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J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2003 Sep-Oct;43(5):596-601.

Results of a population-based survey of adults' attitudes and beliefs about herbal products.

Author information

  • 1Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, 1300 South 2nd Street, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55454, USA.



To assess attitudes and beliefs about herbal products held by adults in a large metropolitan area.


Descriptive study.


Adults in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., metropolitan area were randomly selected from data tapes supplied by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Service Division.


Cross-sectional mailed survey.


Attitudes and beliefs were assessed via scaled responses to a series of statements about herbal products.


Most participants indicated an awareness of safety concerns with herbs, although a majority felt there was no harm in trying herbal products. Most agreed that it was a good idea to visit a physician before taking an herbal product and that one should inform his or her physician of any herbs being used. The majority of participants agreed or strongly agreed that "there is a lot of misinformation about herbs circulating" and that "health claims on the labels of many herbal products are exaggerated or unsubstantiated."


Although many participants acknowledged that use of herbal products poses risks, the perception persists that there is no harm in trying these products. Hence, education may be warranted to alert patients to clear safety concerns regarding herbal products. Our findings suggest that most adults know they should talk with their physician about their herb use, although other research suggests that many do not. Thus, obstacles to patients' disclosure of herbal product use need to be identified and addressed to facilitate communication of this important information by patients to their health care providers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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