A Systematic Review of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Amongst Ethnic Minority Populations: A Focus Upon Prevalence, Drivers, Integrative Use, Health Outcomes, Referrals and Use of Information Sources

Abstract

Ethnic minority populations have been identified as high users of traditional, complementary and alternative medicine (TCAM). This paper reports the systematic review of TCAM use amongst ethnic minorities. A comprehensive literature search was conducted in Ovid, PubMed and CINAHL. Included studies were original, peer-reviewed, English language articles with the primary focus on TCAM use amongst ethnic minority populations. A total of 17 articles met the inclusion criteria and were included in the systematic review. A considerable level of TCAM use was observed amongst ethnic minority populations usually attributed to its perceived safe and natural properties. Ethnic minority populations predominantly used TCAM concurrently with conventional medicine and primary TCAM referral sources were family and friends. A substantial level of TCAM integration with conventional medicine is common practice amongst these populations and the lack of disclosure about TCAM use raises an important area for further research inquiry.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the Australian Research Council (ARC) for supporting this research, Dr Josephine Agu and Distinguished Professor Adams via an ARC Professional Future Fellowship (FT140100195).

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Correspondence to Jon Adams.

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Agu, J.C., Hee-Jeon, Y., Steel, A. et al. A Systematic Review of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Amongst Ethnic Minority Populations: A Focus Upon Prevalence, Drivers, Integrative Use, Health Outcomes, Referrals and Use of Information Sources. J Immigrant Minority Health 21, 1137–1156 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-018-0832-4

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Keywords

  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Ethnic minorities
  • CAM use
  • Complementary therapies