Hi again Sue,
Personally my knowledge on this subject is rather thin but I'm sure others will have a lot to say on the matter. I tend to instinctivly put my hands over my ears and do the la la song when it comes to Govt. bodies ,WHO, etc because even when what they say they are intending to do sounds excellent, it usually ends up doing the opposite. Sorry, having one of my grumpy old woman moments, which regular readers are used to.
Please share with us your thoughts and concerns.Am I correct in thinking that you are especially concerned about the vitamin and suplt. aspect ? In the end I think it is all about money and power.As always. Denying people a choice in how they look after their health is appaling. Sorry, time to be quiet !
This message has been edited by lucyann3 from IP address 22.214.171.124 on Apr 10, 2009 9:24 PM
Re: Codex Alimentarius
April 12 2009, 9:30 PM
Thanks for you reply. Sorry to say but I don't think covering your ears and hoping this will go away will help. Not being rude but this will happen and then where are herbal remedies?
Re: Codex Alimentarius
April 13 2009, 9:58 AM
I am as passionate about the need to protect herbal medicine as I was when I first qualified. That was in 1994. I had just started working as a herbalist when we were suddenly told that to bring us in line with other European countries ( which was a lie ) herbal remedies would be subject to legislation that would all but see them no longer be allowed to be prescribed. There was a massive protest from the public as well as the herbalists. I can remember very clearly the letters, phone calls, and media opportunities that i took part in. A protest had been arranged in London and I had organisied for myself and several friends that we were going to chain ourselves to some railings during the protest.Although it was wonderful when the protest was called off as the govt had capitulated under all the protest, I was a tiny bit sad that all the adrenaline i had built up had no where to "flee " to ! Those dark days are still stored vividly in my memory.
I realise that I didn't explain myself clearly to your post. I really meant that I am so tired of all the time having to be alert to the potential threats to herbal medicine.Sometimes it is big and comes with fanfares and is therefore easier to combat. The more dangerous times are when stealth is used. Hence my posting about the herbal medicine petition. Another way the govt is trying to take our freedom away. But things are not always as simple as they seem.
When I was doing the research for my article for the History of Herbal Medicine on this site, ( go to articles on the home page )it really brought it home to me how herbal medicine has always been in the sights of those who have the control of power. But how herbal medicine has always survivied and I believe it always will. It is our birthright.
I agree that it is very dangerous not to be alert at all times to any potential threats.Maybe it is a question of taking it " in turns " as it were to provide guard duty. I think one of the lessons that we have learnt from the past is that we need to mobilize people quickly if the govt try to sneak anything through by the back door. Hence my determination to keep this forum as active and attracting as many people as possible so we can reach as many people as possible as quickly as possible.
The Codex includes a number of topics and I had wondered exactly what aspect you were refering to. It would be helpful if you could post more about it for those who are not conversent with its contents. I am sure it will provoke much comment here.
It is always good to make contact with others who share the passion for herbal medicine and I keep my chains ready if the need shall arise to use them!!!
Yours in friendship ( don't know how to do a smiley face ! )
It's great to see "Guests" joining in the debate, but would it be possible for you to say who you are and whether you are practicing medical herbalists, "herbaholics", or herbwives like me?
Re: Codex Alimentarius
April 17 2009, 9:57 PM
Hi Sarah, I am a keen gardener, grow lots of herbs for many reasons, some medicinal, some for the attraction of wildlife. Can't believe that more people haven't replied on a thread that will (IMHO) make such an impact on the way herbs are used?
Re: Codex Alimentarius
April 20 2009, 10:03 PM
I think one of the difficulties of the Codex and other legislation is getting to grips with the situation in UK and the situation in the US and the situation in Europe, all of which is slightly different or majorly different.
I find it very hard to come to terms with what can be done, what can't be done, by whom and with what herbs and how that affects the man in the street (this is presuming that the man in the street actually cares an iota about herbs or wishes to use them!.)
