Usage of Herbal Supplements and Remedies Among Hispanics 45+

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The purpose of this study was to gather information on the usage of and attitudes toward herbal supplements and remedies by Hispanic adults ages 45 and older, and the extent to which these remedies are being passed down from one generation to another. This information was gathered to help inform an article in the Spring 2010 issue of AARP Viva su Segunda Juventud.

Results revealed that:

  • About two-thirds of survey respondents (65%) believe that herbal remedies and supplements are very or somewhat effective.
  • Most respondents admit to using herbal remedies at least occasionally (62%); 27 percent say they use herbal remedies once a week or more, and 16 percent say they use supplements every day. Those respondents who were born in the United States and those who are highly acculturated are more likely to say that they never use herbal supplements.
  • Respondents report using herbal remedies for a variety of reasons: pain relief (18%), stomach ache (17%), and headache (10%) topped the list, with colds (9%) and skin problems (8%) rounding out the top five. Interestingly, 18 percent say that they do not know for which condition they are taking the supplements.
  • Among respondents who say they have used supplements, nearly half (47%) say that it is “traditionally part of our culture,” while 40 percent say they learned about herbal remedies from a relative. Reading about herbal remedies in a publication (28%) or learning about them from a friend (27%) are also popular ways of learning about supplements. Only 19 percent say they learned about their herbal remedies from a doctor or health care professional.


This study was conducted via telephone byGfK Roper Custom Research North America, an independent research company. Questions were included on the GfK Hispanic OmniTel survey from October 21 to November 1, 2009. The GfK Hispanic OmniTel survey is a national telephone survey of U.S. households, targeting the U.S. Hispanic population. Interviews were conducted from among a nationally representative sample of 500 Hispanic adults age 45 or older in English and Spanish. For more information, contact G. Oscar Anderson at 202-434-6343. (17 pages)

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