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article imageDespite a Sick Economy, Alternative Medicine Sales are Healthy

By Christine Mattice     Mar 15, 2009 in Health
The economic downturn is causing an upturn in alternative medicine usage. Sales of vitamins and herbal supplements, in particular, have risen substantially since the recession began, reports the Associated Press.
Rising health care costs, combined with tighter incomes, are leading more Americans to turn to alternative medicines for relief of their physical and mental ailments, say experts. According to the Associated Press in one three month period ending December 2008, retail vitamin and supplement sales jumped almost 10 percent over the same period in 2007.
In addition, the Nutrition Business Journal reports ]that sales of herbal and botanical supplements rose by 4.3 percent from 2006 to the start of the recession in 2007.
Figures like these have caught the attention of the U.S. government. According to the Associated Press:
A government survey released in December said concerns about the costs of conventional medicines influenced Americans’ decisions to try alternative remedies…among those users, roughly a quarter said they delayed or didn’t get conventional medical care because of the cost.
These figures may have an influence on the health care reform debate. Last month, several top holistic health practitioners testified before congress on how alternative medicines could help to prop up America’s sagging health care system.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that, as of 2007:
In the United States, approximately 38 percent of adults (about 4 in 10) and approximately 12 percent of children (about 1 in 9) are using some form of CAM [complementary alternative medicine.]
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