Integration of herbal medicine in primary care in Israel: A Jewish-Arab cross-cultural perspective

Eran Ben-Arye, Efraim Lev, Yael Keshet, Elad Schiff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Herbal medicine is a prominent complementary and alternativemedicine (CAM) modality in Israel based on the country natural diversity and impressive cultural mosaic. In this study, we compared cross-cultural perspectives of patients attending primary care clinics in northern Israel on herbalmedicine specifically and CAMgenerally, and the possibility of integrating themwithin primary care. Research assistants administered a questionnaire to consecutive patients attending seven primary care clinics. About 2184 of 3713 respondents (59%) defined themselves as Muslims, Christians or Druze (henceforth Arabs) and 1529 (41%) as Jews. Arab respondents reported more use of herbs during the previous year (35 versus 27.8% P = .004) and of more consultations with herbal practitioners (P < .0001). Druze reported the highest rate of herbal consultations (67.9%) and Ashkenazi Jews the lowest rate (45.2%). About 27.5% of respondents supported adding a herbal practitioner to their clinic medical team if CAM were to be integrated within primary care. Both Arabs and Jews report considerable usage of herbalmedicine, with Arabs using it significantly more. Cross-cultural perspectives are warranted in the study of herbal medicine use in the Arab and Jewish societies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number401395
Pages (from-to)1-7
JournalEvidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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