Herbal medicine, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are under serious threat in the UK. Trade bodies believe these therapies could even cease to exist in Britain within a few years.
They fear that practitioners could stop practising, and people may not be able to get hold of some of the herbal pills, capsules, tinctures and ointments that they use every day.
These threats have come about because the UK government is planning a sudden u-turn on its plans to regulate herbal and traditional medicine. Instead, it is considering a 'lighter touch' licensing system that will give no special legal rights to practitioners.
As a result, medical herbalists will not have access to some regulated herbal medicines, and will instead be allowed to work only with simple tinctures, extracts and dried herbs. Doctors will also not be allowed to refer patients to them.
The UK's Department of Health has given a deadline of November 2nd for any comments to its consultative paper.
The Association of Master Herbalists, one of the bodies affected by the proposed change, is urging everyone in the UK to contact their local MP, who should pass on their concerns to Ann Keen, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health.
People can also express their concerns directly by completing the questionnaire that will feed back into the consultation document. The questionnaire can be found on the DoH website: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Liveconsultations/DH_103567
(Source: Association of Master Herbalists).