An Evaluation of Culturally Appropriate Complementary Medicines: A Short Report


  • Naba Al-jiboori
  • Mary Bushell
  • Lyn Todd



complementary medicine, culturally appropriate, pharmacy research, student-led research, medication safety


Background: Health professionals are major contributors to culturally appropriate complementary medicines, both at a patient level and at a community level. In Australia, there are many culturally diverse groups, all have varying belief systems which can contribute to their choices in complementary medicines. This research project will demonstrate culturally appropriate approaches regarding complementary medicines for health professionals.

Aim: To evaluate cultural appropriateness regarding complementary medicines and investigate whether they are deemed suitable for various cultural communities.
Method: Using the Australian Pharmaceutical Formulary 25 (APF 25), ten of the 52 complementary medicines mentioned were selected. To determine the most frequently purchased complementary medicines, data was collected from two pharmacies via on-site visits.

Results: Evidence was identified for 30 (86%) products, all containing bovine. Cross contamination was witnessed mostly with product exposure to gluten or lactose, with five items containing no evidence of suggested ingredients. Conclusion: This study developed a tool, containing information regarding culturally appropriate complementary medicines. Having a tool that compiles this information will speed up the process for both the pharmacist and the patient, it will also assist the pharmacist in delivering patient-centred care appropriately.


2021 Census shows changes in Australia’s religious diver- sity | Australian Bureau of Statistics [Internet]. [updated 2022 June 28; cited 2022 Oct 14]. Available from:,cent%20of%20the%20Australian%20population.

2016 Census: Religion [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2022 Oct 24]. Available from:

How many vegans are there? [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2022 Oct 24]. Available from: to%20as,the%20most%20number%20of%20vegans.

Boycott Halal in Australia [Internet]. 2014 [cited 2022 Oct 24]. Available from:

Halal Certification Q and A [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 24]. Available from:

The sacred cow, alimentarium [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 24]. Available from:

Religion, Western Sydney (LGA), Community profile [In- ternet]. [cited 2022 Oct 24]. Available from:

RACGP - Coeliac disease continues to be a ‘clinical chame- leon [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2022 Oct 24]. Available from:

Gluten for punishment: challenging non-coeliac gluten sensitivity [Internet]. 2017 [cited 2022 Oct 24]. Available from:

Wards and suburbs [Internet]. [cited 2022 Oct 24]. Available from:

Religion, Western Sydney (LGA), Community profile [In- ternet]. [cited 2022 Oct 24]. Available from:,answer%20the%20question%20on%20religion.