Pharmacist and Student Knowledge and Perceptions of Herbal Supplements and Natural Products



Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Publication Title

Pharmacy (Basel, Switzerland)






herbal supplements, holistic health, integrative health, natural medicine, pharmacists’ perceptions, pharmacy student perceptions


We aimed to collect parallel perspectives from pharmacists and pharmacy students on their use, knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions about herbal supplements/natural products. Two cross-sectional descriptive survey questionnaires-one focusing on pharmacists and the other focusing on pharmacy students-were administered from March to June 2021 via Qualtrics. The surveys were sent out to preceptor pharmacists and pharmacy students currently enrolled at a single U.S. school of pharmacy. The questionnaires were composed of five main sections, including (1) demographics; (2) attitudes/perceptions; (3) educational experience; (4) resource availability; and (5) objective knowledge of herbal supplements/natural products. Data analysis primarily utilized descriptive statistics with relevant comparisons across domains. A total of 73 pharmacists and 92 pharmacy students participated, with response rates of 8.8% and 19.3%, respectively. A total of 59.2% of pharmacists and 50% of pharmacy students stated they personally used herbal supplements/natural products. Most respondents (>95% for both groups) considered vitamins/minerals safe, although a lower percentage agreed on this for herbal supplements/natural products (60% and 79.3% for pharmacists and pharmacy students, respectively). Patient inquiries in the pharmacy setting were most seen for vitamin D, zinc, cannabidiol, and omega-3. A total of 34.2% of pharmacists reported having training in herbal supplements/natural products as a required part of their Pharm.D. training, and 89.1% of pharmacy students desired to learn more. The median score on the objective knowledge quiz was 50% for pharmacists and 45% for pharmacy students. Ultimately, herbal supplements/natural products are recognized by pharmacists/pharmacy students as a consistent and embedded part of pharmacy practice, although there is a need to enhance knowledge and skills in this area.

Open Access