Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Dr. Stephen L. Schensul, Dr. Judy Lewis, Dr. Rebecca Crowell

Field of Study

Public Health


Master of Public Health

Open Access

Open Access




Hypertension continues to be an international public health concern. This chronic disease is highly prevalent in Caribbean countries. Jamaican migrants to the Greater Hartford, Connecticut area share in this high prevalence. The purpose of this study was to investigate the concomitant use of herbal and conventional medicines for treating hypertension among these migrant Jamaicans.


Qualitative and quantitative mixed methods were used to carry out this study. Focus groups and in-depth interviews collected qualitative data and a survey questionnaire collected quantitative data allowing for representation and hypothesis testing. Analysis of qualitative data used a thematic approach while SPSS was used for univariate and bivariate analyses.


Two focus group meetings initially led to selection of a sample for in-depth interviews with fifteen participants. Later, a questionnaire showed 92.9% of migrant Jamaicans continued to use herbal medicines for treating high blood pressure. The majority of respondents, 95.2% engaged in concomitant therapy, that is, use of both herbal and conventional medicines. Belief in the limited side effects of herbs was a primary reason given for continued use of herbal medicines. Strong correlations were seen for herbal and OTC use (p < .001), as well as herbal and prescription use (p = .004).


A high percentage of migrant Jamaicans in the Hartford area used herbal along with biomedicines to treat their hypertension suggesting that primary care providers need to know what their Jamaican hypertensive patients are taking beyond the medicines they prescribe.

Major Advisor

Dr Stephen L. Schensul