Herbal and dietary supplement use in Bangkok: a survey

Mayuree Tangkiatkumjai 1 , Helen Boardman 2 ,  and Dawn-Marie Walker 1
  • 1 Division of Primary Care, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, QMC, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK
  • 2 Division of Social Research in Medicines and Health, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
Mayuree Tangkiatkumjai, Helen Boardman and Dawn-Marie Walker

Abstract

Background: People living in Asian countries including Thailand are likely to use herbal and dietary supplements (HDS). However, there is limited evidence of their usage in Thailand. The objectives of this study were to determine (1) the prevalence of HDS usage amongst a general population in Bangkok; (2) patterns of HDS use; (3) reasons why Bangkok residents use HDS.

Methods: This cross-sectional survey recruited 400 Thai people aged 15 years or over at busy bus stops in Bangkok, Thailand, using convenience sampling. Data were collected via an interview regarding demographics, HDS usage and reasons of using HDS. Descriptive statistics, such as frequencies and percentages, were used to analyse the prevalence and the patterns of HDS use.

Results: The prevalence of HDS usage in the previous 6 months was 52%. The majority of people who took herbs used them to treat illnesses (58%), whereas the majority of people who took dietary supplements used them to promote well-being (65%). Respondents reported using HDS due to their efficacy (28%), wanting to try them (26%) and safety concerns with conventional medicines (15%).

Conclusions: Health care providers should be aware of HDS use amongst Thai residents in Bangkok. Policy makers should educate people about appropriate HDS use.

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The Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine focuses on evidence concerning the efficacy and safety of complementary and alternative medical (CAM) whole systems, practices, interventions and natural health products, including herbal medicines.

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