Author(s): Miller LG, Hume A, Harris IM, Jackson EA, Kanmaz TJ,
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Abstract Individuals increasingly are taking a more active role in their health care, and herbal products have emerged as a common choice among self-care therapies. Pharmacists are active participants in the care of patients who are taking herbal products. Currently, most pharmacists are not educated adequately about herbal products and other types of alternative medicine. Furthermore, good information about many of these products is not available. These combined factors present a challenge for pharmacists as they seek to provide optimal care and counseling to patients who use herbs or supplements. We recommend the following actions to place pharmacists in better positions as effective agents protecting public safety: Regulations should be implemented at a federal level to require basic levels of standardization and quality control in the manufacture of herbal products. Indexing terms in medical bibliographic systems should be expanded to target herbal products. Funding should be increased for scientific research evaluating herbal products. Pharmacy schools should include a competency statement in their curricula regarding herbal medicines. Continuing education in herbal products should be available and encouraged for all pharmacists. Pharmacists should approach the use of all therapeutic interventions with scientific rigor, whether they are traditional or complementary in nature. Patients will benefit as more information is known and widely disseminated. By actively embracing the responsibility for counseling individuals on the appropriate use of herbal products, pharmacists will become a recognized source of expert information in this rapidly growing area, yielding important improvements in the quality of care.
This article was published in Pharmacotherapy
and referenced in Journal of Chromatography & Separation Techniques