CAM on PubMedCAM on PubMed
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is CAM on Pubmed?
A: CAM on PubMed contains citations of journal articles related to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). It was developed jointly by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) to help people search easily for journal articles related to a variety of CAM therapies, approaches, and systems — from acupuncture, to herbs, to traditional oriental medicine.

CAM on PubMed is a subset (a part) of all citations found on the NLM's PubMed and offers all of the features and benefits of PubMed.

Q: What is PubMed?
A: PubMed is a system of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) that provides an easy way to access over 11 million journal citations in the MEDLINE database and additional life science journals. NLM is the world's largest library of the health sciences, located at the National Institutes of Health. PubMed is free and searchable through the Internet. In addition, PubMed has a "LinkOut" feature that links a citation to outside sources for the full text of the article (some publishers may require a subscription or a fee); over 1,700 journals are linked. Another feature of PubMed, "Related Articles," lets you obtain a set of citations that are closely related to the selected article. NLM regularly adds new citations to PubMed.

Q: What is complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)?
A: NCCAM defines complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as those healthcare practices not currently considered an integral part of conventional medicine. It covers a broad range of healing therapies, approaches, and systems. Some examples of CAM include acupuncture, herbs, homeopathy, chiropractic, hypnosis, and traditional oriental medicine.

A therapy is called complementary when it is used in addition to conventional treatments. It is often called alternative when it is used instead of conventional treatment. Most often, people who use CAM therapies are seeking ways to improve their health and well-being and to relieve symptoms and side effects of conventional treatment.

Q: Who will use this database?
A: CAM on PubMed will be used by researchers, CAM practitioners, health care providers, students, people with illnesses, their family and friends, advocacy organizations and many others as a resource to find citations related to complementary and alternative medicine. Please note that it is not the intention of the NLM or NCCAM to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide people with access to sources of information.

Q: How many citations are included within CAM on PubMed?
A: Currently, there are over 220,000 citations in the CAM subset of PubMed (from 1966 forward). As research in complementary and alternative medicine grows and more articles are published in peer-reviewed journals, we expect the number of citations to increase.

Q: How do I access CAM on PubMed?
A: You can access CAM on PubMed from any computer with Internet access. You do not need to register.

You can find CAM on PubMed through the NCCAM Website or directly through PubMed. When searching from the NCCAM Website, your searches will be automatically limited to CAM-related citations. If you search directly from PubMed, you need to limit the search to the CAM subset. First, click on the "Limit" function. Next, select "Complementary Medicine" on the Subsets pull down menu.

Q: Where can I find help using CAM on PubMed?
A: To find help using CAM on PubMed, review the information under PubMed's Help and FAQ sections. This information is accessible from the sidebar while you are in PubMed. You may also e-mail NLM's customer service (

Q: How can I obtain more information about complementary and alternative medicine or learn more about the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)?
A: The NCCAM Web site,, includes links to NCCAM program areas, news and events, research grants, funding opportunities, and other information about complementary and alternative medicine.

In addition, you may contact the NCCAM Clearinghouse for information at:

NCCAM Clearinghouse
P.O. Box 8218
Silver Spring, Maryland 20907-8218
Toll Free: 1-888-644-6226
TTY/TDY: 1-888-644-6226
FAX: 301-495-4957

Q: How do I learn more about the National Library of Medicine (NLM)?
A: The Library has an extensive Web site at that provides a great variety of information for the general public and for health professionals. The site requires no registration and users are assured of complete privacy.

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