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The use of herbal medicines among chronic disease patients in Thailand: a cross-sectional survey

Authors Peltzer K, Pengpid S

Received 20 April 2019

Accepted for publication 24 June 2019

Published 22 July 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 573—582


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Karl Peltzer,1 Supa Pengpid1,2

1Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation Office, North West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa; 2Asean Institute for Health Development, Mahidol University, Salaya, Phutthamonthon, Nakhonpathom, Thailand

Background: The study aimed to assess the prevalence and correlates of herbal medicine use among chronic disease patients in health care settings in Thailand.
Methods: In a cross-sectional study, 1374 adult chronic disease patients (median age 60 years) were consecutively sampled from health care facilities in Thailand. Logistic regression was used to estimate the independent predictors of herbal medicine use in the past 12 months.
Results: The prevalence of herbal medicine use in the past 12 months was 35.9%. Of participants who were using herbal medicine in the past 12 month, 53.7% used it for treating a long-term health condition, 40.0% used herbal medicine in order to improve well-being and 6.3% for treating an acute illness. More than half of the herbal medicine users (57.2%) rated their herbal medicine use as very helpful, 33.3% as somewhat helpful and 6.5% not at all helpful or do not know. In adjusted logistic regression analysis, having Grade 6 to 12 education (Odds Ratio-OR: 1.71, Confidence Interval-CI: 1.04, 2.82), rural residence (OR: 0.76, CI: 0.60, 0.97), other religion (OR: 0.57, CI: 0.35, 0.97), anxiety (OR: 1.64, CI: 1.25, 2.16), low quality of life (OR: 0.42, CI: 0.31, 0.56) and having multiple chronic conditions (OR: 1.82, CI: 1.30, 2.56) were associated with past 12-month herbal medicine use. Further, in adjusted logistic regression analysis, having arthritis, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, dyslipidaemia, gastrointestinal disease, dyslipidaemia were positively and hypertension negatively associated with past 12-month herbal medicine use.
Conclusions: The study found a high prevalence of herbal medicine use among chronic disease patients in Thailand. Several factors (education, rural residence, anxiety, low quality of life and multiple chronic conditions) associated with herbal medicine use were identified. This knowledge will support health care providers and policy makers in decision making on the use of herbal medicine.

Keywords: herbal medicine, utilization, chronic disease patients, Thailand

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