Luis Valdez

Major and Classification

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Faculty Mentor

  • Robert Lint Sagarena, Ph.D.


  • Religion

McNair Project

Botanicas in South Los Angeles: Attitudes and Beliefs Associated with their Roles as Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Sites in the Latino Community

The purpose of this study is to examine the therapeutic roles botnicas perform and how they service their clientele. Botnicas, esoteric stores that market herbal remedies and religious paraphernalia, are found in most urban cities across the United States that have a sizeable Latino population. This research was inspired by prior studies involving these stores, which have noted that these locations could potentially serve as Complementary and/or Alternative Medicine (CAM) sites for their culturally specific customers. Moreover, prior research has also examined and discussed the manner in which the United Sates delivers a universal approach to healthcare, and many have concluded that this system is ineffective when addressing culturally diverse populations. Thus, this study seeks to explore the botnica as a potential CAM site by analyzing the attitudes and beliefs towards this subject by botnica customers in order to confirm their roles as alternatives to biomedicine and/or possible complement to modern healthcare. Participants were chosen based on the criterion that they were paying customers of a South Los Angeles botnica. The participants were interviewed on-site and were asked to answer ten open-ended questions about their experiences and attitudes towards the stores. The results indicate that the stores do provide their customers a complement to healthcare and should be considered a CAM site. Furthermore, botnicas present public health officials with an additional resource in dispersing public health campaigns to a specific population, and should be utilized accordingly.