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Ann Epidemiol. 2005 Oct;15(9):678-85.

Medicinal herb use in a population-based survey of adults: prevalence and frequency of use, reasons for use, and use among their children.

Author information

1
Nutrition and Health Sciences Program, Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

There is sparse population-based data on health factors related to medicinal herb use and use of medicinal herbs in children. For a sample of American adults, we estimated the prevalence and frequency of medicinal herb use, factors related to use, reasons for use, patient-physician discussion, and the proportion of respondents who gave herbs to their children.

METHODS:

The data used in this study was from the 2001 North Carolina Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a population-based telephone survey of English-speaking adults (n = 2982).

RESULTS:

Approximately 20% of respondents reported using medicinal herbs in the past year. Of these, 34% reported discussion of herb use with a physician; 69% reported taking herbs to maintain health, 20% to prevent illness, and 11% to treat illness. Of the total sample, 7% reported using herbs everyday and 5% of the respondents reported giving their children herbal medicines in the past year.

CONCLUSIONS:

Medicinal herb use is common in this population sample. The lack of discussion between users and their physicians highlights the importance of patient-physician communication to avoid possible herb-drug interactions and surgical complications. Herb use appears to be a popular strategy for maintaining health. Children may be vulnerable to herbal toxicity and therefore clinicians need to know about their medicinal herb use and counsel appropriately.

PMID:
16157255
DOI:
10.1016/j.annepidem.2004.09.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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