Knowledge, Attitude and Practice Regarding Herbal Medicine Among Medical Students in Saudi Arabia
Background: Herbal medicine is becoming increasingly popular among the general population. Before consulting a medical practitioner, patients already try home remedies. Therefore, it becomes more pertinent that the medical students as future doctors, must possess some knowledge of the herbal medicine. In Saudi Arabia, no study has yet evaluated this aspect in medical students.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed with 240 medical students at a Health Sciences University. The survey questionnaire was validated, and descriptive/inferential statistics analyses were conducted by SPSS.
Results: Data showed 50/240 students (20.8 %) used herbal medicines and majority 36 (72%) used it without consultation with doctors. Moreover, male understanding of the sources of herbal medicine was less compared to females' (p < 0.05). In terms of attitude, majority agreed with the benefits of herbal medicines in the maintenance and promotion of health (123, 51.3%) and to treat illness (127, 52.9%). However, medical students did not want to use herbal medicines (122, 50.8%) or recommend it to their families (161, 67.1%). A significant number of the respondents (160, 66.7%) opined that the herbal medicines could be taken with conventional or allopathic medications. Male students were significantly more inclined towards use of herbal medicine than their female counterparts (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Medical students were found to be unaware of some important aspects regarding herbal medicines, like use of herbs with drugs without consultation. Inclusion of proper courses on alternative medicine in medical curriculum can fill this gap and clarify the misconceptions among medical students.
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