New regulations

New regulations are coming into effect at the end of April. A lot of herbal products and nutritional supplements will be removed from sale. We don’t yet know exactly how it will play out, but any product which has come onto the market in the last decade or so will have to be licensed. Licenses are expensive, and will only be granted if certain criteria of safety and quality are met, so both smaller companies and dodgy operators will be hard hit. The aim, of course, is to protect the public – a few people have damaged their health, or even died, after taking remedies which were not what they claimed to be. But it is a two-edged sword, and some of your favourite supplements may disappear.

The good news is that practitioners can continue to supply tinctures, dried herbs and prescriptions made from these, just as they have always done. Tinctures and dried herbs are not ‘products’, they are simple preparations of single herbs. You can’t add much value to them, nor can you take out a patent, so you don’t see them in shops so often, but they are the closest thing to the living plants. From a herbalist’s point of view, they are much the best choice for both potency and quality, which is why most western herbalists use them. If you are registered with a herbalist, they will be able to carry on prescribing for you as before, and of course you can ask them for herb teas and so on as you like. And if you do have a favourite product that may disappear, complain about it! Protests do make a difference.


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