Dee's Blog


Campaign for Statutory Regulation for Herbal Practitioners

I really hope that you will consider writing to your MP about the urgent need for statutory regulation for herbal practitioners. This is vital for the continuation of herbal medicine as a viable and safe alternative to conventional medicine. The government has dragged its heels over this for too long and now is the time to act. Before it's too late.

You can go here: to find out more about the campaign and download a letter to send to your MP.

Please help!

My grateful thanks,


In February 2011, the Secretary of State for Health announced that UK herbalists were to be statutorily regulated. He pledged that, subject to the usual procedures, the Department of Health (DH) would have this ready by 2012.

Statutory Regulation is urgently needed to protect the public from untrained herbalists and also to allow trained herbalists to continue to practice within the constraints of EU Directives.

Regulation will be via the Health and Care Professions Council which regulates dentists, dieticians and physiotherapists.

Two years later the Department of Health has failed to publish the draft legislation and there is no sign of progress. The fear is that with many other priorities the DofH will let the issue drop.

Failure to implement statutory regulation for herbal medicine practitioners is disastrous -

  • Practitioners have lost the right to prescribe many commonly used herbal medicines which means that patients are not able to get the medicines they need.
  • The public has lost access to a wide range of herbal medicines available from practitioners for more than 40 years which means that many alternative options for medical treatment are being closed off.
  • Without SR the public is at risk as only statutory regulation can ensure that the public is protected from bogus practitioners and substandard herbal remedies.
  • Herbal medicine offers a cost effective alternative for many common conditions which can make an important contribution to public health as the NHS budget is subject to increasing pressure.
  • in short, statutory regulation is clearly in the public interest!

Please write or contact your MP as soon as possible and say that “the only arrangement that meets my needs is for the Coalition Government to honour its promise and complete the statutory regulation of herbalists.”

When writing to your MP, please also add a personal reason for supporting statutory regulation (e.g. “I use herbal medicine” or “I find herbal medicine effective to treat many ailments”). In this way you will personalise your reply ensuring it has maximum impact.

If you care about herbal medicine, please do not miss the opportunity to support this ancient and priceless healing system.

Today herbal medicine remains very popular. A survey commissioned by the government medicines regulator showed more than a quarter of the population had bought herbal medicines over-the-counter in the previous two years and that one in twenty had consulted a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine whilst around one in twelve had consulted a practitioner of Western herbal medicine.

The decision to introduce statutory regulation for the herbal profession was taken after two public consultations that demonstrated massive public support for this measure. In addition, statutory regulation was endorsed by two DH Committees under independent chairmanship.

In 2011, the Secretary of State declared that the decision to implement the statutory regulation of herbal practitioners marked ‘a significant milestone’.

Please don’t delay - write in support of statutory regulation and make the Government honour its promise…

Thank you very much for doing this…

About Herbal medicine

Did you know that herbal medicine is one of the most ancient forms of medicine, used the world over?

Today scientific research is backing the traditional use of remedies that have been used for thousands of years. For example, research now indicates that St John’s wort is effective for mild and moderate depression, ginger is good for nausea and valerian and hops can help you sleep. Although, of course, natural doesn’t guarantee safe, most herbal remedies have a gentle action on the body/mind and in the hands of a skilled herbal practitioner herbs can do much to restore a weakened or overburdened system.

In 2008 the World Health Organisation (WHO) agreed that WHO and its Member States should cooperate to promote the use of traditional medicine for healthcare. The collaboration aims to:

  • Support and integrate traditional medicine into national health systems in combination with national policy and regulation for products, practices and providers to ensure safety and quality;
  • Ensure the use of safe, effective and quality products and practices, based on available evidence;
  • Acknowledge traditional medicine as part of primary health care, to increase access to care and preserve knowledge and resources; and ensure patient safety by upgrading the skills and knowledge of traditional medicine providers.
  • Gaining statutory regulation will ensure these aims are met in the UK!

This leaflet is from The European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association (EHTPA) - contact Website:



Dee Atkinson MNIMH

Dee is one of the UK's top herbalists and owns and runs D. Atkinson Herbalist in Edinburgh - a herbal dispensary and shop which provide a wide range of herbal medicines, vitamins, supplements, herbal skincare as well as a herbal dispensary. Next door is Napiers Clinic.

Dee qualified as a Medical Herbalist in 1988 and took over Napiers the Herbalists in 1990, building it up into one of the UKs most respected and trusted Complementary Medicine Clinics.

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