The situation in the UK appears to be that there are recognised university and distance learning courses which have academic approval accompanied by clinical experience of a specific number of hours which enables people to be considered qualified. One of the criticisms of these courses are that they are too "medically-oriented" with students being taught that you prescribe this herb for that condition, with very little and in some courses no input about growing your own herbs and making your own medicines. Qualified herbalists are therefore, very often reliant on manufactured herbal products because they have no time to grow, harvest and process their own herbs because they are too busy seeing clients and making a living from herbal medicine.
We also the difficulty in this country that qualified medical herbalists (apart from the few who post on this forum) mostly talk to each other about herbs and their uses and don't make a habit of talking to the general public who aren't their patients. As one newly qualified herbalist said to me last year, "I can't discuss difficult cases on a blog or elsewhere in public because my patients will see how little experience I have and won't have any confidence in me." Personally, I'd have much more confidence in a practitioner who discussed issues openly their peers and with me, rather than one who acted as if they knew everything, but that's just me.
The situation is totally different amongst many herbalists in the US, where there is far more limited regulation of practitioners and many pracitioners are self-taught by growing their own medicines and learning through experience and intuition. There is also a grass roots movement that herbs belong to the people and knowledge is power. I continue to learn so much from these folk who share so openly and willingly and who obviously "know what they're talking about" because they are treating cases with herbs every week if not every day. You can tell in a minute who is spouting stuff they have read in a book and who has actually used the herb on a person with a particular effect.
As regulation becomes tighter, people who love herbs appear to have two choices. They either spend the time and money to learn in an institution so they can put up their plaque and charge people for treating them, or they grow their own plants, make their own herbal products and only treat themselves and others close to them (with their permission). What we have completely lost in this country is the system of learning by apprenticeship. It is interesting how the US herbalists are starting to make use of this process again.
This is a long and rambling post and I'm not sure that I've said anything worth saying at all. I've posted it because the subject came up at the last Mercian Herb Group meeting. The comment was made that by regulating everything we would loose the expertise of those who have learned by doing and growing. It struck me then that if any regulations made it impossible for me to do what I do, I wouldn't stop doing it, I'd just go underground and become subversive, because knowledge, especially herbal knowledge, is power.
Re: Codex Alimentarius
April 21 2009, 10:42 AM
I understand your concerns that the whole Codex issue isn't being discussed more widely. I've been trying to understand several aspects of it myself with a great deal of difficulty, but there are several problems or issues as I perceive them.
One is that this whole Codex thing just sounds so much like an improbable conspiracy theory that I think many people struggle to trust the truth of it. I'm certainly sceptical about it because, for a long time, the only people who could tell me anything about it were also followers of David Icke and believed the world to be populated by reptilian superpowers. Maybe they're right... Maybe I'm hopelessly narrow minded.
But it has to be said that the idea that anyone, even an organisation as large as the WTO, could possibly control our access to foods and medicines as completely as what is feared by so many. Just think of the paperwork involved! And the public backlash that would develop as soon as people actually saw their beloved vitamins vanishing from the shelves. At the moment the vast majority of people have never heard of Codex, but I'm certain we'd begin to see ripples if ever anyone dared take the likes of Vogels or Potters off the shelves.
I don't know that I've understood what the effects of this would be correctly, I may be completely wrong, but that's just another problem. As Sarah says, every country would be affected differently and yet all the info I find, including the video further up this thread, seems to come from the US or Canada. I think we need more in the way of UK/EU specific info to tell us how we would be affected or what our government's position on this is.
Finally, I see the lines are becoming increasingly blurred between what I understand to be the goals of Codex and the latest round of legislation for herbal medicine in the UK. Is there a connection between the two? I had assumed one was a WTO thing and the other an EU thing although there is, inevitably, an overlap. As I understood it, new herbal medicine legislation would prevent the practise of herbal medicine without a recognised qualification whilst qualified herbalists would be required to obtain their remedies from licensed producers only. Combine this with Codex and you have qualified herbalists buying their herbal remedies from pharmaceutical companies. Am I right? Even if this is the case, the two issues that produce this eventuality are separate and need to be tackled differently.
