Thursday, May 5, 2011

Herbal Remedies Banned in EU, Herbal Medicines Licensed, Some Banned

Well, you may already have heard the unfortunate news about changes concerning the the use of Traditional Medicinals as referenced in the two articles which follow.
In the early '90's I wrote a poem about the CODEX meetings in Europe with some folks from the US who were and had been working for decades to create seed and plant laws around the thriving herbal health business and global food business.

I think it unfortunate that Monsanto has been able to continue to spread Genetically modified organisms through our food system and are allowed the continued associated degradation to the soil from toxic chemical compounds and use of all substances that have only a job of killing.

In the 1980's I read a report stating that of all the food varieties cataloged by the USDA at the turn of the century, at the time of that writing, less than 3% remained, and of that seed stock left, more than 85% were in tomato seed.

These numbers still shock me when as I think of the thousands of generations and lives that were responsible for providing us with so much that we could ever take it for granted and let the safe food and herbal medicinals fall away from us by the seemingly intentional destruction and undermining of essential sustainable resources.

The Government allowed access to some unlicensed manufactured herbal
medicines via a statutory register

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 St 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 £120,000.

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 Medicine Association.

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 licensed.

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 concerns over possible side-effects.

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 til now the industry has been covered by the 1968 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.’


~Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Herbal remedies banned as new EU rules take

Manufacturers and herbal practitioners say strict guidelines aimed at improving safety could force them out of business

Robin McKie
The Observer, Sunday 1 May 2011

New EU rules came into force at the weekend banning hundreds of herbal remedies. The laws are aimed at protecting consumers from potentially damaging "traditional" medicines.

Under the directive, herbal medicines will now have to be registered. Products must meet safety, quality and manufacturing standards, and come with information outlining possible side-effects.

Herbal practitioners and manufacturers say they fear the new rules could force them out of business.

Research conducted for the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in 2009 showed that 26% of adults in the UK had taken a herbal medicine in the last two years, mostly bought over the counter in health food shops and pharmacies. Commonly used ingredients already registered include echinacea, which is used against colds, St John's wort, used for depression and anxiety, and valerian, which is claimed to ease insomnia.

The agency said it hoped to promote a more cautious approach to the use of herbal medicines after a study found that 58% of respondents believed these products were safe because they are "natural". In fact, herbal remedies can have harmful side-effects. St John's Wort can stop the contraceptive pill working, while ginkgo and ginseng are known to interfere with the blood-thinning drug warfarin. And in February the MHRA issued a warning about the herbal weight loss product Herbal Flos Lonicerae (Herbal Xenicol) Natural Weight Loss Formula, after tests showed it contained more than twice the prescribed dose of a banned substance.

To date, the industry has been covered by the 1968 Medicines Act, drawn up when only a handful of herbal remedies were available and the number of herbal practitioners was very small.

From now, manufacturers will have to prove their products have been made to strict standards and contain a consistent and clearly marked dose. Remedies already on sale will be allowed to stay on the shelves until their expiry date. The agency said there had been 211 applications for approval of herbal remedies so far, with 105 granted and the rest still under consideration. Approved remedies will come with a logo marked THR.

Gaurdian -