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!