Anyway, I also feel I'm rambling nonsensically now so to cap it off all I'll say is I want to know more. I want this issue to be discussed. I want to understand the bare bones of it with none of the scare mongering or embroidery I keep coming across. I'd love to see a video like the one posted earlier, but featuring someone in Britain talking about British or European issues and fitting Codex into the British legal system so that I can understand how powerful it is (or isn't) and how it might affect us.
I would also like to know how in the world Codex would plan to separate us from our plants. That's the truly inconceivable thing - there is no way that anyone can stop me blasting out the merits of the dandelion to anyone who will listen. And there is no way that anyone can stop one of those listeners from going out into their garden to pick and eat their dandelions as a result. As has been said so many times, herbal medicine belongs to the people and it's information/education based. It would be a pretty incredible law that could police both our access to shared knowledge and our access to some of the most abundant plants in the world.
I know I'm oversimplifying here, but really, even if the worst were to happen and we lost all access to modern herbal remedies as we currently enjoy them, it would only spur the development of a new age of folk medicine practised by locals and using local plants and suddenly the general understanding and appreciation of what grows around us would sky rocket. That doesn't sound so bad to me.
April 29 2009, 5:24 AM
You have got it right.The Codex plus the latest Directive on Traditional Medicines are attempts by the multi-national pharmaceutical industry to control the manufacture and distribution of herbal medicines.This route is being used because you cannot take out a patent on an individual herb.
The Directive is meant to achieve what the 1968 Mecicines Act didnot quite achieve,that is,the total destruction of independent manufacturers of herbal medicines.Many long established firms disappeared,such as Carter Brothers,Walpole,Heath&Heather et al.Potters,which prior to the Medicines Act had produced over one thousand licensed products was left a shadow of its former self.The full story can be found in "Green Pharmacy" by Barbara Griggs.Lest we forget the 1968 Act was a continuation of the 1941 Pharmacy and Medicines Act which is detailed in Mrs.Leyel"s "The Truth About Herbs."
Carter Brothers was an old Yorkshire firm with an inventory of products equal to that of Potter's.
Even now Potter's products continue to disappear.For example Antiglan and Protat have been discontinued on instructions from the MCA because [supposedly]they interfere with liver disease medication.Presumably this is because both medicines contained kava kava.Antibron has also gone.The formula included a small amount of lobelia.In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries British and indeed American herbalists were constantly persecuted for prescribing lobelia.But that is a story for another time.
May 2 2009, 4:18 AM
Hi again.You wanted to see articles re.the EU Directive.If you look at the website of www.viridian-nutrition.com go to the News section and scrool down you will find informative articles on both the traditional Medicines Directive and the status of vitamins and supplements which may be helpful.Note the contrast between the Directive and the very sensible approach in Australia and New Zealand.
The whole subject of Britain being brought into line with Europe is very questionable.Italy has legislation to protect manufactureers of herbal medicines and the retail sale of such medicines.In France you can buy over the counter or by mail order herbal medicines for diabetes.In Britain this has been illegal since the 1941 Pharmacy and Medicines Act.Perhaps Europe needs to get in line with Britain?
Neals Yard Remedies in the news section of their website also have relevant articles and calso cover the vitamins/supplements situation in Ireland.
Re: Codex Alimentarius
May 4 2009, 8:41 PM
I personally believe that this will be implemented with dire consequences.
Re: Codex Alimentarius
May 5 2009, 10:29 AM
So what are you planning to do about it?
May 5 2009, 2:58 PM
what a scary video -it re-enforces my belief that the government is not protecting its people properly .
I am a herbalist who practises as a Witch and I will continue to work with whichever herbs I choose to what ever the laws.I have started working with foxglove -I harvested and prepared last yrs beautiful flowers and leaves, and I would like to incorperate this amazing herb into my practise, I haven't used it with any patients as yet but I intent to.
