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COMMENTARY
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 233-234  

Herbal medicines: knowledge, perception, and usage


Department of Community Medicine, Dr DY Patil Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, Dr DY Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, India; Tropical Medicine Unit, Hainan Medical University, Haikou, China; Department of Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Nis, Nis, Serbia; Department of Biological Science, Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Ikeji-Arakeji, Osun State, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication19-May-2017

Correspondence Address:
Viroj Wiwanitkit
Wiwanitkit House, Bangkhae, Bangkok 10160, Thailand

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/MJDRDYPU.MJDRDYPU_11_17

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How to cite this article:
Wiwanitkit V. Herbal medicines: knowledge, perception, and usage. Med J DY Patil Univ 2017;10:233-4

How to cite this URL:
Wiwanitkit V. Herbal medicines: knowledge, perception, and usage. Med J DY Patil Univ [serial online] 2017 [cited 2017 May 26];10:233-4. Available from: http://www.mjdrdypu.org/text.asp?2017/10/3/233/206567

The published article in Med J Dr. DY Patil University on “herbal medicines”[1] is an interesting issue. In fact, the complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widely used in any settings, either in Western or Eastern hemispheres of the world. The big concern is the knowledge of the medical personnel toward the herbal medicines. Of interest, it is interesting that the modern practitioners usually have the information on the CAM. Good attitude toward using CAM is usually seen, but the great concern is on the knowledge. According to a recent report from Ghana, Ameade et al. reported that “although students in this study were deficient in knowledge on CAMs, their attitude and usage was good. Herbal medicine was the best known and used CAM. The majority of the students believed knowledge on CAM would be beneficial to their practice hence, desirous of its introduction into their medical curriculum.”[2] In another reports from India, Balouchi et al. reported that “nurses have positive attitudes about complementary and integrative health (CIH) though knowledge was typically weak. Educational programs should carefully consider how knowledge about CIH methods could be strengthened within curricula.”[3]

In another report from Ireland, Flaherty et al. showed that the medical students had “a positive attitude toward a holistic approach to patient care which embraces CAM.[4]” Flaherty et al. also proposed that “medical students believe that integrative medicine should be taught in medical school.[4]

Based on the quoted references,[2],[3],[4] there are some interesting points for further discussion. First, it can be seen that herbal medicine can be seen worldwide and medical personnel usually recognize and have good attitude toward it. Nevertheless, the lack of knowledge is common. This might be a very interesting observation that might go against basic educational concept, the knowledge-attitude-practice pathway. Good attitude can be hereby observed despite poor knowledge. If CAM is assured for clinical usefulness, it seems that modern medical practitioners can easily accept and use it as an integrative medical therapeutic tool in their daily practice. Therefore, the important point is the preparation by giving education system on CAM for the medical practitioner. This can be through the integration of subjects on herbal medicine and CAM in the curricula. This is also suggested by several researchers.[2],[3],[4] Furthermore, as already noted, there should be the systematic control on herbal medicine using in any setting. The collection of CAM wisdom is the first step. In this step, there should be a survey to summarize the current situation. In any setting, the important quantitative indexes should be sought for.[5] At least, the informant consensus factor [6] and fidelity level [5] have to be calculated [Table 1]. Then the verification and approval of clinical advantage and safety are the new step to be done. As noted by Neamsuvan and Ruangrit, “awareness of the use of herbs is necessary to ensure that they are used safely, and that benefits arise from the therapy.”[7]
Table 1: Important indexed that should be assessed in survey of herbal medicine usage in each setting

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  References Top

1.
Jimam N S, Joseph B N, Agba D C. Pharmacists' knowledge and perceptions about herbal medicines: A case study from Jos and environs. Med J DY Patil Univ 2017;10:3:229-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Ameade EP, Amalba A, Helegbe GK, Mohammed BS. Medical students' knowledge and attitude towards complementary and alternative medicine – A survey in Ghana. J Tradit Complement Med 2015;6:230-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Balouchi A, Rahnama M, Hastings-Tolsma M, Shoja MM, Bolaydehyi E. Knowledge, attitude and use of complementary and integrative health strategies: a preliminary survey of Iranian nurses. J Integr Med 2016;14:121-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Flaherty G, Fitzgibbon J, Cantillon P. Attitudes of medical students toward the practice and teaching of integrative medicine. J Integr Med 2015;13:412-5.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Hoffman B, Gallaher T. Importance indices in ethnobotany. Ethnobotany Res Appl 2017;5:201-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Heinrich M, Edwards S, Moerman DE, Leonti M. Ethnopharmacological field studies: A critical assessment of their conceptual basis and methods. J Ethnopharmacol 2009;124:1-17.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Neamsuvan O, Ruangrit T. A survey of herbal weeds that are used to treat gastrointestinal disorders from Southern Thailand: Krabi and Songkhla provinces. J Ethnopharmacol 2017;196:84-93.  Back to cited text no. 7
    



 
 
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