The use of herbal remedies is common in Turkey. This study aimed to define the patterns of herbal remedy use among subjects aged 18 or above and to describe factors associated with use of herbal remedies. A cross-sectional study was conducted with a multistage sampling method between September 2007 and April 2008. A total of 3876 adults participated (98.1% response rate), and 1518 (39.2%) admitted using herbal remedies (95% CI 37.6-40.7%). Univariate analyses showed that compared with non-users, herbal users were mostly female, were more highly educated and were more likely to live in smaller households of one to four people. Logistic regression showed that being aged 18-27 (OR = 1.23, P = 0.028), being female (OR = 2.22, P < 0.001), being educated in a secondary school (OR = 1.47, P < 0.001) or high school (OR = 2.77, P < 0.001), perceiving their health status as 'good' (OR = 2.61, P < 0.001) and having health-related problems (OR = 2.80, P < 0.001) were the factors associated with the use of herbal remedies. The most commonly used herbs were lime, mint, rosehip and lemon. The reasons for using herbal remedies included that they are natural products (79.8% of the 1518 users), for health enhancement (58.9%) and to overcome health problems (32.2%). The decision to use herbal remedies was mainly based on recommendations from the mass media (45.1%). Only 29.1% of users obtained information from their physicians or health providers, and only 37.9% informed their doctors. Nearly three in five people in this study reported using a herbal remedy to overcome health problems or for health enhancement. Herbal remedies are likely to be used by the young people, females, those with higher education, those with good or excellent perceived health status and those with chronic illness, and it seems essential to offer informational programmes for them. The lack of communication on herbal remedies between patient and physician needs to be addressed.