MeSH stands for Medical Subject Headings. These headings were developed by the National Library of Medicine and are a list of key terms and phrases known as a ‘controlled vocabulary’. Databases such as Medline and the Cochrane Library allow the use of MeSH as a search tool.
The basic principle behind MeSH is that it defines the key words / phrases within medicine in a structured way.
These headings are organised into ‘trees’ – starting with big general terms, branching off into smaller more specific ones.