Influences on Consumer Adoption of Herbal Therapies

  • 4 Citations



This study used Rogers’ model of adoption of innovation to investigate consumers’ adoption of herbal therapies.


Data were collected from up to 100 surveys at each of eight family practice clinics and a mail survey of a random sample of 500 Iowa residents. Independent variables measured consumer characteristics, social systems, communication channels, and herbal characteristics. The number of herbal products reported being used was the measure of adoption. For those respondents reporting herbal use, multiple regression assessed the associations between adoption and the modeled influences on adoption.


Of the 794 respondents, 276 (34.8%) reported using herbal products. The regression was performed using the 236 cases with complete data. The overall regression model was significant (R-square = 0.406). Significant positive influences included getting information about herbs from an herb professional and from the news, and obtaining herbal products from health food stores and from mail order sources. A belief that herbs improve health was a significant influence as well.


The absence of health care practitioners from many consumers’ decisions to use herbals draws attention to the importance of understanding the variety of influences on consumers’ adoption of herbal products.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Access options

Buy single article

Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.

US$ 39.95

Price includes VAT for USA

Subscribe to journal

Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.

US$ 189

This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.


  1. 1.

    Eisenberg DM, Davis RB, Ettner SL, et al. Trends in alternative medicine use in the United States, 1990-1997: Results of a follow-up national survey. JAMA. 1998 Nov 11;280(18):1569–1575.

  2. 2.

    Eisenberg DM, Kessler RC, Foster C, Norlock FE, Calkins DR, Delbanco TL. Unconventional medicine in the United States. Prevalence, costs, and patterns of use. New Engl J Med. 1993 Jan 28:328(4):246–252.

  3. 3.

    Klepser TB, Klepser ME. Unsafe and potentially safe herbal therapies. Am J Health-System Pharmacy. 1999 Jan 15;56(2):125–38; quiz 139-141.

  4. 4.

    Klepser, TB, Doucette WR, Horton MR, et al. Assessment of patients’ perceptions and beliefs regarding herbal therapies. Pharmacotherapy. 2000;20(1):83–87.

  5. 5.

    Rogers EM. Diffusion of Innovations. 4th Edition. New York, NY: Free Press; 1995.

  6. 6.

    Dunn L, Perry B. Where your patients are. Complement Alternative Therapies Primary Care. 1997 December;24(4):715–721.

  7. 7.

    Lazar J, O’Connor B. Talking with patients about their use of alternative therapies. Complement Alternative Therapies Primary Care. 1997 December; 24(4):699–710.

  8. 8.

    Bennett J, Brown CM. Use of herbal remedies by patients in a health maintenance organization. J Am Pharmaceut Assoc. 2000;40 (May/June):353–358.

  9. 9.

    Bouldin AS, Smith MC, Banahan BF, et al. Herbal supplement information and the consumer. Drug Inf J. 2000;34:1339–1353.

  10. 10.

    Maiman LA, Becker MH. The health belief model: origins and correlates in psychological theory. Health Educ Monogr. 1974;2:336–353.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to William R. Doucette PhD, RPh.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ritho, M., Klepser, T.B. & Doucette, W.R. Influences on Consumer Adoption of Herbal Therapies. Ther Innov Regul Sci 36, 179–186 (2002) doi:10.1177/009286150203600123

Download citation

Key Words

  • Herb
  • Consumer
  • Supplement
  • Adoption