A study conducted by Thomas Arcury, Ph.D., lead researcher, from Wake Forest University School of Medicine said that older adults in rural North Carolina widely use folk or home remedies, such as taking a daily tonic of vinegar or using Epsom salts. Their use is largely limited to home remedies, vitamins and minerals.
The aim of the study was to study more about what complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies older adults are using and why. The results of the findings were published in the Journal of Gerontology.
Arcury said that by understanding the treatment strategies employed by the older generation one can gain useful information about managing the health scenario. Researchers found that the majority of participants don't use CAM therapies to treat diabetes or other chronic diseases.
The people use CAM for prevention and for treating symptoms such as headache, a sore throat, a cut and not for treating a chronic condition. CAM use among these rural older adults is largely a form of self-care.
The study divided CAM therapies in eight categories to analyze which types of therapies are being used in general. The categories are:
Food home remedies such as honey, lemon and garlic and about 52% of them used it regularly.
Other home remedies such as tobacco, Epsom salts, and salves. It was used by 57%.
Under the category of vitamins, multivitamins, folic acid and vitamin E are included which were used by 45%.
Minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc are the commonly used ones (17%).
Herbs included are gingko biloba, ginseng and Echinacea (6%). This was due to the reason that doctors in these communities were not home-doctored by their grandmothers who knew about the usage of herbs.
Popular manufactured products available in that area are flax seed, amino acids and glucosamine sulfate.
CAM therapies such as imagery, biofeedback and energy healing.CAM practitioners include chiropractor, herbalist and acupuncturist.
It was also astounding to find that ethnicity was the most important personal characteristic in predicting CAM use. African-Americans and Native Americans were 81% and 76 % respectively who used home remedies than whites.