Remedies involving honey, lemon, vinegar or whiskey used alone or in combination were the most prevalent, followed by herbs, teas and other "traditional" cures, according to a team led by Thomas A. Arcury, Ph.D. Arcury said the research has implications for how clinicians treat their patients.
"A clinician treating someone may ask, 'Are you using an alternative treatment?' 'Are you going to an acupuncturist?' 'Are you using herbs?' But, many patients may not think of home remedies as alternative treatments, and the physician may not think to ask about specific home remedies that may have an affect," he said. "For example, a physician would need to know if someone is treating diabetes with honey."
The study found that the widespread rural use of home remedies contrasted sharply with the use of alternative therapists such as acupuncturists, chiropractors and herbalists, which was estimated at only 8.6 percent.
"That people are using home remedies and they're not using the alternatives that end up being talked about in the press a lot that, to me, is the important finding of this study," said Arcury, a professor of family medicine. "Honey, lemon, vinegar, whiskey they are traditional remedies. They are things people grew up using. They are things I was given when I was a kid; when I had a cold, my father gave me lemon and honey."
The study's objectives were to estimate the prevalence of complementary and alternative
medicine use among rural adults, identify characteristics of the adults who use such alternatives, and analyze the health conditions for which alternative m