Prevalence of herbal medicines in patients with chronic allergic disorders in Western Saudi Arabia

Abdulrahman E. Koshak


Objectives: To assess the prevalence and pattern of the use of herbal medicines by allergic patients in Western Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Methods: Cross-sectional study design was used to collect data from consecutively recruited patients with chronic allergic disorders from July 2018 to  October 2018. Participants from 2 allergy clinics in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were interviewed face-to-face using a structured questionnaire.


Results: One hundred and two patients with allergy were interviewed. Their average age was 34±18 and 72.5% were female. The most common primary diagnoses were allergic rhinitis (24.5%), atopic dermatitis (19.6%), and bronchial asthma (16.7%). Herbal medicines were used by 60% of participants, including: Nigella sativa (19.6%), Pimpinella anisum (12.7%), Boswellia sacra (11.8%), Zingiber officinale (10.8%), Foeniculum vulgare (9.8%), Psidium guajava (9.8%), Olea europaea (8.8%), Thymus vulgaris (5.9%), Matricaria chamomilla (4.9%), Mentha piperita (4.9%), Syzygium aromaticum (4.9%), and others. Of those, 63% reported subjective improvement in symptoms. A significant association was found between asthma and herbal medicines intake (p=0.001).


Conclusion: Despite the insufficient evidence, there was a high prevalence of herbal medicines used by allergic patients (more than half), especially in bronchial asthma. Black seed, anise and olibanum were the most commonly used. 

Saudi Med J 2019; Vol. 40 (4): 391-396

How to cite this article:
Koshak AE. Prevalence of herbal medicines in patients with chronic allergic disorders in Western Saudi Arabia. Saudi Med J. 2019 Apr;40(4):391-396. doi: 10.15537/smj.2019.4.24006.


Herbal medicines; Herbs; Allergy; Saudi Arabia

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