What does Thom think about the coming UK ban on herbs?

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Thom studied to become an herbalist but I haven't heard him take on this topic about the ban of herbs coming to Britain this May. This seems to be another conspiracy by big pharma to get control of all medicines including herbal. We hear a similar ban may be coming to the US. My studies of herbal cures includes a lot of cures that are in your kitchen cabinet? Are they going to ban spices too (might not matter to Brits who love bland food)?

"With four months to go before the EU-wide ban is implemented, thousands of patients face the loss of herbal remedies that have been used in the UK for decades."

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/...

We must fight this!

captbebops's picture
captbebops
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Comments

Rather than a ban, I would like to see more scientific evaluation of herbal remedies (see the secong paragraph). Then people could make up their own minds with valid information. Science is the answer, but science needs to be funded to evaluate herbal remedies.. There also needs to be regulations so the people wanting to make a buck off desperate sick people suffering, by selling them snake oil. But I do not support an outright ban, rather (1) stop these con artists from lying, and (2) put a source of good information out there..

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN:

I have had health problems for 8 years now.. Severe GERD that turned into chest pain and shortness of breath (mimicing heart attack symptoms).. This kind of problem apparently falls between the cracks in our "for profit" health care industry (because its not profitable I believe).. The acid blocking pills now cause me pain, and thats all they have for me.. This leaves me wondering and looking into alternative cures.. I had a blood test called ALCAT test.. And I have improved the most in years.. And this test according to science per wickipedia was clearly not a valid test.. Yet I am much better 3 months out.. Medical DR's cannot get this test reimbursed, but a chiropractors ofc could (for whatever reason)..

Bottom line is I would like to see our health care system improve, but banning herbal remedys is not the way to do this. The ban will cause distruist because so many peoople belioeve with all their hearts (like a religion) in certain herbal remedys.. And there is amny times a grain of truth in herbnal remedys, further confusing the issue..

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bobbler
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I've talked to herbal companies that would like some regulations to insure that the herbs people are getting are of good quality, etc. The problem is that the regulation big pharma wants for herbs is "pull the ladder up" regulation. IOW, they want to keep competition away by the expense of fulfilling regulations and that is why the licensing mentioned in the article is so high. It is pull the ladder up.

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captbebops
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I am curious about what all this means. If a pharmaceutical company puts out a product and claims the product reduces heartburn, they must face a whole mountain of Government regulation that prove the product must actually reduce heartburn. And this is a good thing that prevents snake oil sales. If the Government wants to hold herbal remedies to the same standard; why is that bad?

Paleo-con
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

To clarify my post:

""And this is a good thing that prevents snake oil sales. If the Government wants to hold herbal remedies to the same standard; why is that bad?""

I do not support a ban, but certain things are "known" false (no grey areas) about herbal remedies, and these should be disclosed in a way the average person can get the information.. I do not know what "certification benchmark should be used for herbal remedies, because in many cases there is no "scientifically" known medical use for these herbs.. And sometimes nutrition is the cure by avoiding the disease in the first place (which seems difficult to prove scientifically).. So here is my made up list:

(1) safe, (2) pure (allergies), and (3) lying claims..

I try to eat lots of fresh fruits and VEG, because my feeling is all these pills are things marketed to make money, and the nutrition in food is of higher quality.

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bobbler
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Paleo-con:

I am curious about what all this means. If a pharmaceutical company puts out a product and claims the product reduces heartburn, they must face a whole mountain of Government regulation that prove the product must actually reduce heartburn. And this is a good thing that prevents snake oil sales. If the Government wants to hold herbal remedies to the same standard; why is that bad?

A conservative calling for MORE govt. intervention into our lives and decisions? I guess it's ok for the govt to insert itself into everyday matters as long as the end result is more monopolistic power for the trans-national corporations.

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Choco
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

This is a case of greater regulation, but I am not so sure how it benefits the pharmaceutical industry, as that too is highly regulated in Europe.

The EU has much stricter regulations (than the US) for food, and prescription medicines (much of which is government subsidized BTW). I am not completely surprised this will now apply to the herbal remedy market (which is much more common in Europe than I ever witnessed in the US).

It will be interesting to see if they can actually ban many of these fairly harmless herbs though. I think in the end the public outcry may force them to back down.

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meljomur
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

That's okay Choco. I am just as shocked to hear a liberal suggesting that the Government should mind its own business.

Conservatives do not advocate no government, they advocate limited government. Protecting the public from falsely labeled or poisonous remedies fits well within those limits. Your response still leaves the question unanswered; why shouldn't all remedies be held to the same standard? Isn't that only fair and treating everyone equally under the law?

