Botanical medicine; Complementary alternative medicine; Herbal supplements; Natural medicine
Herbal medicine, a branch of complementary alternative medicine (CAM), is sold without a prescription to promote and support overall health. The documented use of herbal therapy dates back to over 5,000 years ago. By the Middle Ages, over 1,000 plants were cataloged for their medicinal purposes (NCCAM 2008). In 2007, the CDC National Health Statistics Report estimated approximately 17.7 % of the US population utilizes herbal medicine. The most common were fish oil, glucosamine, and Echinacea (NCCAM 2008). Approximately 35.9 million Americans suffer from seasonal/perennial allergies (Nathan et al. 1997). It is important for consumers and healthcare practitioners alike to understand herbal products are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as their safety and efficacy have not been thoroughly evaluated. This entry will review herbal medications commonly...
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