Consumption of herbal products: a study of urban community survey

Nurul’Afifah Sulaiman, Ali Ahmed, Chong Lip Tan, Abubakar Ibrahim Jatau, Pei Lin Lua, Suhaidah Mohd Jofrry, Amir Heberd Abdullah, Tin Wui Wong


Formulation of herbs into dosage forms promotes their marketing and usage. However, if these herbal products are being taken in an unhealthy trend, they may pose risks to consumers.

The present study aimed to investigate herbal product consumption trends (n=550) among adults in the main cities of Malaysia.

A questionnaire-based, six-week cross-sectional study was conducted. Respondents were randomly selected in Shah Alam, Klang, Subang, and Kuala Lumpur. Descriptive statistics were used for data analysis and Chi-square test was applied where appropriate.

Out of the 550 survey instruments distributed, 453(82.4 per cent) responded. The prevalence rate of herbal products use among the adult population in the past 12 months was 71.5 per cent. Regarding the consumption profile; the consumers were mostly female (73.4 per cent), age 25–44 (72.8), and educated at tertiary level (74.8 per cent). The majority of respondents perceived that herbal products helped reduce severity of illness and improve health related quality of life, while (16.4 per cent) consumed the herbal products for the treatment of menstrual problem, 71.7 per cent without the recommendation of health care professionals and 85.0 per cent of them purchased through over-the-counter retail sales. The herbal products most commonly consume were Labisia pumila (Kacip Fatimah) (32.4 per cent), Camellia sinensis (Green Tea) (32.1 per cent), Panax ginseng (Ginseng) (23.8 per cent), and Eurycoma longifolia (Tongkat Ali) (22.5 per cent).

This study highlights an unhealthy trend in self-prescription of herbal product consumption without healthcare professionals’ recommendation. Hence, there is an urgent need for healthcare professionals to monitor herbal product consumption.
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