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April 2011

List of Approved Herbal Medicines

At last I've followed a link to a real list of the approved herbal medicines. 

You'll be okay if you are a fan of Echinacea. Of the 81 products on the approved list I counted at least 9 based on the herb, a further 7 were basically St John's Wort, another 6 Valerian were preparations. It doesn't take Einstein to realise that companies have gone for licensing their big sellers (and who can blame them) and are abandoning the less profitable herbals. We will not have 81 different herbal medicines to choose from in Europe, we will have 81 product lines.

Here's the link:

UK's Approved Medicinal Herbs

Herbal medicines law a complete nonsense

I've just been along to a Holland and Barrett wholefood store and had a chat with the store manager about the impact the EU's directive on Herbal Medicines will have on their shelves. Less than a fortnight away from it coming into full force and he couldn't yet tell me what would happen. He didn't know which herbs would be staying and which would go.

I asked whether there was a list of the herbal medicines that had been approved and he pointed out that it would differ from store to store. So you might go to Holland and Barrett and buy one herbal preparation that you couldn't buy in Boots and who knows whether you'll be able to find anything in an independent store? The few licenses that have been granted are solely for the brand, not the herb itself. 

How ridiculously absurd to say that for example 'X branded' Echinacea is approved, but 'Y' brand of the same product must be taken from the shelves. The herb in this case has been deemed safe, but no-one else is allowed to sell it, only the company that applied for the license. Ludicrous in the extreme!

EU Directive on herbal medicines

Europe is about to lose most of its oldest, safest and most tried and tested medicines at the end of this month. Herbalism is being severely restricted by the EU Directive requiring the individual licensing of herbal medicines each of which costs anywhere between £80,000-£150, 000. The price puts licenses out of the reach of all but the biggest producers and it seems even they will be reducing their ranges. The result is that products will be lost from our shelves.
 
The regulation of herbal medicine was ostensibly about concerns over customer safety, which is quite laughable when you consider that properly 'licensed and scientifically proven' pharmaceuticals are amongst the biggest killers in the Western world. Herbal products have been utilised for as long as history records and have an incredible safety and efficacy track record compared to modern drugs. It makes you wonder who is really pulling the strings in the EU? The pharmaceutical industry is immensely powerful and will only benefit from the removal of our ability to self treat with herbs.
 
What can we do, apart from stock up on our favourite remedies before they vanish? It sounds like culinary herbs are not at risk, so we can still benefit from adding health giving herbs in our food & herbal teas I believe. I assume we can still grow medicinal herbs for our own use, but many plants such as those used in Traditional Chinese Medicine or in Ayurvedic medicine don't grow well in our climate and it looks like we'll be losing these unless we go buying on the black market- and that really is a concern for consumer safety!
 
It seems that our freedom to look after our own health is being strongly restricted. Perhaps this is part of the establishment's attempts to control the power of the individual?
 
Here is a well written article IMO on this ludicrous situation. As the author points out we will soon walk out of the health food shop leaving the empty shelves behind us, protected from the very slim chance of an adverse reaction, we then can stroll into the newsagents and exercise our freedom of choice to buy cigarettes, which have no safe dosage level and are proven harmful when used as recommended. Perhaps the Government would have made more fuss to safeguard our herbs if they'd brought in the sort of revenue tobacco products do?
 
Me, I'll be giving over more space to herbs in my garden and planting up whatever can survive the attentions of my chickens. At least I won't get burnt at the stake for growing herbs ...well not til the next EU directive anyway!

Teaching in Glastonbury

I start teaching my Crystal Healing in Glastonbury tomorrow, running an Introductory Day at Growing Needs Bookshop. I've been guided to teach there for a while (merely six years or so I think) and stayed teaching in my comfort zone in Llandrindod Wells! It is lucky I have very patient Guides!

I think we all need a little push to stretch ourselves beyond self imposed limitations now and again. Glastonbury has always felt like a homecoming to me, so I'm excited to start working there and not too nervous, but I've been pretty careful packing my kit ready...I can't just nip upstairs for something I've forgotten!!