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Two-Thirds of Canadians Say Natural Herbal Supplements Are as Effective as Prescription Drugs or Over-the-Counter Remedies.
More than two-thirds of Canadians agree that natural herbal supplements can be as effective as prescriptions or over-the-counter remedies in the maintenance, prevention, and treatment of health problems, according to a national consumer survey. The survey was conducted by Gallup Canada for Traditional Medicinals of Sebastopol, California, a leading maker of medicinal herbal teas since 1974.

The results indicate that those persons surveyed believed that:

- herbal supplements are now more accepted by consumers (94%).

- the medical community has become more accepting of herbal supplements (62%).

- medicinal tea has health benefits (37%), including 44% of the women surveyed.

- they were "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to take an herbal supplement to treat a cold (51.4%).

- echinacea is a good way to treat a cold (33%).

- they were "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to take an herbal supplement to combat stress or sleeplessness (38%).

- they were more likely to consider buying herbal supplements if labels provided information explaining health benefits (68%).

- natural herbal supplements can be as effective as prescription or OTC drugs: agreed strongly (20%); agreed somewhat (46.8%); neither agreed nor disagreed (12%): disagreed somewhat (13.6%); disagreed strongly (4.6%).

- it is all right to go to and have been to a complementary and alternative medical (CAM) practitioner such as a naturopathic physician, a medical herbalist, or a homeopathic doctor (20%).

- among the reasons given for not consulting CAM professionals: person does not get sick (22%); health insurance does not pay for this type of service (17%). Chiropractors and acupuncturists were not included in the CAM practitioner category in this survey.

The survey defined herbal supplements as herbs marketed as nutritional supplements in tablets, capsules, tonics, or teas, and not those sold as flavorings or spices. Telephone interviews with 1,003 adult Canadians were conducted between September 16 and 23, 1999. The survey is considered accurate within a 3 percentage-point mar gin of error, 19 in 20 times.

[Traditional Medicinals Gallup Survey, 1999, Oct. 14]

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By Barbara A. Johnston