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Show 23: Reflections on the Herbal Entrepreneur Summit and Folk Medicine — The Grow Network Community
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Show 23: Reflections on the Herbal Entrepreneur Summit and Folk Medicine


  • Marjory WildcraftMarjory Wildcraft ✭✭✭ Posts: 1,080 admin

    Oh I missed that Summit and meant to attend. Thanks for posting and helping me to catch up!

  • jolanta.wittibjolanta.wittib Posts: 493 admin

    @judsoncarroll4 I listened to your reflexions and I just have to say that the problems we are having in Austria are very much the same you are having in USA. Over regulation!!!

    Healers used to be very traditional in Austria. They are forbidden now. Well, they do exist, but not officially. But in confidential conversations you hear about them.

    you can study phototherapy only if you are a medical doctor.

    if you want to collect, dry, mix and sell herbs, you have to be a druggist.

    when I left my career and decided to follow my hobby - herbs, I was hoping I can help people directly. Now I know that without medical studies, I can only teach herbs. Of course, one has to have a certificate for that. So I did the course. I want to teach folk medicine - I have another certificate for that. If I want to take people on herbal tours, I have to have a certificate for a tour guide...

    and, of course, all the problems you mentioned, if one starts of thinking of producing anything with herbs. This I gave up. But I can use my own herbs as workshop materials and this is what I am doing.

    I am convinced that one can get real, wild herbs only from folk herbalists, because drug stores are stuffed with products from mass growing, huge farms, huge industries. Well... the laws protect the big ones, but clever, wise people, having common sense, know where the value lies.

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,469 admin

    I am very sorry to hear that, Jolanta. In a sense, we are in a war for our freedom to practice the old ways!

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,874 admin

    Good discussion, Judson. It seems that we are fortunate here in Canada, that we don't have quite the same restrictions on our practices as in some countries.

    We have a number of herbal or alternative medicine colleges in Canada that teach a wide variety of courses and offer diplomas and certificates. Some are very extensive programs. You can do quite a bit online but most have a practical component, especially for the designation of "Clinical" Herbalist. Most programs start with basic anatomy, physiology, pathology & etiology, nutrition, etc., before moving on to herbs. Most “Western Herbal” programs offer insights into other herbal practices. For example, Wild Rose College includes 2 courses each in Ayurveda and TCM as part of the Master Herbalist Diploma.

    We don't have "licensed" herbalists in Canada but several provinces have a registry so you can become a registered herbalist within those organizations. In BC, we have the Canadian Herbalist Association of BC. They have a list of requirements (xx number of hours of training some of which can be self study, xx number of hours of clinical practice, CPR & first aid training, xx number of annual continuing education credits and proof of insurance). As Judson mentioned in this talk, I have medical malpractice insurance that covers me for herbal medicine, homeopathy, relaxation massage, Reiki and ear candling, but many, many other alternative practices can be insured as well. You don’t need to belong to an organization to get insurance but need to provide proof of training. The benefits of belonging to an Association or Registry is that the public can be assured that you have complied with certain standards. The downsides are that it excludes many people who are very knowledgeable herbalists but don't have formal education to back it up. I have done walks and other teachings with First Nations elders but have yet to find a formal course in Indigenous North American medicine and healing practices. We are losing a lot of knowledge because of that.

    All that being said, we still have to be careful about how we word things. I can’t use the words “diagnose” or “prescribe”. I am not allowed to treat named illnesses, so if you came to me and said, “I have xxx condition or disease”, I would have to say that I can’t treat that. If you came to me and said, “I have xxx symptoms” then I could offer assistance.

    We have to register any products that we are selling with Health Canada. The National Health Products Directorate. You need to have your business/company name on the label. You need a name for your product without indicating medical uses. You can name body parts, so you could say skin salve but not healing salve. You can say bum butter but not diaper rash cream. Then you need to list all ingredients and an amount in the container (in grams or ml). And because we have two official languages in Canada, you are supposed to have everything in both languages (instead of both French & English, ingredients can be in French or English with Latin). And a phone number or e-mail that you can be contacted through. A lot of writing on a small container. For lip balms, I put a list of ingredients in the package (clear plastic envelope) instead of on the label. But I haven't heard of any products being denied acceptance. This is supposed to be done for health & beauty products as well as herbal remedies. We don't have to have a commercial kitchen (unless you are selling cooked food items) at this point but it may be coming. There are a couple of communities in my region that are setting up community kitchens to assist vendors who go to Farmers Markets with food products so that would be an option for medicine makers, too. No regulations on selling fresh or dried herbs as long as you don't make any medical claims (in writing). There are herbalists selling fresh & dried herbs and a wide assortment of products at almost every Farmers Market I have been to in BC.

