Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Folk Remedies Widely Used By Older Adults In North Carolina

Date:
February 28, 2006
Source:
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Summary:
A survey of older adults in rural North Carolina shows that they widely use complementary medicine therapies, but tend to focus on folk or home remedies, such as taking a daily "tonic" of vinegar or using Epsom salts.

A survey of older adults in rural North Carolina shows that they widely use complementary medicine therapies, but tend to focus on folk or home remedies, such as taking a daily "tonic" of vinegar or using Epsom salts.

"What most people think about as complementary medicine -- acupuncture, homeopathy and massage therapy -- they aren't using at all," said Thomas Arcury, Ph.D., lead researcher, from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. "Their use is largely limited to home remedies, vitamins and minerals."

The goal of the study, which is reported in the March issue of Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, was to learn more about what complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies older adults are using and why.

"We want to understand how people make decisions about managing their health," said Arcury. "If we understand how people are treating themselves, the information can be useful for physicians."

Researchers found that the majority of participants don't use CAM therapies to treat diabetes or other chronic diseases.

"They are using CAM for prevention or for treating symptoms (a headache, a sore throat, a cut) but not for treating a chronic condition," wrote the authors. "CAM use among these rural older adults is largely a form of self-care."

Arcury said it is common to use some of the therapies, such as vinegar or honey, as a general "tonic."

"I've talked to older adults who'll tell you should take two tablespoons of vinegar every day in a glass of warm water because it's good for you," he said. "They aren't treating anything in particular."

The study divided CAM therapies in eight categories to better document which types of therapies are being used. The categories (and examples) are: food home remedies (honey, lemon and garlic), other home remedies (tobacco, Epsom salts, and salves), vitamins (multivitamins, folic acid and vitamin E), minerals (calcium, magnesium and zinc), herbs (gingko biloba, ginseng and Echinacea), popular manufactured products (flax seed, amino acids and glucosamine sulfate), CAM therapies (imagery, biofeedback and energy healing) and CAM practitioners (chiropractor, herbalist and acupuncturist).

More than half of participants used food home remedies (52 percent) and other home remedies (57 percent). Vitamins were used by 45 percent of participants and minerals by 17 percent. Interestingly, only 6 percent of participants used herbs for self-care.

"We have learned over the years that people in this community didn't learn about herbs," said Arcury. "When they were growing up, their grandmothers may have used chamomile tea. But, doctors were coming into these communities, so they weren't home-doctored by their grandmothers and didn't learn about the herbs. However, the use of home remedies has continued here."

Researchers found that ethnicity was the most important personal characteristic in predicting CAM use. African-Americans and Native Americans were 81 percent and 76 percent (respectively) more likely to use food home remedies than whites and more than twice as likely to use other home remedies.

The ELDER (Evaluating Long-term Diabetes Self-management among Elder Rural Adults) study assessed complementary medicine use among 701 rural adults over age 65 with diabetes. Participants were selected from two rural North Carolina counties with a high proportion of ethnic minorities and people living below the poverty level.

Participants were interviewed in their homes about their health and use of complementary and alternative medicine therapies. Participants were asked if they had used each item for any purpose in the past year and if they had used it specifically for diabetes.

###

The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Co-researchers were Ronny Bell, Ph.D., M.S., Beverly Snively, Ph.D., Shannon Smith, M.A., Lindsay Wetmore, B.A., and Sara Quandt, Ph.D., all from Wake Forest, and Anne Skelly, Ph.D., R.N., from the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Folk Remedies Widely Used By Older Adults In North Carolina." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 February 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060228085022.htm>.
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. (2006, February 28). Folk Remedies Widely Used By Older Adults In North Carolina. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060228085022.htm
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Folk Remedies Widely Used By Older Adults In North Carolina." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060228085022.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins