In general, in the United States herbal medicines are used by laypeople to self-medicate their self-diagnosed maladies. Most consumers believe these medicines are safe because they are natural and sold over the counter without a prescription. The regulatory climate under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 has allowed a rapid proliferation of botanical products in the U.S. market. Because herbal medicines are pharmacologically active, the concurrent increase in use and product proliferation raises a number of public health concerns:
• Coordination of treatment. Coordination with concurrent allopathic care is poor, which limits the overall quality of care. Consumers may be inappropriately self-diagnosing and self-treating with botanicals without guidance from professionals. The probability of overlooking potential drug-herb interactions increases as more consumers use botanical products.