Herbal food supplements usage awareness of university students: Example of Echinacea and St. John's Wort

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İduğ T.

International Journal of Agriculture, Environment and Food Sciences, vol.7, no.4, pp.792-797, 2023 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


In recent years, usage of food supplements (Fs) has increased in order to maintain healthy living, have well-being, and be protected from the diseases. There are many medicinal plants used as herbal food supplements (HFs). Within the scope of this study, Echinacea and St. John’s Wort were selected among the plants that are frequently encountered. This descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted through completing a self-administered online questionnaire by health students. The questionnaire was filled out by 211 students studying at the faculties of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Istanbul Medipol University. The greatest participation was achieved with Pharmacy students (47.4%), whereas the lowest participation was reached with Dentistry students (5.7%). The most commonly used products as Fs were vitamin D (21.3%) and multivitamins (16.1%), while the use of HFs was 8.5%. St. John’s Wort is commonly preferred for wound and burn treatment and Echinacea is used to boost immunity. In parallel with this use, St. John’s Wort is preferred as olive oil maceration and Echinacea as herbal infusion. While the use of HFs was 58.3%, that of the Fs were 44.5%. Echinacea use was found to be 14.4% and St. John’s Wort was 31.3%. The relationship between the presence of chronic disease and the use of Fs or HFs was not statistically significant. This study is significant to detect the opinions and knowledge levels of health students about Fs, especially HFs, St. John’s Wort and Echinacea, which are available in the market.