I know the laws on this and believe them to be outrageous as are the abortive laws -there is a health clinic in switzerland where Rina Nissim did her research into it in the 80's her text still remains the most concise inprint today -this is ridiculous we are losing the knowledgeand people shy away because it is an emotive issue.
I am happy to disscuss any knowledge I possess with anyone who cares to ask.
Re: Codex Alimentarius
May 5 2009, 7:49 PM
Thanks for your responses. It sounds like a conspiracy theory to many, surreal I know! So were many other things before they came into force. You wouldn't advertise the effect of Codex being adopted (it will be IMHO) would you? How, will it be stopped when it comes into force? (It can't be.) Horse bolting, stable door and all that. It's opening up a big can of worms really. If you're serious about talking about this, then feel free
Above is an interesting link -yesterday after watching the video link on codex I wrote to my MP and also telephone the Codex hotline to find out the truth -I was informed that Codex has nothing to do with medicines and will not be having an impact on herbs.
It seems really hard to get correct information??? I do not really understand what is going on and what new rules are going to be implemented on our herbs.
Re: Codex Alimentarius
May 6 2009, 9:32 AM
I think it's been interesting to see on this thread how many people are interested in or know about Codex, what people think about it and how people are approaching it. It's also interesting to broach Sarah's question "What are you going to do about it?".
For me, if there is legislation available to read (British/European version), I'd like to read it for myself - first hand, spin free. Then, if there are people to inform, I will inform them. This is something I've tried to do already in a small way but, when everything I say is followed by "...but don't quote me on that", it means I can hardly be effective so I really need to be properly informed first.
Once I've educated myself I will join a campaign if there is one and sign a petition likewise. I will also try to recruit others to the cause. I don't think there is any other way to inform the general public and make public feeling heard.
I won't start the campaigns or petitions I've mentioned because I can't be an authority on the matter and would undermine the cause. Someone who understands these things professionally needs to come forward to lead this. Maybe what we need to do is find that person?
What I don't want to do is be part of a talking shop, to complain about the effects of such legislation without thinking about how to deal with it. It's frustrating and unproductive to merely share opinions rather than suggest actions or provide education. Maybe this thread should be about actually doing something before it comes into force.
Re: Codex Alimentarius
May 7 2009, 8:25 PM
It worries me that it's too late now, what can we do?????
Re: Codex Alimentarius
May 7 2009, 10:24 PM
With respect, you have two choices. You can run around wringing your hands crying "Woe is me, I am undone. Us poor people have been shafted once again by the unseen hands of those in ultimate power in our country. There's nothing I can do about anything." or you can find out for yourself what the true situation is by reading source material as Katrina suggests and/or talking to those who have some influence in this area (which means actually researching who these people are and contacting them) and in the meantime learning as much as you can about all aspects of herbs, growing as many herbs as you can and sharing your knowledge and experience with anyone who stops near you long enough to listen.
If there is one thing herbs has taught me over the years it is wonder, patience and personal responsibility and accountability. (Yes, I know that's 4 things really!) There have been many times when life has thrown stuff at me and I wanted to sit around and weep and howl at the injustice in the world and my lack of power, but it actually doesn't help. It's called change and is the only certainty we shall ever have in this life. It's better to embrace it and work with it in very small steps rather than have it throw you up in the air and dash you into the sea while you still have your head stuck firmly in the sand. As the psychologist, Robert Neimeyer says, "It's not time that heals, but what you do with that time."
Re: Codex Alimentarius
May 8 2009, 8:46 AM
From a personal view, I don't see the point in getting into a lather as far as American regulations go, its what's happening in the UK and the EU that fundamentally matters. The cynic in me, keeps hoping I guess, that the governments aren't so stupid as to make it impossible for herbal remedies to be bought and used by people. It makes financial sense to have some of the people treat minor ailments at home with herbal remedies as it puts less of a strain on our over stretched NHS
Just watching Robert Verherk's BBC5tv interview on the link that Karen provided above, he doesn't mention herbs or herbal supplements but he does mention vitamin supplements and he goes on to say that an alternative to vitamins is to have a high quality juicer, consuming local produced organic or biodynamic food. Basically to eat the healthiest possible diet and supplement it with specific forms of nutrients, that are lacking in the diet which to me means dandelions for potassium, nettles for iron etc. What he said opens the way to a healthy diet that isn't filled with chemicals but is filled with good wholesome nutritious food with lashing s of herbal goodness thrown in. But as he points out, not everyone in the world can afford to do that or have the means or resources. But if you have the means you should be doing it for yourself, supplementing the diet with home grown or wild herbs is a healthy solution.
