Prevalence of Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Herbal Remedy Use in Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White Women: Results from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation

Robin R. Green, Nanette Santoro, Amanda A. Allshouse, Genevieve Neal-Perry, Carol Derby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: To investigate the prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use, including botanical/herbal remedies, among Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN), New Jersey site. We also examined whether attitudes toward CAM and communication of its use to providers differed for Hispanic and non-Hispanic women. Study design: SWAN is a community-based, multiethnic cohort study of midlife women. At the 13th SWAN follow-up, women at the New Jersey site completed both a general CAM questionnaire and a culturally sensitive CAM questionnaire designed to capture herbal products commonly used in Hispanic/Latina communities. Prevalence of and attitudes toward CAM use were compared by race/ethnicity and demographic characteristics. Results: Among 171 women (average age 61.8 years), the overall prevalence of herbal remedy use was high in both Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women (88.8% Hispanic and 81.3% non-Hispanic white), and prayer and herbal teas were the most common modalities used. Women reported the use of multiple herbal modalities (mean 6.6 for Hispanic and 4.0 for non-Hispanic white women; p = 0.001). Hispanic women were less likely to consider herbal treatment drugs (16% vs. 37.5%; p = 0.005) and were less likely to report sharing the use of herbal remedies with their doctors (14.4% Hispanic vs. 34% non-Hispanic white; p = 0.001). The number of modalities used was similar regardless of the number of prescription medications used. Conclusions: High prevalence of herbal CAM use was observed for both Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women. Results highlight the need for healthcare providers to query women regarding CAM use to identify potential interactions with traditional treatments and to determine whether CAM is used in lieu of traditional medications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-811
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017



  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Hispanic women
  • herbal remedies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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