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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

African Americans' use of herbs and supplements: Which ones are used? Are health care providers told?

Alice Lindeman, PhD, RD1, John F. Yannessa, MS1, and E. Lisako Jones-McKyer, PhD, MPH2. (1) Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, HPER Building 116, 1025 E. 7th Street, Bloomington, IN 47405-7109, (812) 855-6437, lindema@indiana.edu, (2) Indiana Prevention Resource Center, Indiana University, 2735 East 10th Street Room 110, Bloomington, IN 47408

Introduction: African Americans are most likely to use a “personal remedies” form of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, with greatest reliance on herbs or home remedies. Previous studies have indicated that these consumers are not likely to inform health care providers of such use. When taken therapeutically, herbs carry risk, i.e., possible nutrient-herb-drug interactions; risk increases with multiple herb/supplement use. Little is known about which herbs/supplements African Americans choose for health. The purpose of this research is to describe herbal/supplement use among African Americans. Methods: A sample of African Americans (N=180; age range 18-76 yr, SD=12.5 yr) completed a questionnaire on herb/supplement use for health. Results: One-third (32.8% n=59) of the sample used 45 different herbs/supplements, with 54.6% of users taking multiple herbs/supplements. Most popular were green tea (n=17); herbal tea (n=13); echinacea and ginger (n=10 each); garlic (n=9); and, black cohosh (n=8). Stimulants, including ma huang, guarana, and caffeine were not reportedly used. Most users considered the herb/supplement helpful (90.1%) and important for health maintenance (87.0%). Nondisclosure of herb/supplement use to health professionals was common (21.1% notified physicians, 5.2% notified other medical professionals.) Conclusions: These results suggest that African Americans use a wide variety of herbs/supplements, but most commonly those with low known risk. Nondisclosure of use was common, a concern especially for multiple herb/supplement users. Many of the diseases affecting African Americans are chronic and progressive, requiring continual monitoring and involving multiple treatment modalities. Nondisclosure could interfere with medical professionals providing optimal care to African Americans.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to

Keywords: African American, Herbal Medicine

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Growing Prevalence of Alternative and Complementary Health Practices: Obstacles and Opportunities for Health Professionals and Consumers

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA