Interest in and use of complementary and alternative medicine have increased in recent years, with as much as 40% of the general population having used some form of complementary and alternative medicine in the past year. Although recent national surveys have not adequately assessed the use of complementary and alternative medicine in minority populations, its use in many minority populations is at least equal to and possibly greater than that in the general population. One condition for which minority populations are likely to use complementary and alternative medicine therapies is diabetes, which is particularly prevalent in Mexican-American and Native-American communities. Many minority cultures have a long history of using herbal preparations to treat diabetes, and recent research suggests that some herbal therapies may have a role in the treatment of this complex disease. However, many questions remain regarding the proper use of herbal therapies for diabetes, particularly in regard to dosage and contaminants. Therefore, physicians who work with minority populations should ask patients about their use of these therapies and must become knowledgeable about their safety and efficacy.