Complementary Practices of Herbalists in the Kingdom of Bahrain
Background: The aim of the present study was to assess the general knowledge and practice of local herbalists regarding the use of medicinal plants for the treatment of various ailments.
Methods: The study utilized a pre-structured questionnaire to collect data. The sample consisted of 41 well-known, established and active herbalists in Bahrain.
Results: The majority of herbalists were male (95.1%) with a high school education. Almost half the respondents obtained their knowledge and training from parents and grandparents. The herbalists combine heritage, religious and cultural values in their profession. The majority (95.1%) of herbalists deal with manageable diseases despite the high confidence of patients in herbal medicine. The main ailments treated are diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, and hypertension.
Conclusions: Study findings indicate that most herbalists (95.1%) perceive their role to be one of providing complementary health care. The herbal profession in Bahrain needs to be preserved and developed based on a scientific methodology among the younger generations.