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Herbal medicine use among Turkish patients with chronic diseases

Münevver Tulunay, Cenk Aypak, Hülya Yıkılkan, Süleyman Görpelioğlu.

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Aim: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is commonly used all over the world and herbal medicines are the most preferred ways of CAM. The aim of this study is to determine the frequency of herbal medicine use among patients with chronic diseases.
Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted from April 2014 to December 2014 among patients who had been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus (DM), hypertension (HT) and hyperlipidemia (HL) in Family Medicine Department of Dışkapı Yıldırım Beyazıt Training and Research Hospital, in Ankara. A questionnaire about herbal drug use was applied by face to face interview to the participants.
Results: A total of 217 patients were included in this study. The mean age of the participants was 56.6±9.7 years (55 male and 162 female). The rate of herbal medicine use was 29%. Herbal medicine use among female gender was significantly higher (p=0.040). Conventional medication use was found to be lower among herbal medicine consumers. There was no relationship between herbal medicine use and type of chronic disease, living area, occupation or education level. Most frequently used herbs were lemon (39.6%) and garlic (11.1%) for HT, cinnamon (12.7%) for DM and walnut (6.3%) for HL.
Conclusions: In this study herbal medicine use was found to be higher among patients who had been diagnosed with chronic diseases. Therefore physicians should be aware of herbal medicine usage of their patients and inform them about the effectivity and side effects of herbal medicines.

Key words: Herbal medicines, phytotherapy, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia.

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