IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 12576: Use of Edible, Medicinal, and Aromatic Plants in Various Health Disorders: A Cross-Sectional Evaluation among Inhabitants in the Area of Thrace, North-Eastern Greece (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Background: Medicinal and aromatical plants (MAPs) have been historically used as traditional remedies in many cultures in Europe and globally. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of MAPs in various health disorders in association to dietary habits and other lifestyle factors among residents in Thrace, NE Greece. Methods: Data were collected through anonymous and voluntary responses to a structured online questionnaire, via convenience (snowball) sampling. Results: The 561 responders (age: 39.7 ± 11.6 y) were mostly female (59.7%), with higher education (69.8%), working as state or private employees (55.4%), and having low/medium income (77.1%). Overall, more than 70% were using MAPs in various symptoms and common health disorders, such as chamomile against common cold and the flu. More than 20 different MAPs were being used in smaller frequencies against various conditions. Key contributing factors to the consumption of MAPs were sex (female over male), employment (employed vs. unemployed), education (higher education vs. lower) and higher Body Mass Index (overweight and obese vs. normal), while consumption of fruit, fish, and vegetables was mainly associated with the use of MAPs as common items of diet and in health disorders. Conclusions: The use of MAPs as part of the diet and as traditional remedy is present in the examined population, while particular choices seem to be affected by sociodemographic and lifestyle factors.