Herbal products: a survey of students’ perception and knowledge about their medicinal use

Kavita Sekhri, Sangeeta Bhanwra, Ruchika Nandha

Abstract


Background: As herbal therapies are increasingly being used around the world because they are perceived to be free of side effects, it is important that prescribers should be made aware of their possible harm or herb-drug interactions. In this context present study was undertaken among dental students to assess their knowledge and attitude towards the use of herbal products as medicines.

Methods: A detailed questionnaire having both open and close-ended questions to assess students’ perception, awareness and usage of herbal medication was given to 90 second year students in a teaching dental hospital. Data was expressed as counts and percentages.

Results: A total response rate of 93.3% was observed. 60.77% of respondents had used herbal medication for various ailments. Highest frequency of the use was recorded for ginger (37.5%) followed by neem (16.66%), turmeric (15%) and tulsi (13.33%). Elders at home (86%) was cited the most common source of herbal product information. Students were familiar with the use of clove, aloe vera, turmeric and neem but St. John's wort and Gingko biloba are ones that were generally not known to them. 67.64% indicated unawareness about safety concerns and herb-drug interactions. Most (68.65%) agreed that they did not tell their physician about taking herbal products. 58.73% preferred herbal products over allopathic medicine.

Conclusions: There is a need to impart knowledge to the students about the usage of herbal products as these are frequently used to treat various health problems. Students should be sensitized about their safety concerns and potential drug interactions.


Keywords


Herbal products, Knowledge, Herb-drug interaction

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References


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