Natural medicine questioning?

Shed your petition in Brussels


Thanks to your mobilization, we obtained not less than 1.4 million signatures, without counting the 850,000 signatures that the citizen movement Avaaz harvested our suite.

We will be many in the European Parliament. A major conference was organized by MEP Michèle Rivasi, and Satu Hassi MEP Heide Rühle, Carl Schlyter and Bart Staes. It will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., in the hall of the Parliament A5G3.

Representatives of the European Commission (DG SANCO) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Food Authority (EFSA) will answer questions that European citizens arise on Directive 24/2004 / EC, also called THMPD (Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive). You can also ask questions via the Facebook page created by Mrs Rivasi on the subject:

Recall that the Directive creates a THMPD Authorisation on the "simplified" market for herbal medicines, whose cost is estimated at ... 100 000-140 000 per plant, a sum out of reach for most manufacturers (working on a small scale).

This new procedure is currently cause the disappearance of many herbal remedies, which the financial profitability can not justify such investment. There are also fears lafaillite a myriad of small players in the sector who do not have the financial power to comply with the new procedure. (Read about it absolutely interview herbalist Michel Pierre, below).

Of course, the authorities want reassuring. They say they will show themselves open and respectful of the oldest medicinal traditions and proven.

But as noted by the MP Michèle Rivasi on its website on 16 June:

"In late February 2011, the Community list of substances, preparations and traditional herbal remedies already registered plants had only 215 products. And only 79 Community herbal monographs have been finalized to date. "

Two one hundred to fifteen products, as tens of thousands of herbal remedies were allowed in Europe until 30 April 2011, the deadline for implementation of the THMPD Directive.

Is the vacuum cleaning.

In addition, this new legislation is unclear and difficult to interpret, many manufacturers and distributors are in a situation of legal uncertainty that blocks any initiative on their part.

The difficulty comes from the definition of plant-based medicines, extremely broad and vague, encompassing a large number of plants and all plant-based preparations (crushed or powdered herbal substances, tinctures, extracts, essential oils, obtained juice by pressure). Would thus be subject to a marketing authorization application all plants having an active ingredient and all official formula prepared by health professionals.

Many wholesalers and distributors prefer not to market the plants for fear of the risks involved, to the point that the survival entire industry in Europe is threatened today. If it disappears, European patients will no longer have the practical possibility of obtaining many medicinal plants, even though these would theoretically allowed by the European Union.

For all these reasons, we continue to loudly denounce Directive 24/2004 / EC, which, far from having the effect of protecting patients by ensuring quality products based plant, is well and truly off death of a major ancestral knowledge of our civilization, traditional medicines made from plant.

More than ever, it is urgent to propose alternatives legislative and administrative solutions that offers the European Directive 24/2004 / EC to save herbal stores which offer knowledge and expertise irreplaceable in the field of medicinal plants and preparations herbal, and contribute to preserve the well being of all.

To meet this challenge, we are being set up in Brussels a structure dedicated to the protection of natural health in Europe. Our next communication will aim to announce the launch, and will be accompanied by a call to all existing structures wishing to contribute to this vital work.

With thanks for your interest in this important cause,

Augustin Livois
Collective for the Protection of Natural Health


Pierre Michel, you own herbalism the Royal Palace in Paris for 40 years under the rules in force at the time. You have written several books, including "Secret Plant" (Artemis editions) and you finish another Editions du Chêne. What impact has the full entry into force of Directive 2004/24 (THMPD Directive) on your business?

We must understand that we can not just talk herbalists. Take into account all stakeholders in the sector: pickers, producers, wholesalers, and herbalists at the end of the chain. This is a sector that we may kill by applying this Directive and all the jobs that go with it. For gatherers and producers especially, these limitations will be a significant shortfall. Much of the agricultural world suffer from this text. With this directive, we almost definitely cuts the link between the land and the rest of society and we take the risk of losing at the same time a huge ancient knowledge that was the strength of our regions. Recall that over 50% of our herbs are produced in France.

As for me, it's my first herb that worries me. I distribute each year about 30 tons of herbs with 60,000 customers including many doctors. This figure could be halved, which would require me to dismiss four of my eight employees. Under these conditions, I could not work, I would not have become as external consultant to a pharmacy!

Then of course, the Ministry of Health is reassuring, the European institutions too. We are told that more than 600 plants would be allowed in Europe and that it is quite enough to offer products to customers but these are only words. Meanwhile, since the Directive is passed, my wholesaler refuses to sell me some plants because it does not know today what are the risks involved. It takes time, it seems to be established that this plant list. But how? Two years? Three years? It probably will take less for herbalism completely disappear in France, and we are a fortnight.

In response to the petition that the Collective for the defense of natural medicine was launched on 16 March (defended Healing) and which gathered over 1.4 million signatures, the European Commission and some major newspapers have estimated that between the vote of the Directive (2004) and its implementation (2011), there had been sufficient time for industry players can file applications for marketing authorization (MA). What do you think?

This just shows that the European institutions have no knowledge of the land in France. Today herbalist has no right to file marketing authorization dossier.

We can file applications like any company selling food supplements with the DGCCRF, but the list is far from the amount of plants sold in herbal medicine.

Ultimately, since the abolition of Herbalist degree in 1941, under the Vichy regime, nothing has been done by the government in favor of herbalism. Over the years our business and legislation was smothered gradually in most general indifference to this petition. And I am delighted that it has affected so many people in Europe. It may be there, one of our last hopes: that people react to limitations imposed on us without consulting us. They kill us slowly.

It also explains the principle of mutual recognition, we can go to provide throughout Europe. I can get plants in Italy and Germany which are prohibited in France. But we are not a multinational! We do not have the means to go get all these plants elsewhere besides it seems absurd to pick plants in Germany already growing among us and that we use for generations.

The solution would be to invite the European herbalists to settle in France, since the degree is in Germany, Italy, Spain, or allow pharmacists to open herbalists, it's still part of our culture.

Specifically, do you have any examples of plants that today you can not distribute after the full entry into force of the THMPD directive?

Of course. Take for example the celandine. With the new directive, it will be subject to a marketing authorization for any distribution because it contains derivatives benzylisoquinonéique a alcooloïde, which took in large quantities, can cause hepatitis A, but it is extracted, not plants for infusion.

We are in the herbal tea offered. This is now impossible. But you will find it in pharmacies as capsules or tinctures, except that these capsules are designed with plant extracts that are much more powerful than the plant itself, and there, it will be attentive.

I understand that a ban the sale of sassafras which can affect the nervous system, I understood that it prohibits the sale of alcoholic extracts or essential oil of wormwood, but I do not understand that we can no longer sell the plant to make herbal tea.