oa SA Pharmaceutical Journal - The attitudes and knowledge of pharmacists towards the use of herbal medicine : forum
The use of traditional medicine has been increasing. Pharmacists are the most trusted health professionals in medicine usage. They play an important role in managing information regarding the use of both conventional and traditional medicines. This study investigated the attitudes of pharmacists towards herbal medicine and their pharmacological knowledge about the most popular herbs. A questionnaire was distributed amongst 100 randomly selected qualified pharmacists. The mean age of respondents was 35 ± 10.4 years, 92% were employed in the private sector, and the largest group (23%) had between 11-15 years' experience. Most respondents (76%) reported literature as their primary source of herbal information and 47% believed in the benefits of both conventional and herbal medicines. The knowledge of respondents about the indications of herbal medicine was good, but their awareness of mechanisms of action, interactions, contraindications and adverse effects was inadequate. More than 85% did not feel competent to adequately advise patients on the safe, effective and rational use of herbal medicine. It was recommended by 76% of the respondents that pharmacognosy should be incorporated into the curriculum, and continuing education programmes should be supported. The registration of herbal medicine was also considered to be beneficial. This would enable pharmacists to provide competent, effective and holistic patient care.
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