Online Program

Prevalence of botanicals used as medicine in the United States: A systematic review

Monday, November 4, 2013

Termeh Feinberg, MPH, Department of Epidemiology/School of Public Health, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Kim Innes, MSPH, Ph.D, Dept of Epidemiology/School of Public Health, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Introduction/Background: Botanicals have been used for millennia across the globe to treat health-related conditions. The usage of botanicals - a component of CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) - for both treating and preventing illness, has been increasing in the United States. However, few studies have systematically reviewed the prevalence of botanical usage among the general US population. Aims/Objectives: The purpose of this research is to greater understand the usage of botanicals by the general US population, so that researchers may be able to more accurately identify associated health benefits and risks, as well as tailor effective interventions for populations, since it has been proposed that the use of CAM therapies is best understood as a component of health self-management. Methods: Using PRISMA guidelines, a systematic literature review was conducted in order to assess the prevalence of botanical usage in peer-reviewed public health literature from 2005-2012 among US populations with large sample sizes (N >499). Findings/Results: There was a growing prevalence of botanical usage between 2002 and 2007. Public health risks were identified, as were gaps, creating the need for further and more specific research on botanical using in the United States. Conclusion/Summary/Discussion: Because of the increasing number of botanical users in the US, in addition to the continued global reliance on botanicals, this research has directly applicability to both the 2013 APHA conference theme and to the field of public health.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Differentiate between botanical, biological, and CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) usage. Identify the growing prevalence of the usage of botanicals in the US. Discuss public health implications that botanical usage imposes. Formulate research questions that currently address the needs of both this population and of the health care systems of which they are a part of.

Keyword(s): Epidemiology, Herbal Medicine

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal researcher on a systematic literature review on the prevalence of botanical usage in the United States. Aside from relevant completed coursework on CAM usage through my MPH, I have completed a year-long Community Herbalism course, and spent 2 years working in a traditional herbal apothecary.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.