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Modern Applications in Pharmacy & Pharmacology

Should “Medicinal Herbs” be a Mandatory Course for Pharmacy Students?

Submission: March 03, 2018; Published: June 07, 2018

DOI: 10.31031/MAPP.2018.02.000532

ISSN 2637-7756
Volume2 Issue2


We suggest that since there is widespread use of herbal products by patients, the pharmacy community cannot truly claim expertise in all medications if we continue to ignore this important area of patient’s self-therapy. This commentary is based on our experience of offering elective “Medicinal Herbs” course at the University for past eight years. Every year, about twenty percent of the pharmacy students in their third professional year enroll in this elective; invariably, at the end of the course, more students report being more comfortable in recommending and counseling over herbal therapies for many more ailments than they were at the beginning of the course. Therefore, we suggest that a stand-alone foundational level course in medicinal herbs should be a part of Pharm D curriculum for all pharmacy students. Multiple patient surveys have indicated that patients rarely inform their healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, on their herbal use. Most likely reason for such patient’s behavior is the clear perception by the patient that most healthcare professionals trained in Western medicine have no expertise in this area and are most likely to “laugh” at the patient for his ignorance and engaging in such superstitious behavior. Currently, 73%-86% of pharmacy schools in United States offer a course in medicinal herbs or complementary alternative medicine [1], mostly in the form of an elective course. Should the course “medicinal herbs” be mandatory for all pharmacy students? At first glance, some medical professionals may say no without hesitation, as the clinical evidence available with herbs is much less than that for active molecules used in western medicine [1].

Keywords: Medicinal herbs; Alternative medicine; Pharmacy curriculum; Mandatory; Elective

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