Regulation - what next?

Statutory state regulation for herbalists is definitely on the way. That’s the word from Michael McIntyre, who’s been spearheading and trying to move the process in the right direction. Legislation is being drawn up, and will come into effect some time next year. If we get it right – and more campaigning may well be necessary – it will safeguard the right of registered herbalists to practise and prescribe in this country.

Professional bodies like the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, to which I belong, will continue to exist, but the power of accreditation and disciplinary action will pass into the hands of the Health Professions Council. Details, of course, are still to be worked out.

As for the herbs themselves, over the counter products will have to show 30 years of safe use in order to be eligible for licensing, or 15 years within the European Union. This will exclude a lot of useful and safe remedies, but is an attempt to prevent products with no track record being sold to the public. Prescriptions made up by professional herbalists for individual patients will not be affected.

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