The Clock Is Ticking – Act Now To Keep Herbal Medicine On The Shelf

November 1, 2010

Earlier this year I raised the issue that many of our popular alternative remedies are under increasing threat from EU legislation and we are now up against the clock if we want to try and stop it from happening. Herbal medicine has an old and respected tradition, indeed without it many of our modern drugs would not exist.

Modern science has sought out and taken the active ingredients from medicinal plants and synthesised them, with the heart drug digitalis from the foxglove being a common example, as is aspirin from white willow bark. Now your right to use the original, natural plant based remedies could be at an end.

With strict European legislation due to come into force next April, some age-old herbal remedies on sale in health food stores today could become, quite literally, a thing of the past. From April 2011, all member states will have to comply with a European Union directive which specifies that all herbs produced, manufactured and sold in the EU must be classified as either foods or medicines.

Those working in the sector have for a long time been campaigning for regulation and greater control, but the new authorization and licensing requirements have enormous implications for the herbal medicine industry throughout the European Union and for your freedom of choice.

Marinella Trovato, President of S.I.S.T.E., the Italian Society for Herbal Science and Technology in Milan, said that many small producers and manufacturers of medicinal herbs will no longer be able to afford to stay in business as they will be unable to cover the cost of authorization licences for medicinal herbs. UK-trained herbalist, Marco Valussi, speaking at the conference, warned that the terms of the directive would put herbal remedy manufacture in the hands of large pharmaceutical companies, and this was likely to narrow the range of medicinal herbs on the market.

Now that major companies like Boots have their own range of herbal medicines is this not a good thing? Yes, but what you see with large companies is that they are interested in a small rage of remedies that are the most popular, and profitable. However the range of herbal medicines available at the moment is huge and covers all aspects of health care.

What putting herbal medicine into the hands of the large companies means is that they are more likely to focus on maybe five or ten important herbs and leave behind the other ones that are just as valuable, but as popular.

If you value your freedom of choice it is almost too late to register a protest – but not quite. I don’t want to spend a winter without Echinacea to boost my immune system, so if you have benefited from herbal medicine then please take a moment and register your protest with your MP.

A very simple way to do this is to go online where you will be taken through a simple form that will be sent online directly to the MP for your area so copy and paste this link into your browser and make a healthy difference:


Article by  


What do you think of this health article by ? Join the discussion...