there should be evidence that they are more effective when compared to a placebo or a control. Lack of funding for well-designed CAM studies is often mentioned as a reason that these studies are not done. However, CAM products are a multi-billion dollar business, suggesting that lack of profitability should not be a reason companies do not study these products.

Denise Millstine, MD, Mayo Clinic, writing for the Merck Manual

Although increased research in the field of CAM is important, many considerations exist, such as the need to increase the quality of research, minimize publication bias, protect intellectual property, and separate gimmicky products from bona fide complementary therapies and medicines. In the long term, this will ultimately enhance the standing of the CAM industry and increase consumer confidence.

Sarris, J, 2012, Current challenges in appraising complementary medicine evidence. Medical Journal of Australia, 196(5), 310-311.

Many consumers may be attracted to CAM because they assume that CAM is effective and almost free of risk. . . .  in many areas of CAM we have so far insufficient evidence to state with confidence that more good than harm is being done. Obviously this means that more research is required to define both risk and benefit more accurately. But until it is available, clinical CAM practice operates in the presence of uncertainty.

Ernst et al, 2004, Ethical problems arising in evidence based complementary and alternative medicine. Journal of Medical Ethics, 30(2), 156-159.

“83 million adults spent $33.9 billion out-of-pocket on CAM. CAM costs are 11.2% of total out-of-pocket expenditures on health care.. . . While scientific evidence exists regarding some CAM therapies, for many there are key questions that are yet to be answered through well-designed scientific studies, such as whether these therapies are safe and work for the purposes for which they are used.

Nihin et al, 2009, Costs of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Frequency of Visits to CAM Practitioners: United States.


Will these studies be published in scientific journals?2019-06-19T14:56:30+00:00

Findings from The Evidence Project will be compiled according to accepted scientific standards and disseminated through multiple methods.

  • The Franklin Health Research Foundation website will include a database of these findings written in plain English for widespread dissemination.
  • Meta-analyses with noteworthy findings will be published in various scientific journals.
  • Findings will also be submitted to integrative health conferences for presentation.
What type of evidence will be available?2019-04-22T15:56:40+00:00

The Evidence Project produces systematic reviews and meta-analyses (where possible) of integrative health interventions. Because systematic reviews and meta analyses are fully dependent on the existence of existing studies in the literature, the extent of evidence this project will produce is also dependent upon the existence of existing research.

The project is prioritizing subjects where sufficient evidence exists to conduct a comprehensive meta-analysis. When that phase is completed, it will expand to systematic reviews of evidence. Systematic reviews without a meta-analysis will only be conducted where there is a lack of available evidence for further analysis.

How long will The Evidence Project take?2019-04-22T15:51:34+00:00

The Evidence Project has two key phases: development and maintenance.

The development stage is the first stage that involves creating an initial database of findings. Ideally, these will be available to the public for free or for a suggested donation. The duration of the development stage is fully dependent upon volunteers and funding. This phase may take anywhere from 2-5 years.

As the primary goal of the project is to identify, analyze, and summarize the body of knowledge on each given topic in integrative health, and the body of knowledge is continuously growing, The Evidence Project will be constantly updated to reflect new evidence. This maintenance phase will be ongoing.



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