The EHTPA was founded in 1993 when it became clear that with the development of the European Union, the legislative framework under which herbal medicine was practised in the UK and Europe was likely to undergo radical change. The main professional herbal practitioner associations in the UK affiliated with Irish and Danish herbal associations to form the European Herbal & Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association (EHTPA).

In late 1994, the basis of herbal practice in the UK was threatened by the sudden announcement by the Medicines Control Agency (now the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency – MHRA) that existing European medicines legislation had swept away all those statutes in the Medicines Act 1968 that gave British herbal practitioners their legal right to obtain herbal medicines. The EHTPA found itself thrown headlong into the campaign to rescue the right of UK practitioners to obtain herbal medicines without the need for full medicines licences. This highly successful campaign did much to create firm bonds between its member organisations.

In 1990, the EHTPA worked with Irish colleagues to help get the ban on the use of St John’s wort and other herbs overturned so that practitioners could continue using their use.