Characteristics of herbal medicine users among internal medicine patients: A cross-sectional analysis

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Herbal Medicine, 2017, 10 pp. 1 - 7
Issue Date:
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© 2017 Elsevier GmbH Background: Herbal medicine is among the most frequently used complementary medicines. This study aims to identify the socio-demographic and health-related predictors of herbal medicine utilisation among patients with chronic internal medicine conditions admitted to inpatient care. Methods: Patients referred to a German integrative medicine clinic were asked whether they had ever used herbal medicine for their primary medical diagnosis, and whether they experienced benefits or harm. Socio-demographic characteristics, health behaviour, medical diagnosis, health status, mental health, satisfaction with health, and health locus of control were determined as potential predictors of herbal medicine use. Results: Of 2105 respondents, 41.9% reported herbal medicine use for their primary medical complaint, with 57.4% of them reporting perceived benefits and no harm due to use. Herbal medicine use was positively associated with female gender, at least high school education, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, lung disease or sub-threshold depression, high internal health locus of control and avoidance of fast food, and was negatively associated with spinal pain. High satisfaction with life and high internal health locus of control were positively associated with perceiving herbal medicine as helpful. Whilst, being a smoker and diagnosed with headaches or irritable bowel syndrome had a negative association with the use of herbal medicine. Conclusion: Herbal medicine utilisation among patients admitted to integrative inpatient care is common. While predictors of herbal medicine use appear to be in line with previous findings, there is a need for more in-depth examination of patients’ motivations for the use of herbal medicine to further the understanding of their health behaviours and needs.
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