A systematic review of the prevalence of herb usage among racial/ethnic minorities in the United States

UMMS Affiliation

Center for Integrated Primary Care; Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Publication Date


Document Type



Alternative and Complementary Medicine | Behavioral Medicine | Health Psychology | Integrative Medicine | Race and Ethnicity


Clinical studies display a wide range of herb use prevalence among racial/ethnic minorities in the United States. We searched databases indexing the literature including CINAHL, EMBASE, Global Health, CAB Abstracts, and Medline. We included studies that reported herbal medicine prevalence among ethnic minorities, African American, Hispanic, or Asian adults living in the United States. Data from 108 included studies found the prevalence of herb use by African Americans was 17 % (range 1-46 %); for Hispanics, 30 % (4-100 %); and for Asians, 30 % (2-73 %). Smaller studies were associated with higher reported herb use (p = 0.03). There was a significant difference (p = 0.01) between regional and national studies with regional studies reporting higher use. While herb usage surveys in racial/ethnic minorities show great variability, indications suggest high prevalence. More research is needed to understand herb use among ethnic/racial minorities, reasons for use, and barriers to disclosure of use to clinicians.


Ethnic, Minority, Herb, Medicinal plant

DOI of Published Version



J Immigr Minor Health. 2013 Aug;15(4):817-28. doi: 10.1007/s10903-012-9661-z. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of immigrant and minority health


At the time of publication, Paula Gardiner was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID