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Herbal and Dietary Supplement Use Skyrockets

Herbal and Dietary Supplement Use Skyrockets" title="Herbal and Dietary Supplement Use SkyrocketsSupplement Usage

Over half of all Americans over the age of 20 years used dietary supplements, according to a report issued April 2011 by the NCHS (National Center For Health Statistics), part of the CDC.

The report found that:

■The percentage of the U.S. population who used at least one dietary supplement increased from 42% in 1988–1994 to 53% in 2003–2006

■Women were most likely to use one or more dietary supplements than men for all time periods examined.

(NCHS Data Brief No. 61 April 2011)

Herbal Usage

The use of herbal supplements and remedies tripled- an increase of 350%- between 1996 and 1999, according to a study presented May 2001 at the International Scientific Conference on Complementary Alternative and Integrative Medicine Research. The authors, Nancy Gordon and Teresa Lin, reviewed data from surveys of 30,000 patients in each of the comparison years.

They felt that the statistics might actually underestimate the use of herbal supplements or remedies. Indeed, due to discrepancies in the definitions of herbs, length of usage, and other factors, other studies show estimates of herbal medicine usage to range from 3% all the way to 93%. Despite this wide variance, one thing is clear- more and more people are turning to herbal treatments for their medical problems and to proactively optimize their health.

Nearly Half of all Women Over 65 Use Herbal Products

In a study published January 2001 in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, researchers found that 45% of the women interviewed had used herbal products in the past year. The average number of products used was 2.5. All of the participants were 65 or older.

85% of the remedies were used on a continual basis and had been used, on average, for nearly three years. Given the demographics of our population and the intense interest in complementary medicine, this does not come as a surprise. In fact, in the study mentioned above by authors Gordon and Lin, Gordon noted that “We saw the fastest-growing use of herbal supplements in women older than 65”.

Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 2001, Vol 7, No 3, p 102
Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2001, Vol 33, No 11

Herb and supplement use in the US adult population. Kennedy J.

Clin Ther. 2005 Nov;27(11):1847-58.

Dept. Of Health Policy And Administrastion, College Of Pharmacy, Washington State Uniuversity, Spokane, WA 99210, USA. jjkennedy@wsu.edu

Abstract BACKGROUND: Research on the scope of use and factors associated with herbal medicine use is limited.

RESULTS: A total of 31,044 adults participated in the 2002 NHIS CAM survey. In all, 5787 adults said they had used herbs or supplements during the previous 12 months, of whom 57.3% said they used these products to treat specific conditions. Based on these responses, an estimated approximately 38.2 million adults in the United States used herbs and supplements in 2002. More than half of all users said that herbs and natural products were important to their health and well-being.

CONCLUSION: Herb and natural supplement use was widespread in the US adult population in 2002, according to data from the NHIS CAM survey.

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