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A survey on the use of medicinal herbs in the treatment of respiratory complaints in Al-Taif area, Saudi Arabia

Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed Abd El‑Mawla, Ibrahim A. Maghrabi, Ahmed A. Albarraq.

Aim: A lot of people suffering from respiratory problems ranging from simple to chronic. Respiratory patients in different countries is still looking for a new treatment for their complaints, especially chronic ones. Use of medicinal herbs still find the attention of many respiratory patients. The present study surveyed for the first time the common respiratory problems in Al-Taif area, Saudi Arabia and herbs used in the treatment.
Methods: A cross-sectional, qualitative survey was undertaken. Samples of the population in different Al-taif areas, Saudi Arabia were questioned about: Age, respiratory complaints, herbs used, how to use, responsiveness, side effect. The collected data were analyzed by using SPSS program.
Results: The present study showed that 154 (51.34%) of 300 of Al-Taif population are suffering from respiratory complaints. The frequency of complaints were: (38.96%) chest allergy, (33.77%) asthma, (9.09%) bronchitis, (7.79%) sinusitis, cough (5.19%), colds (2.6%) and sore throat (2.6%). About (59.8%) of patients used herbs for their respiratory complaints. The most common herbs used in respiratory complaints were: Anise (17.4%), Ginger (13%), Guava (10.8%), Olibanum (7.6%) and Sesame oil (6.5%). 19.57% of patients used herbs for their respiratory complaints under supervision of specialist (pharmacist or doctor). Only two (2.174%) respiratory patients who used Ginger, Radish , Onion and Garlic suffered from heart burn. About 47.83% of respiratory patients noticed a good improvement after using the herbs. The other patients response ranged between excellent (31.52%), acceptable (18.48%) and weak (2.17% ).
Conclusion: Herbal medicine will continue to be extremely important for the treatment of respiratory complaints in Al-Taif area, Saudi Arabia. The responsiveness of respiratory patients to medicinal herbs was good and acceptable. This reasonable responsiveness of respiratory complaints to herbal medicine encourages us to recommend the use of herbs in treatment of respiratory complaints, but under the supervision of specialists.

Key words: Respiratory complaints; Asthma; Herbs; Anise; Response.

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