Author(s): White B, Knox L, Zepeda M, Mull D, Nunez F
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Although previous research has demonstrated frequent complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use by Hispanic patients, it remains unclear whether the status of immigration plays a role in the frequency and reasons for use. METHODS: A survey of 164 patients from a federally qualified health center in South Central Los Angeles was used; the health center serves a predominantly Latino immigrant patient population. The study included the following variables: patient age; sex; place of birth; number of years living in the United States; CAM use within the last year; and, if positive CAM use, what type(s) and for what condition(s). RESULTS: Sixty-six percent of patients had used a CAM substance within the past year. Ninety-seven percent of the patients were immigrants (primarily from Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala). Differences in CAM use between recently arrived (< or =9 years) and long-term immigrants (> or =10 years) were not significant. Ninety-four percent of patients using CAM reported using herbal/tea/plant-based substances, with the most frequent reason for CAM use being digestive problems. Although most CAM substances were obtained from a market (64\%), a not insignificant number of CAM substances were grown at home (23\%). CONCLUSIONS: Time since immigration does not seem to impact the frequency of CAM use by Hispanic immigrant patients. Herbal/tea/plant-based substances are frequently used in the Hispanic patient population, often for digestive complaints.
This article was published in J Am Board Fam Med
and referenced in Epidemiology: Open Access