Send to

Choose Destination
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2006 Apr 28;6:15.

Expertise about herbs and dietary supplements among diverse health professionals.

Author information

Departments of Pediatrics and Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Medical Center Blvd., Winston-Salem, NC, USA.



Herbs and other dietary supplements are among the most commonly used complementary medical therapies. However, clinicians generally have limited knowledge, confidence and communication about herbs and dietary supplements (HDS). We compared diverse clinicians' expertise about HDS to better target future curricula.


We conducted a cross-sectional survey of physicians, pharmacists, nurses, dietitians and trainees in these professions prior to e-curriculum about HDS in 2004-2005. The survey had 28 questions about knowledge, 19 questions about their confidence and 11 questions about their communication practices about HDS.


Of the 1,268 participants, 25% were male; the average age was 40 years. Mean scores were 66% correct for knowledge; 53/95 on the confidence scale and 2.2 out of possible 10 on the communication practices scale. On average, scores were lowest for those who used fewer HDS; and trainees and nurses compared with physicians, pharmacists and dietitians (P < 0.01 for all comparisons).


Clinicians have moderate levels of knowledge and confidence, but poor communication skills about HDS. Future curricula about HDS should target nurses, students, practitioners and those not currently using HDS. Research is needed to determine the most cost-effective educational strategies for diverse health professionals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center