Perceptions of Medicinal Plant Use Amongst the Hispanic Population in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area

  • Kim M. Grafford Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • Marcelo J. Nieto Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • Catherine D. Santanello Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Keywords: Medicinal plants, herbal medicines, Hispanics, Midwestern U.S., pharmacists


Introduction: Medicinal plant use in the United States has increased as reported by the National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health and U.S. Census Bureau.However, little is known about how many minority groups in the United States use medicinal plants.There is a rise in the Hispanic population; a community with a steep tradition of medicinal plant use, in the U.S., so understanding the perceptions of medicinal plant use is useful to healthcare providers.

Methods: A survey was designed to gauge a better understanding of the perceptions of medicinal plant use amongst Latino patients with varying education levels who reside in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area. Survey questions highlighted the perceptions of medicinal plants use, patient communication regarding medicinal plant use with healthcare providers (pharmacists and doctors), and the impact the education level has on medicinal plant use.

Results: Surveys were distributed to six different investigational sites around the St. Louis Metropolitan Area from August 2015 to December 2015. Survey respondents identified 45 different plants/herbs that they currently use or had used at some point in their life. Those with higher levels of education had varying opinions on medicinal plant use with their current practices.

Conclusion: The participants’ high interest in the use of medicinal plants exemplifies the need for enhanced communication between patients and healthcare professionals about medicinal plant use. However, it was hard to determine whether the participants’ level of education had any direct relationship to this use.

Conflict of Interest



Type: Original Research


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Received 2016-05-12
Published 2016-10-10