by Daily Mail Reporter
30 April 2011
Herbal Medicines Now Banned
in Europe As
BigPharma Takes Over
Patients have lost access to hundreds of herbal medicines today,
after European regulations came into force.
Sales of all herbal remedies, except for a small number of popular
products for ‘mild’ illness such as
echinacea for colds and
John’s Wort for depression have been banned.
For the first time traditional products must be licensed or
prescribed by a registered herbal practitioner. Both herbal remedy
practitioners and manufacturers fear they could be forced out of
business as a result.
Some of the most commonly used products were saved after the Health
Secretary Andrew Lansley approved a plan for the Health
Professions Council to establish a register of practitioners
supplying unlicensed herbal medicines.
However, many remedies were lost as it was only open to those who
could afford the licensing process which costs between £80,000 to
At least 50 herbs, including horny goat weed (so-called natural
Viagra), hawthorn berry, used for angina pain, and wild yam will no
longer be stocked in health food shops, says the British Herbal
The 2004 EU directive demands that a traditional herbal medicinal
product must be shown to have been in use for 30 years in the EU -
or at 15 years in the EU and 15 years elsewhere - for it to be
The UK drug safety watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare
Products Agency, has issued more than a dozen alerts in the past
two years, including a warning last month over a contaminated weight
loss pill called Herbal Flos Lonicerae (Herbal Xenicol) due to
Mr Lansley, in a written statement, said the Government wanted to
ensure continuing access to unlicensed herbal medicines via a
statutory register for practitioners,
‘to meet individual patient needs’.
Acupuncture falls outside the EU
directive and so remains unaffected.
Prince Charles, a long-standing supporter of complementary
therapies, has voiced his support for formal regulation of herbal
practitioners. Up till now the industry has been covered by the
Medicines Act. This was drawn up when only a small number of herbal
remedies were available.
But recent studies show that at least six million Britons have used
a herbal medicine in the past two years.
Professor George Lewith, professor of health research at
Southampton University, said:
‘Evidence for the efficacy of herbal
medicines is growing; they may offer cheap, safe and effective
approaches for many common complaints.’
Criminalizing Natural Health, Vitamins, and