February 19, 2015
Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
- Robert Lint Sagarena, Ph.D.
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 bot�nicas perform and how they service their clientele. Bot�nicas, 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 bot�nica as a potential CAM site by analyzing the attitudes and beliefs towards this subject by bot�nica 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 bot�nica. 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, bot�nicas present public health officials with an additional resource in dispersing public health campaigns to a specific population, and should be utilized accordingly.