The British Herbal Medicine Association (BHMA) was founded in 1964 to advance the science and practice of herbal medicine in the United Kingdom and to ensure its continued statutory recognition at a time when all medicines were becoming subject to greater regulatory control. It is worth noting that the BHMA was established on the principle that herbal remedies are medicines under UK law, and should be produced to medicine requirements for quality, safety and efficacy, rather than to lesser requirements for “dietary supplements” or healthfoods.

Following the Medicines Act 1968 the legislative requirements for herbal medicines increased substantially. During the 1980s, as part of the EC Review of Medicines, all UK medicine manufacturers were required to complete a thorough technical appraisal of their products and to provide evidence on quality, safety and efficacy to the Medicines Control Agency on behalf of the Department of Health. Around 600 herbal products emerged from this rigorous review with full medicine product licences and with their claims for efficacy accepted by the government. (They can be identified on the product pack by a “PL” number). (more…)