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 Limited access to herbal medicine

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PostSubject: Limited access to herbal medicine   Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:40 am

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European directive limits access to herbal medicine

Bulgaria is one of the leading countries feeding the herb market in Europe due to the exceptional diversity and abundance of herbal remedies in the Bulgarian mountains. Bulgaria is also one of the countries where alternative medicine is quite popular and very well-developed. However, what has recently alarmed the advocates of natural medicine is a prospective EU directive on traditional herbal medicinal products that is to come into force on May 1 this year. According to it, all traditional herbal products must undergo the same complex and expensive procedure of clinical and biochemical tests that pharmaceutical products do. This will limit dramatically the access of Europeans to the enormous curative natural resources that people have used for millennia. For the producers of herbal products the EU directive is a victory of a powerful pharmaceutical lobby. So far, many European countries have got up petitions for abolishing the directive. Perhaps, the most popular of them is that of the Alliance for Natural Health. You can look it up at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] gopetition.com/petition/39757/sign.html.

Born in the bosom of natural medicine the pharmaceutical industry appeared only a few centuries ago. Yet, it has imposed its supremacy quickly, often being hostile to traditional medicine. Especially over the last century the conflict between these two kinds of medicine has exacerbated.

“Almost the entire 20th century passed while people were trying to prove that the whole was more than its parts- the two contrary principles of natural medicine and pharmaceutical medicine”, says Emil Elmazov, Chairperson of the Bulgarian Herbalists Association. “The society already needed a retreat from chemicals because the chemical-filled food and medicines started causing allergies and chemical stress to the human body all over the world”, he adds.

The directive for traditional and herbal medicinal products adopted in 2004 has had a 7-year gratis period, which expires in April this year. During this period the producers of traditional herbal products could register with the new system. A mere 200 products were registered across the EU. Their number in England has been 90, with the natural products there containing only 34 types of herbs. To prove the curative properties of a single herb one needs to conduct 46 types of laboratory and clinical tests, Emil Elmazov explains.

“It is a sad fact that the directive will forbid the use of herbal products that have existed for millennia and have proven their benefit and harmless nature”, says Atanas Tsonev, publisher of the Bulgarian Healer Newspaper.

Another downside will be the drastic rise in the prices of herbal products, as a result of the above-mentioned tests, Mr Elmazov continues.

“If today you can use 100 g of plantain extract at the price of 3 euro, in future it will cost 30 euro. On top of that you will not get a fresh and clean plant extract, but rather an extract filled with preservatives, flavours and others, which are all part of pharmaceutical processing. I predict at least a tenfold increase in prices because of the long way one has to walk to get a single product – a plantain extract. No small company, especially on small markets like the Bulgarian, can withstand this pressure”, Mr Elmazov comments.

The EU directive will inflict another knockdown on natural medicine through a ban on herbal medicine advertisement, experts claim.

“The media will be forbidden to talk about unregistered herbal products”, says Ivelina Veleva from the Herbalism educational programme. For us this is absurd because we are a nation that for centuries on end has accumulated a huge cultural repository of knowledge for herbal products and natural medicine. And now this knowledge will be taken away from us. It will fade away for the future generations and one day our children and grandchildren will not know how to cure themselves with a plantain extract, how to make healing tea or herb infusion. That right to practice natural medicine will be taken away from us”, Ivelina Veleva concludes.

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PostSubject: Re: Limited access to herbal medicine   Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:01 pm

if this comes into force.....the Herbal Medicine Pharmacies will go black market ... and the locals will still be using the roots and herbs and leaves found in gardens and in the wild.....its too deep in their believes and culture to stop using these methods
even the local GP,s prescribe these first before trying conventional drugs ..if possible
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PostSubject: Re: Limited access to herbal medicine   Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:37 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
if this comes into force.....the Herbal Medicine Pharmacies will go black market ... and the locals will still be using the roots and herbs and leaves found in gardens and in the wild.....its too deep in their believes and culture to stop using these methods
even the local GP,s prescribe these first before trying conventional drugs ..if possible


Regardless of what the EU decide upon with their infinite wisdom, we can all get whatever herbal medicines we want on Ebay. Thank goodness we still have some freedom in this world!!

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PostSubject: Re: Limited access to herbal medicine   Fri Mar 11, 2011 1:43 pm

Here here g
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PostSubject: Re: Limited access to herbal medicine   Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:45 pm

itchyfeet...regardless of what the EU decides ..you will still get it in Bulgaria ,....as well as ebay ! s
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PostSubject: Re: Limited access to herbal medicine   Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:02 am

I think the reasoning is that some of these herbs have certain active ingredients that are considered toxic and therefore require some sort of regulation. However the ANH (Alliance for Natural Health) are arguing that no account is being made of dosage - i.e., the dosages in which many of these herbs are typically given/taken do not constitute a toxic risk. The European body in charge of this move are saying that they do not have the power to enforce a ban, as such, but merely want to draw up a list of ingredients they feel may pose a risk for guidance purposes. It seems there are accusations and counter-accusations flying in from both directions - with a great deal of alarm thrown in for good measure. What will actually happen is anybody's guess but we'll know in a few months when this is due to come into force. Fortunately on a purely personal and selfish level - it shouldn't effect me as I do not supplement or take herbal remedies (any more than pharmaceutical drugs - except for the very occasional pain-killer). However I have never been comfortable with the idea that we should be 'nannied' in this way and have our personal freedom of choice legislated away.
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PostSubject: Re: Limited access to herbal medicine   Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:07 pm

Princess Anne always treated her horses with herbal medicines (homeopathy). I also treated horses with homeopathy when I owned an equestrian complex in the UK, this also included treating horses with colic which can easily be fatal. I really don't know what harm herbs can do, we eat enough of them with food.

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