AHPA to Doctors: Ask your patients about their use of herbs

(February 9, 2007, Silver Spring, MD) -- Speaking to an audience of healthcare practitioners yesterday, AHPA President Michael McGuffin urged these practitioners to ask their patients about their use of herbs.

McGuffin referred to several journal articles that have measured patient disclosure of herb use and found that most people do not tell their doctors of such use.

"These statistics are often reported in a way that sounds like 'another problem with herbs,' when in fact it is a problem with doctor-patient communication," McGuffin said.

"You, as practitioners, are in a position to fix that problem," he added. "You can start fixing it tomorrow, simply by asking your patients to tell you about any herbal products they use, and by treating their decisions to do so with respect."

AHPA has a long-standing policy of recommending that consumers of herbal supplements inform their healthcare provider of such use. AHPA's policy also specifically encourages practitioners to receive such communication with respect for the consumers’ healthcare choices. In addition, AHPA encourages healthcare providers to seek out accurate and truthful information about herbs.

McGuffin's suggestion came at his presentation at CAMExpo, a three-day event in New York City that continues through tomorrow (www.camexpoeast.com). He and Kevin Spelman, chair of the Clinical Division in the Department of Herbal Medicine at Tai Sophia Institute in Columbia, Maryland, were the presenters on a panel titled Herbal Remedies and Botanical Medicine in the Cross Fire. The panel was organized and facilitated by David Matteson, president of Early-Edge Direction.


The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is a trade association representing the core of the botanical trade — comprised of the finest growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbal products. AHPA’s mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. AHPA committees generate self-regulations to ensure the highest level of quality with respect to the way herbs are manufactured, labeled, and sold. Website: www.ahpa.org.

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