There are big businesses that sell vitamins, but there are also big businesses that sell herb and vegetable seeds, and companies who grown large amounts of herbs for the herbal supplements market, do you think for one minute that they will allow a directive to take place that will mean that herbs will fizzle out and they go out of business? Look at what happened recently in Bangkok, the department of agriculture over there tried to give 13 herbs a hazardous plants status. there was a public outcry not just amongst the local population but worldwide and the DoA had to back track pretty damn quickly and common sense prevailed. http://www.network54.com/Forum/217936/thread/1234516259/last-1236354797/13+Herbs+Labelled+As+Hazardous+Plants just in case you missed that debate.
All this takes me back to my animal rights years, not that I don't still campaign for AR I hasten to add, but when I was in my late teens early 20's I was wringing my hands wondering what could be done, I'd joined Greenpeace, BUAV and WWF and several other organisations. I used to sit moaning about what could be done, and one day a dear friend said get out and do something, anything! Doing nothing but ask what can be done doesn't solve anything. Hitting the problem head on made for some very eye opening moments, both in terms of my own limits and other peoples. But my single handed campaign against a business in my then local community ended in them closing down. I tiny ripple in the ocean but I felt like I'd done more than nothing.
To Sue - You gave the following response to Linda's answer [Thanks for you reply. Sorry to say but I don't think covering your ears and hoping this will go away will help. Not being rude but this will happen and then where are herbal remedies? ]
My response - First a question, how do you know that it WILL happen? Where's your faith in the fact that people won't allow it? It's a rather negative view and one that smacks of having given up before even trying to make a difference.
My thoughts are that IF it does happen, herbal remedies will be right back where they should be, in the gardens of everyday people! If they can't buy them over the counter, they'll grow them themselves! NOBODY and I don't care who they are, will ever stop me growing and using herbs, what next a ban on growing fresh fruit and vegetables? Programmes like Grow Your Own Drugs may have had its flaws (but thats another debate entrely), but it did wonderful things as far as showing that you don't need mass produced herbal supplements to cure minor ills. Dandelion, plantain, nettle, chamomile, lavender and a wealth of naturally occurring herbs and a little knowledge and a few everyday kitchen tools are all it takes, that and a little effort. Something most people don't seem to want to put in these days.
However, there has been a remarkable response to the programme, people I know that weren't very 'herby' are now picking my brain asking for tips and raiding my garden for cuttings and spare plants. Books like Hedgerow Medicine and Grow Your Own Pharmacy by Linda Gray are also becoming popular, there is an increase in people wanting hands on knowledge of how to make their own remedies and campaigns to bring this information back where it belongs in the homes and kitchens of the public. The Mercian Herb Group which I co-founded with Sarah Head are about to embark on a project to document remedies used by the members, and remedies they remember parents, grandparents etc using, we'll then put that information into a booklet.
I don't wish to seem rude, but you're asking what everyone else is doing and what they think, but you're being very non-committal yourself, beyond telling us that it causes you concern, that you believe codex will be implemented with dire consequences, and that its maybe too late, you're not saying very much on the issue, which is funny, given that you said [Can't believe that more people haven't replied on a thread that will (IMHO) make such an impact on the way herbs are used?]
It seems from your last response that you don't know what to do and are waiting for someone else to do something so you can follow? My Grandad would say that someone like that isn't really that bothered about the situation as they're waiting for someone else to do something, instead of ensuring something happens by doing it themselves. But you started this thread so at least you're doing something As you seem to be the only one contributing that really feels this issue is going to mean the end of the use of herbs by the masses, maybe you could tell us why you think this?
