Use of herbal supplements and alternative medicine growing

Natural therapies are becoming more popularMore adults are turning to a wide range of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) to improve their health – and they are encouraging their children to do the same, according to new government data.

Some 38 percent of American adults use CAM, up from 36 percent in 2002, figures from the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reveal.

The most common nutritional supplements used included fish oil/omega 3, glucosamine, Echinacea, flaxseed oil and ginseng.

Ancient techniques for relaxation are also becoming more popular. Approximately 13 percent of respondents said they utilize deep breathing exercises, 9 percent opt for meditation and yoga is popular among 6 percent.

For the first time this year, the survey included a question about children’s use of CAM. Nearly one in nine U.S. children used CAM in the past 12 months to treat conditions including back pain, colds, anxiety and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

“These statistics confirm that CAM practices are a frequently used component of Americans’ health care regimens,” commented Dr. Josephine P. Briggs of the NCCAM.

The NCCAM is one of the National Institutes of Health, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.