Purpose: This study measured the knowledge and use of herbs among Hispanics and assessed their experiences when discussing herb use with their physician. Methods: Self-administered questionnaires were collected from 620 Hispanic patients seeking treatment in urban health centers. Results: Most (80.3%) reported using herbs. Herb users were more comfortable speaking Spanish (91.9% vs 80.2%) and had been in the United States less than 5 years (47.0% vs 29.4%). More users considered herbs as drugs (60.5% vs 39.6%). Users were more aware that herbs could harm a baby if taken during pregnancy (56.4% vs 36.0%). The majority did not know the English name for 23 of the 25 herbs. A majority indicated their physician was unaware of their herb use. Few (17.4%) responded that their physicians asked about herb use. Only 41.6% thought their physician would understand their herb use, and 1.8% believed their physician would encourage continued use. There were no significant differences between herb users and nonusers in their perception of patient-physician communication levels. Conclusion: Primary care physicians need to be aware that most Hispanic patients are likely to use herbs. It is important to initiate and encourage discussion of their patient's interest in and use of these therapies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Family Practice