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Ever took any herbal supplements

Codes and Frequencies

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For sample adults in 2002 and 2007, HEREV reports whether the person had ever taken herbal supplements. In both years, those who answered affirmatively were then asked whether they had used herbal supplements in the past 12 months (HERYR). In 2007 only, those who answered negatively (i.e., those who had never used herbal supplements) were asked why they had never used herbal supplements (see HERNEVCOST).

In 2007 only, those who responded affirmatively to both HEREV and HERYR were asked if they had taken herbal supplements in the past 30 days (HERMO). That year, information was also collected on the use of herbal supplements by sample children in both the past year and the past month.

In 2002, respondents were asked "Have you ever used natural herbs for your own health or treatment? (for example, ginger, echinacea, or black cohosh) (including teas, tincture and pills)."

In 2007, respondents were shown a flash card and asked "Have you ever taken any herbal supplements listed on this card for yourself?" The flash card contained the following 45 herbs:

  • Combination herb pill
  • Androstenedione
  • Black cohosh
  • Carnitine
  • Chasteberry
  • Chondroitin
  • Coenzyme Q-10
  • Comfrey
  • Conjugated Linolenic Acid (CLA)
  • Cranberry (pills, gelcaps)
  • Creatine
  • DHEA
  • Echinacea
  • Ephedra
  • Evening primrose
  • Feverfew
  • Fiber or Psyllium (pills or powder)
  • Fish oil or omega 3 or DHA fatty acid supplements
  • Flaxseed Oil or Pills
  • Garlic supplements (pills, gelcaps)
  • Ginger pills or gelcaps
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Ginseng
  • Glucosamine
  • Goldenseal
  • Guarana
  • Grape Seed Extract
  • Green tea pills (not brewed tea)
  • EGCG (pills)
  • Hawthorn
  • Horny Goat Weed
  • Kava kava
  • Lecithin
  • Lutein
  • Lycopene
  • Melatonin
  • MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane)
  • Milk thistle
  • Prebiotics or Probiotics
  • SAM-e
  • Saw palmetto
  • Senna
  • Soy supplements or soy isoflavones
  • St. John's wort
  • Valerian

HEREV is part of a series of variables, mostly from 2000, 2002, and 2007, on the use of herbs and vitamins. For more information about the full range of variables related to herbs, see HERYR. For information on the full range of vitamin-related variables, see VITANY.


In addition to the changes in question wording noted above, the interviewer's introductory statement preceding the question for HEREV was significantly different for 2002 and 2007.


In 2002, interviewers said, "Some people use natural herbs for a variety of health reasons. Some people drink an herbal tea to remedy a flu or cold. Others take a daily herb pill to help with a health condition or just to stay healthy."

In 2007, interviewers said, "People take herbs and other non-vitamin supplements for a variety of reasons. By herbal supplement we mean pills, capsules or tablets that have been labeled as a dietary supplement. This does not include drinking herbal or green tea."

Thus, in 2002, respondents were asked about their use of natural herbs for health reasons, whereas in 2007, the reasons for taking herbs were left unspecified. In 2002, respondents were told to include herbal teas, but herbal teas were explicitly excluded in 2007.

As noted in the description of this variable, in 2002, respondents were given a few examples of herbs and asked if they had used any natural herbs. By contrast, in 2007, they were shown a list of herbs and asked if they had used anything on that list. Researchers must judge for themselves whether these differences compromise comparability for their analyses.


  • 2002; 2007: Sample adults age 18+.


  • 2002, 2007