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Nutrient - Traditional medicinal herbs

By Nutri People

In a review of medicines law, many traditional medicinal herbs, which have been freely available up until now, will have to be licensed as Traditional Herbal Medicines after April 2011. Higher Nature has provided you with a special pull-out guide of some of the more popular traditional herbal remedies, which will fall into this new category. It also gives you some interesting background on these useful and efficacious herbs.

In 2004, a European Directive was passed called the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive, which, in broad terms, stated that traditional medicinal herbal products would no longer be allowed on the market without a medicines licence. After 30th April 2011, all ‘medicinal herbs’ will need to be appropriately licensed. Otherwise, they will be illegal to sell.

A number of very well-known herbs, such as rhodiola, milk thistle,

St John’s wort and echinacea, are classified as medicinal herbs and these will disappear unless the products they appear in are licensed as Traditional Herbal Medicines. Many brands are likely to disappear from the shelves unless the manufacturer has invested the time and money in obtaining the appropriate licenses.

The licenses have to be issued by the MHRA, a Government Agency set up to ensure medicines and medicinal products work. They have very strict guidelines on quality and good manufacturing practices, in order to issue these licenses. For example, when you buy a licensed herbal product, you know that the manufacturer has been independently assessed and approved on quality of manufacture, providing appropriate consumer information, both on the pack and on the patient information leaflet; which provide clear indications as to what medical condition the product is for; and have satisfied all safety assessments. In addition, they must work to a high quality of manufacture (GMP). This Directive will ensure that less ethical manufacturers will now not be able to provide products that have the incorrect dosage strength stated on the label, provide the wrong herb, use ingredients contaminated with heavy metals or solvents, or produce products that contain microbial contamination, as has happened in the past.

Not all herbs are regarded as medicines and those, such as garlic and ginger, will continue to be sold as food supplements.

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