Use of herbal remedies by diabetic hispanic women in the Southwestern United States

Lane Johnson, Hal Strich, Ann Taylor, Barbara Timmermann, Daniel Malone, Nicky Teufel-Shone, Rebecca Drummond, Raymond Woosley, Eladio Pereira, Art Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Objective: The primary purpose of this study was to examine the use and documentation of herbal remedies used by Hispanic women with Type II diabetes enrolled in two Community Health Centers in the Southwest USA. A secondary purpose was to review the literature on identified herbs to assess their likely effects on diabetes. Design: Open-ended structured interviews were conducted on a convenience sample (n = 23) of participants. Medical and medication charts were reviewed for the interviewed participants, and for a random sample of enrolled Hispanic diabetic patients (n = 81) who were not interviewed. Setting: Two Community Health Centers in the Southwest USA. Participants: Enrolled patient, Hispanic females with Type II diabetes. Intervention: Subjects were interviewed about their use of herbal therapies and supplements. Information collected from medical and pharmaceutical charts included documented use of herbal remedies; standard therapies prescribed and diabetes control (hemoglobin A1C values). For those herbal remedies reported, literature reviews were conducted to determine if there was supporting evidence of harm or efficacy for the stated condition. Main Outcome Measures: Reports of herbal use, and types of remedies used. Results: Among the interviewed participants, 21 of 23 (91%) reported using one or more herbal remedies. Among a random sample of patient medical charts, seven (6.7%) contained documentation of diabetes-specific herbs, and 16 (15.4%) had documented general herb use. A total of 77 different herbal remedies were identified, most of which were contained as part of commercial preparations, and appeared to supplement, rather than replace standard medical therapy for diabetes. Conclusion: Use of herbal therapies is not uncommon among diabetic patients. Many of the herbs reported have potential efficacy in treating diabetes or may result in adverse effects or interactions. In practical use, however, the herbs reported in this study are unlikely to have a significant effect on clinical outcomes in diabetes, either positively or negatively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-255
Number of pages6
JournalPhytotherapy Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetes
  • Herbal remedies
  • Hispanic females
  • Interviews
  • Medical charts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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