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Proc Nutr Soc. 2007 Nov;66(4):479-82.

Use of herbal supplements and nutritional supplements in the UK: what do we know about their pattern of usage?

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The Herbal Medicine Research Unit, School of Life Sciences, Napier University, Edinburgh EH9 2TB, UK.


Within the last decade there has been a dramatic increase in the sale and use of herbal supplements and food supplements by Western populations and within the UK. This increased usage has coincided with a resurgence of interest in nutritional therapy and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies, such as herbal medicine, naturopathy and homeopathy, in which therapists may provide dietary advice and advocate the use of food or herbal supplements. The rise in the use of CAM therapies by the UK population can be attributed to several factors, including: promotion via health programmes and the media; a change in public attitudes; training of more nutritional and CAM therapists as a result of the increased availability of courses; a greater use of CAM and food and herbal supplements, particularly by patients with cancer. The aim of the present paper is to identify the pattern of usage of food and herbal supplements in the UK.

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