A Critique of Case Studies Discussing He Shou Wu. An Analysis of Data Sources Used Within Hospitals and the Use of the Yellow Card Scheme
by Attilio D'Alberto
Prevalence of herbal medicine use in the UK
Numerous surveys have attempted to define the prevalence of alternative medicine use. In the UK, self-care life-time prevalence rates were much higher than practitioner only – in the region of 40–50 per cent compared with 10–30 per cent (Thomas et al. 1991, 2001; Ernst and White 2000). Thomas et al. (2001) report that over 12 months (data relative to 1998), herbal remedies accounted for 19.8 per cent of over-the-counter (OTC) transactions. Another UK survey conducted in 1999 found an overall one-year prevalence of 20 per cent and suggested that herbal medicine was more popular than any other form of alternative medicine (Ernst and White 2000) (cited in W.H.O. 2000). With the forthcoming regulation of herbal medicine in the UK and its continued integration into healthcare practices, public use is set to increase. The number of suspected adverse reactions to herbal remedies is likely to increase as a result.
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