Herbal medicines banned as EU directive comes into force
Sales of all herbal remedies, except for a small number of popular products for ‘mild’ illness such as echinacea for colds and St John’s Wort for depression have been banned.
For the first time traditional products must be licensed or prescribed by a registered herbal practitioner.
Both herbal remedy practitioners and manufacturers fear they could be forced out of business as a result.
Some of the most commonly used products were saved after the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley approved a plan for the Health Professions Council to establish a register of practitioners supplying unlicensed herbal medicines.
However, many remedies were lost as it was only open to those who could afford the licensing process which costs between £80,000 to £120,000.
At least 50 herbs, including horny goat weed (so-called natural Viagra), hawthorn berry, used for angina pain, and wild yam will no longer be stocked in health food shops, says the British Herbal Medicine Association.