n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Knowledge and perceptions of community pharmacists about the commonly sold herbal medicines used as African traditional medicines in community pharmacies in Tshwane townships, South Africa : increasing patient access to treatment

Supplement 2
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Traditional medicines (TMs) continue to play a significant role in the treatment and management of diseases in the developing world. Commercialisation and marketing has popularised the herbal medicines (HMs) such that they are readily available for use from pharmacies and other outlets. The many herbal mixtures sold over the counter in pharmacies have not been tested for efficacy and safety. Although they are readily available and used, their effectiveness remain unproven and their safety and toxicity profiles remain unknown. The quantitative, descriptive study was aimed to determine the knowledge and perceptions of community pharmacists about African traditional medicines (ATMs) use, and specifically about the HMs commonly sold in Tshwane township pharmacies. Self-administered questionnaires were used to obtain data from qualified and registered pharmacists working in the identified community pharmacies. The participants were aware of the use of ATMs by the public. The majority believed that ATMs were used due to their affordability and that the users trusted the medicines and considered them to be natural products. Pharmacists perceived it was appropriate for them to dispense ATMs, yet only half believed that safety aspects were taken into consideration during production. The majority had no formal teaching or training about ATMs. They had knowledge about the sources and some pharmacological properties of five of the ten commonly sold medicines, but not their mechanisms of action, safety aspects or interactions. There were some knowledge gaps identified in the study; hence it is recommended that aspects of ATMs be included in pharmacy curricula.

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