Herbal Therapies and Diabetes Among Navajo Indians

  1. Melvina McCabe, MD,
  2. Dorothy Gohdes, MD,
  3. Frank Morgan, BS,
  4. Joanne Eakin, MA,
  5. Margaret Sanders, PHD and
  6. Cheryl Schmitt, MS
  1. Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  1. Address correspondence to Melvina McCabe, MD, Department of Family and Community Medicine, MSC 09 5040, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131. E-mail: mlmccabe{at}unm.edu

In the treatment of chronic diseases like diabetes, many Native Americans value their ability to integrate traditional and western medicine (1). However, there are limited data from clinical trials about the efficacy of herbs, and health care professionals have been concerned that herbal treatments might be harmful or lead patients away from evidence-based therapies and self-monitoring of blood glucose (2).

Traditional medicines, including herbal therapies, are commonly used among the Navajo Indians (3). During a randomized clinical trial on the Navajo Nation, 203 participants recruited between 2001 and 2003 were asked about their use of …

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