An examination of the prescription and dispensing of medicines by Western herbal therapists: A national survey in Australia

Casey, M. G., Adams, J. and Sibbritt, D. (2007) An examination of the prescription and dispensing of medicines by Western herbal therapists: A national survey in Australia. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 15 1: 13-20. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2005.10.008

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Author Casey, M. G.
Adams, J.
Sibbritt, D.
Title An examination of the prescription and dispensing of medicines by Western herbal therapists: A national survey in Australia
Journal name Complementary Therapies in Medicine   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0965-2299
Publication date 2007
Year available 2006
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.ctim.2005.10.008
Volume 15
Issue 1
Start page 13
End page 20
Total pages 8
Place of publication Edinburgh; New York
Publisher Churchill Livingstone
Collection year 2008
Language eng
Subject 321200 Public Health and Health Services
321399 Complementary/Alternative Medicine not elsewhere classified
730299 Public health not elsewhere classified
Abstract Objective To describe the patterns of prescription and dispensing of herbal medicines employed by Western herbal practitioners in Australia. Design A national postal survey sent to all full members of the National Herbalist Association of Australia (NHAA). Setting Nationwide clinics of professional herbal practitioners in Australia. Main outcome measures Measures of medicinal use were collected including aspects of prescription, formulation, dispensing and preparation forms of medicines used. The practitioners were asked if they dispensed their own medicines, about the form of herbal preparations used, aspects of formulation and dosages. Results The predominant prescription by most Western herbal practitioners in Australia is individualised herbal formulae rather than the use of single herbs. Traditional preparations of herbals such as teas and powders are used but liquid herbal extracts are most commonly dispensed. These liquid medicines are in the form of highly concentrated fluid extracts in ratios of 1:1 or 1:2, herb material to liquid. Pre-formulated tablets or capsules made by herbal manufacturers are being incorporated into modern practice but most prescriptions are individualised liquid formulae prepared and dispensed, from the clinic dispensary, after patient consultation. In addition to internal prescriptions, topical creams, pessaries, douches, gargles, eyebaths and poultices or washes are still incorporated into treatments. Although there is variation in used dosage ranges, the predominant system is that of pharmacologically active doses of highly concentrated fluid extracts. Conclusion The professional prescription of Western herbal medicines is different to commercial usage. As opposed to pre-formulated tablets, or use of single herbals, the vast majority of Western herbalists in Australia construct individualised herbal formulations for their patients after consultation. The preferred form of administration of these prescriptions is as highly concentrated liquid herbal extracts in pharmacologically active doses.
Keyword Australia
National Health Survey
Western Herbal Therapists
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

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Created: Fri, 21 Sep 2007, 10:43:04 EST