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Altern Ther Health Med. 2007 Mar-Apr;13(2):22-9.

Factors associated with herbal therapy use by adults in the United States.

Author information

1
Division for Research and Education in Complementary and Integrative Medical Therapies, Harvard Medical School, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the patterns of herbal therapy use among adults in the United States and to describe factors associated with herb use.

DESIGN:

We examined the use of natural herbs from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). We analyzed factors associated with herb use and reasons for herb use with logistic regression.

RESULTS:

Factors associated with herb use include the following: age (45-64 years old), being uninsured, being female, having a higher education, living in the West, using prescription medications or over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and self-identified as "non-Hispanic other." Factors associated with no herb use include being non-Hispanic black and living in the South or Midwest. Seventy-two percent of those who used herbs used prescription medications, and 84% of those who used herbs also used an OTC medication in the prior 12 months. Among adults who used herbs, the most commonly mentioned were echinacea (41%), ginseng (25%), gingko (22%), and garlic (20%). The most frequent conditions for herb use were head or chest cold (30%), musculoskeletal conditions (16%), and stomach or intestinal illness (11%). Among those who used herbs in the prior year, factors associated with using herbs because conventional medical treatments were too expensive included being uninsured, having poor health, and being 25-44 years old.

CONCLUSIONS:

Nearly 1 in 5 people in the US population report using an herb for treatment of health conditions and/or health promotion. More than half did not disclose this information to a conventional medical professional.

PMID:
17405675
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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