To date most herbal research has focused on experimental medicine investigating plant pharmacology or clinically orientated studies exploring therapeutic efficacy. The broader epidemiological and sociological research undertaken to date has been under the general umbrella of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This research has focused on public consumption trends revealing data about the general patterns of CAM use. Of apparent interest in the survey literature are two widespread trends. Firstly that herbal medicine is one of the most popular therapies and secondly the rising incidence of visits to CAM therapists. Future research designed to elicit the underlying patterns of practice and consumption of herbal medicine, not just general trends, is assuming greater significance.