Herbalists are predicting European medicine regulations will spell the end for their practice -- just as what is hailed as the first herbal medicine degree in Britain started at Middlesex University.
The same week the BSc in herbal medicine started, practitioners discovered that all such medicines will require licensing from January 1 1995. This is because of the British interpretation of how it must amend its regulations to fit with the European "single market" for medicines.
Herbal practitioners say that 80 per cent of herbal medicines will suddenly disappear from the market because licensing is so expensive. Michael McIntyre, who helped set up the degree and is former president of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, said: "The Government is paying for undergraduates to study herbal medicine and become responsible, highly qualified practitioners and on the other hand it is threatening to take away the very tools with which these people can practise."
The clash comes just as researchers in herbal medicine are trying to give it more scientific respectability, after scares because of the side effects of certain herbs.