Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences


Herbal supplements have become increasingly popular in United States during the past decade. This trend begs the question: why are so many people turning to supplements?

The increased use of herbal supplementation appears to stem from a public demand for changes in health care. This paper will focus on the regulations placed on the supplement market and the impact that supplementation has on patient care. To illustrate these points, St. John's Wort (SJW) will be examined in detail.

Currently regulation in the United States comes from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and voluntary organizations within the supplement industry, such as the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP). To many health care providers, these measures do not adequately ensure the safety and efficacy of supplements.

Many patients feel that practitioners of conventional medicine do not accept herbal supplements as valid treatment options. Failure to inform a treating physician of supplement use can decrease the effectiveness and safety of total care.

All herbal medicines contain more than one active ingredient. Current research lacks necessary information needed to understand how these active ingredients interact with other supplemental and pharmacological preparations. Research conducted on SJW shows that these interactions have severe impact on the quality of overall patient care. The concerns surrounding the herbal industry are profound. Most can be resolved with more research and better regulation.



Faculty Mentor

Noreen B. Schvaneveldt

Departmental Honors Advisor

Noreen B. Schvaneveldt