Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Herbalists’ perception of risks involving commonly sold medicinal plants in Italy

Article in Complementary therapies in medicine 22(1):81-6 · February 2014 DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2013.12.002 · Source: PubMed 1st Eugenia Gallo 26.07 · University of Florence 2nd Ersilia Lucenteforte 35.38 · University of Florence + 6 3rd Fabio Firenzuoli 36.82 · University of Florence Last Alfredo Vannacci 41.33 · University of Florence Show more authors Abstract Although there are several studies which have investigated pharmacists' knowledge of the safety of medicinal plants (MPs), no studies have examined herbalists' perception of risks associated with MPs. We conducted a survey of 159 herbalists (participation rate 85.9%) in the region of Tuscany (Italy). Data were collected by means of a semi-structured questionnaire using a face-to-face interview. Risk perception was rated on a 10cm Visual Analogic Scale (VAS). Herbalists' scores were then compared with those reported by a group of 10 experts in herbal medicine. When the overall risk was examined, herbalists had a low perception of the risks (VAS median ranged between 1.5 and 3.2) associated with the use of most MPs (Allium sativum, Aloe vera gel, Echinacea spp., Escholtzia californica, Harpagophytum procumbens, and propolis). They had an intermediate or high perception of risks associated with use of Cimicifuga racemosa, Citrus aurantium, and Panax ginseng (median ranged between 3.5 and 5.0), and for anthraquinone laxatives (median 7.2). Although the overall risk perceived by experts was generally higher than that reported by herbalists, differences were statistically significant only for Allium sativum and Escholtzia californica. The study shows that herbalists in Tuscany are knowledgeable about the relative risks of MPs when compared with experts in herbal medicine Herbalists’ perception of risks involving commonly sold medicinal plants in Italy. Available from: [accessed Aug 8, 2017].

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