Herbal Remedy Use Affected by Culture
LONDON, Ontario---The use of alternative therapies may have as much to do with cultural influences as with dissatisfaction with conventional medicine, according to a study from the University of Miami. The survey, conducted by the Department of Family Medicine, included 800 patients at 13 primary-care practices in South Florida. Researchers, led by Dr. Bernd Wollschlaeger, found that herbal medicines were used by 31.6 percent of patients and 59.2 percent used other dietary supplements.
According to Wollschlaeger, there were significant cultural differences in the use of herbal remedies. "For example, Hispanic patients are more likely to use home remedies than other patients, and patients with one or both parents born outside of the United States are more likely to use herbs and home remedies," he said. He added that most patients had not advised their physician about the alternative therapies they were using, but indicated they would do so if asked.
Wollschlaeger is set to present the information during the 2002 Caribbean Medical Cruise for Complementary/Alternative Therapies, set for Feb. 3 to 10. The cruise is sponsored by the Institute of Integrated Medicine (www.doctorsteachingdoctors.com) in London, Ontario.