    I think there needs to be a lot more buyer beware attitude from consumers. We shouldn't be trusting the government to certify products. After all, what does the government know about herbs that we don’t. We should be familiar with our community herbalists. Don't just buy a product at a market (even if it is "certified" by the government) without knowing the person that made it and what their personal practices and knowledge are.

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,469 admin

    You have to admit my Medicine show idea sounds a whole lot more fun!

  • jolanta.wittibjolanta.wittib Posts: 493 admin

    @torey it sounds like a paradise for herbalists. I can only wish we had similar regulations here.

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,874 admin

    You are in one of the original 13 colonies aren't you, Judson? This is very old English but the highlighted part and the note at the end are the important pieces.

    Herbalists Charter of Henry the VIII

    Annis Tircesimo Quarto and Tricesimo Quinto. Henry VIII Regis. Cap. VIII. An Act That Persons, Being No Common Surgeons, May Administer Outward Medicines

    Were in the Parliament holden at Westminster in the third Year of the King's most gracious reign, amongst other things, for the avoiding of Sorceries, Witchcrafts, and other Inconveniences, it was enacted, that no Person within the City of London, nor within Seven Miles of the same, should take upon him to exercise and occupy as Physician or Surgeon, except he be first examined, approved, and admitted by the Bishop of London and other, under and upon certain Pains and Penalties in the same Act mentioned: Sithence the making of which said Act, the Company and Fellowship of Surgeons of London, minding only their own Lucres, and nothing the Profit or ease of the Diseased or Patient, have sued, troubled, and vexed divers honest Persons, as well Men as Women, whom God hath endued with the Knowledge of the Nature, Kind and Operation of certain Herbs, Roots, and Waters, and the using and ministring of them to such as been pained with customable Diseases, as Women's Breast's being sore, a Pin and the Web in the Eye, Uncomes of Hands, Burnings, Scaldings, Sore Mouths, the Stone, Strangury, Saucelim, and Morphew, and such other like Diseases; and yet the said Persons have not taken anything for their Pains or Cunning, but have ministered the same to poor People only for Neighborhood and God's sake, and of Pity and Charity: And it is now well known that the Surgeons admitted will do no Cure to any Person but where they shall be rewarded with a greater Sum or Reward that the Cure extendeth unto; for in case they would minister their Cunning unto sore People unrewarded, there should not so many rot and perish to death for Lack or Help of Surgery as daily do; but the greatest part of Surgeons admitted been much more to be blamed than those Persons that they troubled, for although the most Part of the Persons of the said Craft of Surgeons have small Cunning yet they will take great sums of Money, and do little therefore, and by Reason thereof they do oftentimes impair and hurt their Patients, rather than do them good. In consideration whereof, and for the Ease, Comfort, Succour, Help, Relief, and Health of the King's poor Subjects, Inhabitants of this Realm, now pained or diseased: Be it ordained, established, and enacted by Authority of this present Parliament, That at all Time from henceforth it shall be lawful to every Person being the King's subject. having Knowledge and Experience of the Nature of Herbs, Roots, and Waters, or of the Operation of the same, by Speculation or Practice, within any part of the Realm of England, or within any other the King's Dominions, to practice, use, and minister in and to any outward Sore, Uncome Wound, Apostemations, outward Swelling or Disease, any Herb or Herbs, Ointments, Baths, Pultess, and Emplaisters, according to their Cunning, Experience, and Knowledge in any of the Diseases, Sores, and Maladies beforesaid, and all other like to the same, or Drinks for the Stone, Strangury, or Agues, without suit, vexation, trouble, penalty, or loss of their goods; the foresaid Statute in the foresaid Third Year of the King's most gracious Reign, or any other Act, Ordinance, or Statutes to the contrary heretofore made in anywise, notwithstanding.

    Note: Under the General Laws of the Colonies taken over by the U.S.A., these rights are still in force in the original thirteen states, and have never been repealed.

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,874 admin

    @jolanta.wittib I forgot to mention that I am allowed to teach and do plant walks without any additional certificates.

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,469 admin

    Well... I'm going to have to look into that! I had a friend who was a Constitutional Attorney, who would have loved to argue this before the courts, but he passed away a couple of years ago. I'll tuck this back until I find another.

  • jolanta.wittibjolanta.wittib Posts: 493 admin

    @torey I better move to Canada...

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 3,469 admin

    They could sure use a few more votes to keep things free... bad storm clouds on the horizon... here, too... very bad

  • marjstrattonmarjstratton Posts: 335 ✭✭✭

    In Washington State we have a wonderful naturopathic school called Bastyr. It also teaches herbalism and a variety of other disciplines including nutrition. Plus I know quite a number of herbalists that teach. Sound like we may be a bit less restrictive than some other places.

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