Integrative Medicine: Herbal Supplements

Matthew K Hawks, Paul F Crawford, David A Moss, Matthew J Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Various herbal medicines have been used around the world for more than 5,000 years. Herbal medicines, or herbal supplements, are defined as any products originating from plants and used to preserve or recover health. In the United States, the popularity of herbal supplements has increased in the last several decades. Many physicians do not ask patients about herbal supplement use, and one-third of patients do not inform their physician about supplement use. However, physicians should ask, because although many supplements are considered low risk and safe, some have significant risks of adverse effects. For example, St John's wort ( Hypericum perforatum) can have significant drug interactions with prescription or over-the-counter drugs. The effectiveness of herbal supplements in the management of specific conditions varies. For some conditions, there is robust clinical data supporting the use of specific herbal supplements, but for other conditions there is poor or insufficient data. The content and safety of herbal supplements are the purview of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the FDA primarily responds to after-the-fact reports of postmarketing safety concerns. When an herbal supplement-related adverse effect is suspected, patients or physicians should report it to the FDA via the MedWatch reporting system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-27
Number of pages5
JournalFP essentials
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Dietary Supplements
  • Drug Interactions
  • Humans
  • Hypericum
  • Integrative Medicine
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • United States


Dive into the research topics of 'Integrative Medicine: Herbal Supplements'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this