Something that concerned people can do is join the Alliance For Natural Health http://www.anhcampaign.org/ polls can be taken part in, petitions can be signed and information on things like Codex can be found with a UK slant, they can stay informed and pass that information on to others. I've just downloaded AFNH's flyer to take to our next MHG meeting to talk to people about the issue. Incidentally they also have information on their site re the recent Swine Flu 'Pandemic', comparing it with the Bird Flu scare.
This message has been edited by DebsCook from IP address 126.96.36.199 on May 8, 2009 9:41 AM
Re: Codex Alimentarius
May 8 2009, 9:07 AM
Thank you so much for your observations-- I found it personally very helpful. Whilst it is easy to become despondent about the the herbal situation, I can only echo what you say about just getting on and using and sharing your knowledge about herbs.
Those were my thoughts when I made my inital response about putting my hands over my ears and going la la. There is a time for protesting and a time for doing. There will always be some people who are more able and better suited to one or the other of these tasks but we must all be able to rise to the challenge when needed.
I agree that it can be hard to find out the correct facts and that is frustrating and by asking a simple question as Sue did originally has at least involved other members sharing their knowledge on the subject. However I would have found it helpful Sue if you had been able to have expanded more on your postings.
It is tempting to think that on our own we can do nothing,,but the phrase, "all it takes for evil to flourish, is for a good man to do nothing "would seem to be apposite.
Alliance for Natural Health
May 8 2009, 10:38 AM
Thanks for the link you posted. I'm just loading the last clip now and have appreciated watching the other two. It's the first source of info I've seen on Codex from a UK perspective.
I've had a look at the Alliance for Natural Health which has a mission statement that seems to be the answer all our troubles. I don't know much about it though and, although I've heard of it before, I don't come across it very often.
Does anyone have any knowledge/experience of the alliance/Dr. Verkerk? How significant is the national or international presence? What following/credibility does it have etc?
I'm sorry, it's cynical of me to ask, but I'm just a bit of a stickler for wanting the whole picture before diving in and I trust personal recommendations far above 'About Us' pages.
May 8 2009, 7:24 PM
I have googled Dr.Verkerk and found this number on a press release
Tel: 01342 313 926 / 07980 934 984 which I rang and spoke to a lady who explained that the dr. is a medical scientist who has gone to the E.U. court and had several successes in stopping certain directives -
I have written to the email on the ANH site asking them about the impact on herbs so as soon as I am answered I shall post the response.
Not much response to this Codex thread. Do you really understand the implications of this?
Re: Codex Alimentarius
June 22 2009, 5:05 PM
Yes , this subject has gone quiet over the last few weeks. I have been reading through previous postings and what occurs to me is that there have been a number of in depth replies but your own postings have been very brief and although the links that you have directed people to are informative, I would echo what Sarah said to you.
What are you gong to do about it ?
Obviously opening this debate to a wider audiance is a very important move. However, personally ,despite realising that you are passionate about this threat, I feel that your rather strident demands of the group of " so what are you going to do about it " might actually be allienating those who should all want to work together.
Re: Codex Alimentarius
June 23 2009, 9:23 PM
Thanks for your reply. Can I just clarify that I am not, 'Asking people what they are going to about this.' Codex will be implemented, it won't be on the front page of the news, until it's too late unfortunately. In their shoes, would you really advertise the fact?
Having re-read the replies, yes I have contacted the government actually and Codex direct (plus others,) their response is pretty much, 'ummmm, don't know, not sure about this one.' Sorry, but if it was a load of rubbish, wouldn't they say so?
It may sound a pretty surreal situation to many, 'my god they can't do that etc.' Yeah, but they can.
I have posted a few links, one to an Ian Crane video (twice) it's never appeared on here? Sorry, but whenever I mention Codex I get the same response, not just on here I might add.
Can I ask a question, has anyone actually looked into this seriously.
Whatabout HRN numbers? Check it out and see. Here's one:
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