Ethnobotanists are frequently involved in the initial documentation of plant remedies used in traditional and popular domestic medicine. To evaluate the safety and efficacy of herbal medicine as actually practiced requires the recording of the variables that can influence the therapeutic outcome. For pharmacological and toxicological testing, the factors controlling the final amount of active compound(s) taken by the patient are especially critical. Since most ethnobotanical studies omit such information, a framework for reporting the major factors is given. Topics discussed, including problems of the literature and suggested formats, are: 1) the plant: common name, scientific name, infraspecific variation, the voucher specimen; 2) preparation of the medicine: plant part, collection, storage, preparation; 3) therapy: general and adjunct, disorder treated, kind of practitioner, dosage regimen, route of administration, response to therapy, status of use; 4) the patient.