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EU Herb Directive Keeps Consumers in the Dark

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Consumers across Europe will be denied the right to use the majority of herbal remedies currently available in health food stores and on the Internet when a new European law is fully implemented on 1st May 2011, according to data published today by the Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH-Intl).

ANH-Intl has collated and released a list of the 79 herbal products registered for use in the UK by its medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).  The list, which is based on data taken from the MHRA's website, shows that only 34 plant species are included out of a total of more than 1000 that are commonly used as medicinal herbs.  The ban applies to any herbal product that is not registered by 1st May, and is a result of the full implementation of the EU Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (THMPD).

Non-European herbal products will be hardest hit: so far, not a single herbal remedy used in the two biggest traditions, Ayurveda (from India) and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), has been approved.

Nutritional supplements that include any non-approved medicinal herbs will also be banned.

Robert Verkerk PhD, Executive and Scientific Director of ANH-Intl, said, "We believe consumers have the right to see which products have so far been registered, what they have in them, what their intended uses are and who has registered them. We have therefore collated the data into a single list while also releasing other lists that show the extensive range of Indian, Chinese, Tibetan and even western herbs that will be subject to the ban."