As the UK gears up to the excitement of the Jubilee Celebrations I’ve enjoyed the positive and humorous news stories linked to royalty, especially Brian Hoay’s article in the Daily Mail ‘Why does the queen never sneeze in public ?’ We learnt such gems as Her Majesty wears only 100 per cent natural fibres, 100 per cent cotton and certainly no polyester. She is partial to Earl Grey tea, and always carries a moist lavender scented cloth in case of extreme heat. Within her luggage when she travels (which can weigh up to four tons) she carries a special leather case without which she won’t travel anywhere. It contains 60 vials of homeopathic remedies, including an antidote for hay fever.
Under the heading ‘One’s Own Corgi Cures’ Brian writes: “She is firm believer of alternative remedies, preferring them to conventional medicine. She has even been known to treat one of her corgis homoeopathically after the animal cut its foot.” Of course we have long known of Prince Charles’ penchant for Homeopathy and herbal remedies but I wonder if the Royal Family are aware that many of the remedies we take for granted are under serious threat.
New European rules came into force last year. It’s an EU law that aims to protect consumers from possible damaging side –effects of over the counter herbal remedies, meaning that only long-established and quality-controlled medicines can be sold.
Before April 2011 the industry was covered by the 1968 Medicines Act, drawn up when only a handful of herbal remedies were available and the number of herbal practitioners was very small.
Consumers for Health Choice, a petition group say: “The EU has presented the directive as a measure of safety – but it’s more to do with creating a level playing field for trade across the EU.” Of course the public needs to be protected, but do our supplements really have to be demonised? In Britain, our vitamin and mineral supplements are sold under Food Law, which means they have to be as safe as a loaf of bread. There’s never been a death from consumption of vitamins in Britain – but, as we all know, there are thousands of deaths each year from prescribed pharmaceutical drugs.
Surveys show that around a quarter of all adults in the UK have used a herbal medicine in the past two years, mostly bought over the counter in health food shops and pharmacies, but section 10 of this Act concerns licensing exemptions for Pharmacists, and is now threatening their freedom to supply. The vast majority of the 3,500 remedies available from Homoeopathic pharmacies are unlicensed, and while a pharmacy can supply an unlicensed remedy to you directly, you must be physically present in the pharmacy. For the last 44 years and beyond, the specialist pharmacies have provided homoeopathic medicines, all over the UK by phone or online sales but without action this will change. Homeopathic Pharmacies such as Ainsworths are asking people to write to their MP and there is a global petition at www.avaaz.org
I’m looking forward to standing in the queue behind Her Majesty at the Homeopathic Pharmacy !