MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1995 Mar; 44(11): 204-7.
Self-treatment with herbal and other plant-derived remedies--rural Mississippi, 1993.
Herbal and other plant-derived remedies have been estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be the most frequently used therapies worldwide. Therapeutic agents derived from plants include pure chemical entities available as prescription drugs (e.g., digitoxin, morphine, and taxol), standardized extracts, herbal teas, and food plants; plant-derived remedies can contain chemicals with potent pharmacologic and toxicologic properties. Although precise levels of use of these remedies in the United States are unknown, in 1991, herbal products accounted for sales of approximately $1 billion. Previous reports about herbal remedies in the rural South have described the use and biologic activities of locally gathered plant species and details of preparation and dosage, but have not determined the prevalence of use of plant-derived remedies in the study population and the prevalence of use of specific remedies. To assess the prevalence of use of plant-derived remedies (excluding prescription drugs) and the prevalence of use of specific remedies in rural central Mississippi, The University of Mississippi conducted a survey during March-June 1993. This report describes two case reports of use of these remedies and summarizes the findings of the survey.