Herbal Medicine Use in Minority Populations in the U.S.

Despite the fact that the use of herbal and other “alternative” medicines has increased considerably in the U.S. in recent years, little is known about the patterns of use in minority populations. Usage of alternative medicines in minority groups may be strongly influenced by an individual’s cultural background and traditional beliefs, and hence differ from that of the majority population. To help fill the knowledge gap, we are analyzing data from an ongoing U.S. population-based telephone survey, the Slone Survey, that collects detailed information on the use of all medications, including prescription and over the counter (OTC) drugs, vitamins, herbal preparations, and other dietary supplements. The analyses will provide a detailed description of the usage patterns of herbal medicines and other non-vitamin/non-mineral supplements in the following minority groups: African-American, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander. Information will be provided on herbal use overall and specific herbal entities, as well as the reasons for use of these substances. Time trends over the period 1998-2005 and concomitant use of herbals/supplements and other drugs (prescription and OTC) will be examined in each minority group. The results for the various analyses will be compared with the majority non-Hispanic white population in the Survey.

David Kaufman, Sc.D., Principal Investigator
Judith P. Kelly, M.S., Epidemiologist

Source of Funding:

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NIH)

Study Period:

2004 to 2007