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POPULAR IS HERBAL MEDICINE IN THE UNITED STATES?
Herbal medicine has become increasingly
popular in this country, according to the following data:
Since the DSHEA Act of 1994, an herbal
product can be classified as a nutritional supplement, so, for this
reason, many of the products bought as supplements do contain herbs in
some form or another (herbal teas or infusions, extracts, essential
oils, syrups, etc.) (Foster and Tyler, 2000; Robbers and Tyler, 2000;
Miller and Murray, 1998).
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
(CAM), which includes herbal therapy as one of its key components,
has become an important source of health care for many people in the
U.S. (Skidmore-Roth 2001; Pierce 1999). In a study conducted in a
Boston hospital , the use of CAM increased 25% between 1990 and 1997
In a survey conducted between 1998 and
1999, about 49 % of American adults, some 100 million people, tried
remedies from plants. Of these, 25 million individuals (24%)
considered themselves regular medicinal herb consumers (Castleman,
Conferences, books, magazines, courses
and symposia related to phytotherapy and herbalism have increased
substantially in recent years (Foster and Tyler, 2000).
Pharmacognosy, the study of medicinal
products from natural sources, is now being included in the curriculum
some pharmacy schools and colleges in the United States (Foster and
Aside from herbal products purchased in
stores or marketplaces, the trend known as “back to nature,” has also
spurred the interest in foraging for edible or medicinal wild plants
in many wilderness areas across the globe.
Unfortunately, some of the plants and
fungi (mushrooms) that may have medicinal or nutritional value can
easily be confused with poisonous species by the inexperienced
layperson. Because of this, cases of poisoning from wild plants and
mushrooms occur in many countries each year (Piqueras, 1996).
Literature Cited for
"Introduction to Scientific Monographs"