Paleo-con
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Paleo-con:

That's okay Choco. I am just as shocked to hear a liberal suggesting that the Government should mind its own business.

Conservatives do not advocate no government, they advocate limited government. Protecting the public from falsely labeled or poisonous remedies fits well within those limits. Your response still leaves the question unanswered; why shouldn't all remedies be held to the same standard? Isn't that only fair and treating everyone equally under the law?

This party of yours that pretends to like and encourage competition has successfuly outlawed the best natural plant on earth--hemp. Anybody can grow hemp which is a valuable fiber for paper, clothing. The seeds are great source of biofuel and the BEST source of protein for the human body. All illegal because the industrialsts like Dupont and Hearst didn't want to compete with it. This corporate control over natural products extends to marijuana as well and the big pharma is more than happy to see this natural plant remain outlawed.

There was a movement a few years ago by big pharma to regulate vitamins and now this attempt to control herbs is more of the same corporate control. Too many on the right want the govt to interfere with the small guy while leaving the transnationals free to trot across the globe unhindered with national curriencies or national loyalties.

If the right really believed in the free market, if they believed that consumers' shopping habits would result in the best companies and the best prices, then why don't you guys insist that milk and meat products are labeled with GMOs? Why not give the consumer the information they need to make the decisions. Can you produce a bill or movement by republicans that call for full disclosure on meat and dairy products?

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Choco
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

First off, I don't have a party. Secondly, you may want to revisit which party was in power, cast the majority vote, and had their President sign the law that made hemp illegal. Hint: It was not the Republicans.

I don't think you are seeing the nuance between asking for regulation and having everyone treated the same under the law. Are you suggesting that large pharmaceuticals must be regulated for our safety, but small mom and pop herbalist can bottle anything they want? If I were looking at two remedies on the shelf. One cleared by the FDA to be safe for its intended use and the other said "we wouldn't lie to you, we promise", I would have no doubt about which one to select.

The right has no objection at all about properly labeling products as long as it is within reason. This idea of having a label the size of a phonebook attached to every tomato would be just plain goofy and non-workable.

Paleo-con
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I do not understand this reply? I would want the "govt" to regulate these things, because the govt is the best choice for being impartial (when separated from the influence of big big business money).. Putting big business in charge of regulating anything is crazy (because BIG business with regulation power, will simply use that power as a tool to cripple the competition)..

Quote Choco:
Quote Paleo-con:

I am curious about what all this means. If a pharmaceutical company puts out a product and claims the product reduces heartburn, they must face a whole mountain of Government regulation that prove the product must actually reduce heartburn. And this is a good thing that prevents snake oil sales. If the Government wants to hold herbal remedies to the same standard; why is that bad?

A conservative calling for MORE govt. intervention into our lives and decisions? I guess it's ok for the govt to insert itself into everyday matters as long as the end result is more monopolistic power for the trans-national corporations.

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bobbler
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Paleo, I often find it is my liberal cohorts who are naive about alternative medicine and eager to be "scientific" and believe that drug based cures are good. I would have thought most interested in alternative medicine would have been liberal but not so. I've found many "patriot type" conservatives supporting natural claims. This is where the Venn diagram overlaps.

Of course if one ever investigates alternative cures you'll find that many of the practitioners are applying science to their practices much more than the "modern science" advocates. After all there are a slew of pharmaceutical drugs that are based on age old herbal cures. The most common is ephedrine which is synthesized ephedra a common plant that grows wild throughout the US. India patented a lot of age old herbs simply to prevent US companies from getting patents on them and banning sale of them.

And "fruits and vegetables" are not a panacea. Just because one person feels better doing that doesn't mean it will work for everyone. There is a range of metabolic rates from slow to fast and in-between. Give a green leafy vegetable to someone with a fast oxidizing rate and their rate might get faster when it needs to slow down into balance. Give them a root vegetable and they might come into balance. Fruits in general might throw them way off. And vice-versa for the slow metabolism folks. This philosophy of diet is ages old but of course not recognized by "modern science" because it is "too complicated" for them. They really want "one diet fits all."

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captbebops
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Bobbler I guess you know that mainstream medicine does not even test to see if your stomach is creating too much or too little acid in purely digestive terms in heartburn cases. Folks should also recognize that all of the SSRI anti depppresive medications realy show no significant difference from placebo in terms of efficacy for depression. Also, off the shelf prescriptions from mainstream doctors are not supported by medical studies. The idea that mainstream is scientific and alternative and herbal remedies are not is simply untrue

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mattnapa
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