Herbal medicine use among hypertensive patients attending public and private health facilities in Freetown Sierra Leone

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Journal Article
Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 2018, 31 pp. 7 - 15
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© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Objective This study aimed to determine the prevalence, determinants and pattern of herbal medicine use among hypertensive patients in Freetown. Methods and materials We conducted a cross-sectional study among hypertensive patients attending public and private health facilities in Freetown, Sierra Leone between August and October 2016. We analyzed the data using SPSS version 24. We used Chi-square, Fisher exact two-tailed test and regression analysis for data analysis. A p-value less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results Out of 260 study participants, over half (n = 148, 56.9%) reported using herbal medicine for the treatment of hypertension alone or together with comorbid condition(s). The most commonly used herbal medicine among users were honey (n = 89, 33.3%), moringa (n = 80, 30.0%) and garlic (n = 73, 27.3%). No significant difference existed between users and non-users of herbal medicine with regards to socio-demographic and health-related factors. The majority (n = 241, 92.7%) of respondents considered herbal medicine beneficial if it was recommended by a healthcare provider yet 85.1% (n = 126) did not disclose their herbal medicine use to their health care provider. Conclusion There is a high use of herbal medicines among hypertensive patients in Freetown, Sierra Leone. It is essential for healthcare providers to take heed of the findings of this study and routinely ask their patients about their herbal medicine use status. Such practice will provide the opportunity to discuss the benefits and risks of herbal medicine use with the aim of maximizing patient desired therapeutic outcomes.
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