Thursday, 17 February 2011

Herbal Hokum

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Once again Britain is seen to be almost medieval in comparison to much of the west when it comes to healthcare. Not only does the heir to the thrown support homeopathy and other useless pseudoscience, but now our own government has decided to over rule an European ban on herbal products that are not licensed and proven medicines. The headline of the Metro today read “Britain defies EU over herbal ban” 1 and went on to describe how it will leave Britain vulnerable to quacks and other fraudsters. It is partly understandable that a ban as soon as April would put many companies out of business, for example health food/supplement chains like Holland and Barrett. However, surely it is more important to consider that you are putting the publics’ health at greater risk by not enforcing the ban. What will happen when people go to these establishments looking for a treatment and are advised to take a certain supplement, but then the condition does not improve or gets worse, and in the process are not seeking qualified medical intervention. The public needs to be more informed that these shops are selling plant extracts that offer no health benefits over a normal balanced diet. They are seen to be more natural, however, those that were shown to work have been studied and the active chemical has been extracted and synthesized to allow for mass production and to avoid unwanted contamination that is inherent with plant material. If anything avoiding this ban is simply allowing a few retailers to stay in business which are quite happy to take advantage of the sick and vulnerable within our communities.

E Markham (2011). Herbal Hokum blogspot

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