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One-Third of Nation's Adults Use Herbal Remedies: Market Estimated at 3.2 Billion.
A third of the nation's adults (32 percent) spend an average of $54 per year on herbal remedies to treat more common health conditions. According to a national survey conducted by Prevention magazine, herbal alternatives have become mainstream.

That's almost 60 million Americans over age 18 who use herbs to treat colds, burns, headaches, allergies, rashes, insomnia, PMS and depression.

The resulting herbal boom has created a $3.24 billion market for botanically based health remedies, redefining the herbal user from the popular misconception that herbal remedies are used by aging hippies or found only in granny's kitchen cupboard. Botanically based health treatments are becoming part of a social "norming."

This growing use of herbal remedies was the subject of a segment on television's NBC Today: Weekend Edition on Saturday, March I. Varro E. Tyler, Ph.D., Sc.D., Dean Emeritus of the Purdue University School of Pharmacy and Pharmacal Sciences and member of the ABC Board of Trustees, appeared as a part of the presentation. Dr. Tyler Said, "I personally am convinced that so many of these plants can be very useful products. My ambition is to see sensible regulations, properly implemented, that would control herbal drugs in this country."

Survey results indicate that the majority of consumers who use herbal remedies think they are just as effective, safe, and cost efficient as non-herbal remedies. Among consumers who use herbal remedies, the majority think they are just as good or better than nonherbal remedies in the areas of efficacy (53 percent), safety (65 percent)and cost (58 percent). Two in five Americans (42 percent) think that herbal remedies can effectively treat illnesses like cancer. Friends and family, and not necessarily the health food store, are the sources most people use to learn about herbal remedies. Forty-one percent of Americans hear about herbal remedies through the grapevine, 37 percent turn to magazines, and 35 percent consult books for information about herbal treatments. The health food store is a source for 13 percent of the nation's adults, followed by doctors (9 percent), television (5 percent), and pharmacists (4 percent). This information is based on a nationwide telephone survey conducted for Prevention magazine by International Communications Research (ICR). Interviews were completed with a full probability sample of 1,008 adults age 18 or older from February 7-11, 1997. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points. [Prevention. 1997. Survey on Use of Herbs in America. Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania.] Article copyright American Botanical Council. ~~~~~~~~ By Barbara A. Johnston