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Regulate herbal medicine now !

As some of my readers will know I have been recently reading a book on exotic chemicals found in plants. By a coincidence when I was talking about herbal medicine with a lady who knows a lot about herbal medicine on the train a few days before a dire tale hit the news. We compared notes on a few plants, and my friend was interested to see the entries on several plants.

One of the things I mentioned to my friend was the Belgium case of the slimming herbs. The problem was that some persons who were poorly trained failed to make sure that they used the correct plant. They used a plant with a similar name to the correct one and then caused kidney failure and cancer ! Then on the news today I saw that a court case revolving around the same herb and toxin reported. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7257991/Chinese-herbalist-escapes-jail-for-supplying-banned-medicine.html)

I hope to comment on Aristolochia and Aristolochic acid in my blog in the near future.

I hold the view that herbal medicine and green plants do offer a great series of wonderful drugs for fixing many illnesses. But these plant based drugs are not toys. I think that it time that a law is introduced to regulate herbal medicine. My big four wants are.

1. The plant must be identified correctly

2. The amount of the drug in the medicine must be measured

3. The level of toxic and unwanted chemicals in the medicine must be kept low

4. Any person who prescribes the drug must be competent

My friend agreed very much with point one, that it is vital to make sure that the correct plant is selected. She commented that unless a person is an expert it is dangerous to pick herbs from the wild.

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