CAM EducationHerbals

How can we improve students’ knowledge of herbals?

Have them take a class, of course.

Here’s a report card from 5 colleges of pharmacy in Canada.

First, the details.

  • All 4th-year (final year) pharmacy students at 5 schools across Canada (approximately 650 students) participated in a test of their knowledge of herbals.
  • Pharmacy schools were located in British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec.

And, the results.

  • Higher test scores were significantly associated with having taken an herbal medicine class.
  • The overall average test score for all schools was 66%.
  • Students from schools with the highest attendance in a course devoted to herbal medicine (British Columbia and Alberta) had the highest scores.
  • Students from the school without a course (ie, Nova Scotia), or with low attendance (Ontario) had lower scores.
  • Student scores on the herbal knowledge test were lower than their overall yearly grade averages, except in British Columbia.

The bottom line?
It’s not surprising that knowledge increases after taking a course on herbals. What is surprising is that not all schools of pharmacy in Canada offer classes in herbal medicines, particularly since the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) specifically addresses knowledge of dietary supplements.

9/13/08 19:22 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.