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Thursday 18th July 2019

Dr Hilary Jones discusses why we should be taking herbal remedies seriously

17th June 2011

Since 1st May 2011, herbal medicines sold in the UK now need to be regulated by the government's medicine watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) under the new Traditional Herbal Registration Scheme (THR) meaning all herbal medicines are now independently assessed by MHRA for both safety and quality, plus all the packaging materials are approved to protect patient safety.

More than a third (39%) of Brits have tried herbal medicine to treat a health problem, however 28% admit that the main reason they would avoid herbal medicine is because they are concerned about their quality and safety. The new regulation will mean herbal medicines can be taken seriously by consumers, doctors, nurses and pharmacists because they will contain high quality ingredients, have a good safety profile and also clear and concise information about their suitability for you to treat certain minor health conditions.

NHS figures reveal that prescriptions for anti-depressants have risen by 43% in the past four years, yet new research reveals that 98% of GPs have experienced patients' reluctance to take prescribed anti-depressants. Whilst there are clearly circumstances where anti-depressants need to be prescribed for clinically depressed patients, many people suffering from less serious symptoms may consider taking St John's Wort, for example, in order to treat their low mood. Over a quarter (28%) of GPs admit they are now more likely to recommend St John's Wort alongside lifestyle changes and talking therapies, before prescribing anti-depressants, now that herbal medicine is regulated and there are also many other minor ailments which could be treated by herbal medicines such as the common cold, mild anxiety, upset stomach and migraine headaches.

TV GP, Dr Hilary Jones, is fronting www.takingherbalmedicinesseriously.co.uk, which is a website that explains the facts people need to know about the new traditional herbal medicine registration scheme, including the key herbs that have been registered and what conditions they can help treat, how to identify a registered products and frequently asked questions about the regulation.

Dr Hilary Jones says, "The new THR directive will allow consumers to buy herbal medicines safe in the knowledge that they are buying a high quality product with independently approved, accurate and reliable information about what the medicine is intended to treat eg low mood, and whether it is suitable for them to take."


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