OBJECTIVE: To review the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in Hispanics in the US and highlight the modalities most likely to be unfamiliar to healthcare practitioners. DATA SOURCES: A search of the literature published in English and a subsequent bibliographic search were conducted using MEDLINE, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, EMBASE, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and Manual Alternative and Natural Therapy Index System (1980-March 2007). Primary search terms included, but were not limited to, Hispanic, Latino, complementary and alternative medicine, and dietary supplements. Studies that assessed or evaluated the use of CAM in the Hispanic population were reviewed. Articles that included both Hispanics and non-Hispanics were also included. STUDY SELECTION AND DATA EXTRACTION: The literature search yielded 42 articles focused on the use of CAM by Hispanics. Survey was the most common method used in these studies, although some hybrid interviews were also conducted. DATA SYNTHESIS: Hispanics were identified homogenously in some studies and more correctly as a heterogeneous population in others. Some trials examined overall CAM use, whereas others looked at specific dietary supplements and herbs. Most reports found a higher than expected rate of CAM use in Hispanics (50-90%). A number of products potentially unfamiliar to healthcare practitioners, such as linden, sapodilla, and star anise, were reported as commonly used in several studies. Many studies were limited by the sample size or use of only one Hispanic subgroup. CONCLUSIONS: Hispanics use a wide range of CAM therapies, including several that may be unfamiliar to healthcare practitioners. Understanding the rationale, motivations, and history of Hispanics' use of CAM will enhance the cultural competence of healthcare professionals and help address these patients' medical needs.
- Complementary and alternative medicine
- Dietary supplements