Government acts to outlaw natural remedies – for the third time

Please share this story - thanks

By Guy Hatchard

Our health and food security is inextricably tied up with that of the plant kingdom. They form an army that can defeat all the scourges of modern life. However, it is under threat.

The ancient health system of India records 5,000 medicinal plants including the methods of their collection, use, and combination. Abbess Hildegard of Bingen listed multiple uses of herbs in the 12th century. These are just the tip of the iceberg, there are nearly 400,000 known species of plants.

Aside from food and medicine, throughout history they have been used to make furniture, cutlery and crockery, dwellings, transport, clothing, energy, and much more.

Yet in our modern life, many have forgotten the healing properties of plants and many of their other uses. Along with the families of animals, fish, and birds we have began to view them as something to exploit. Control of the world’s food supply is the ultimate financial prize.

Guy Hatchard, publisher of the Hatchard Report.
Guy Hatchard, publisher of the Hatchard Report.

For the hungry mega corporations, wresting control of our food supply from nature is a mouth-watering prospect. It appears to offer an assured source of income and profit stretching into the future. Concern for the consequences of commercial plant production and exploitation is notable by its absence.

Since the patenting of plants is outlawed by international patent law, pharmaceutical and biotech companies have sought to usurp the sovereignty of plants by registering patents over key components of their genetic structures or by slightly altering and thus maiming their structure using genetic manipulation, and then patenting the resulting GM types.

Simultaneously commercial interests are seeking to restrict the use of medicinal herbs by promoting draconian regulation. Andrew Little, the New Zealand Minister of Health, will be introducing legislation this year to control the availability of natural products. This will be the third attempt by the Labour Party to do so – two previous attempts were abandoned due to public opposition.

The International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (ICMRA), of which Medsafe is a member, has a register of hundreds of traditional herbs and plants whose use it wishes to restrict while simultaneously approving more than 3,000 synthetic or chemical copies. NZ plans to adopt ICMRA’s register.

New global regulation threatens alternative approaches to health just when science is verifying their effectiveness.

There are nine ways ICMRA members are affecting regulations around the world

1. Herbs, Natural Health Products, and Traditional Medicines are being assessed as pharmaceuticals with a plan to establish regulations mandating standardised dosages of extracted or synthesised ‘active’ ingredients.

2. Database information is being shared between regulators from different countries which restricts herbs using the ‘Rule of Doubt’—absence of modern scientific information is sufficient to implement a ban despite a long term history of traditional safe use.

3. Herbs, vitamins, and remedies are then classified as medicines only available to be used by registered doctors. This grants medical authorities back door “patents” on indigenous plants that will have a global reach within all member countries without having to invoke patent law. Already hundreds of Ayurvedic, Chinese, and other traditional herbs have been stolen in this way, despite the fact that international law forbids the patenting of plants.

4. A bogus argument has been advanced that plants grown in soil are not standardised like pharmaceutical drugs and may vary slightly in composition. The supposed remedy is the production of synthetic copies of herbs and active ingredients in laboratories. They are approved for food and drink using the discredited principle of ‘Substantial Equivalence’ which allows manufacturers to adulterate traditional remedies and produce cheap ineffective copies without labelling—a process that is accelerating rapidly.

5. Many thousands of additives, preservatives, colourings, fragrances, and processing agents are being approved. In many cases, these substances have been implicated as causal factors in cancer, ADHD, and many other chronic illnesses.

6. Enforcement of Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) testing and industrial manufacturing standards, sufficiently costly to bankrupt small and medium sized companies, which will gift competitive advantage to global companies.

7. Compulsory proprietary information collection on Natural Health Products and traditional herbs which will inevitably be shared with pharmaceutical companies through revolving doors and cosy relationships allowing the commercial appropriation of traditional knowledge.

8. The new standards being proposed are setting the maximum daily dose of nutritional supplements equal to the minimum proven therapeutic dose. For example studies show that the minimum effective dose of vitamin B12 is 50mcg which is being set as the maximum dose allowed in supplements. This means that retail B12 supplements will be ineffective in treating B12 deficiencies. Only a medical doctor will be permitted to prescribe the larger effective doses. Retail supplements produced by natural health companies with restricted doses will fall into disuse, in favour of synthetics sold by pharmaceutical and nutraceutical giants as prescribed medicines.

9. Regulatory-style laws hand control of natural medicine regulation to ICMRA rather than national governments. This subverts national sovereignty, undermines indigenous knowledge, and takes the right to choose natural medical treatment away from people everywhere.

New global regulation threatens alternative approaches to health just when science is verifying their effectiveness. Modern research has shown that development and treatment of disease is affected by a great number of individual factors including: digestion, diet, genetics, lifestyle, environment, climate, psychology, relationships, fatigue, stress, comorbidities, age, and gender.

Traditional medicine offers a range of individualised approaches to healthcare that take account of these wide range of factors. Traditional and functional medicine involve the care of a skilled and knowledgeable physician to prevent ill health and restore good health by strengthening physiological processes, digestion, and re-establishing balance.

In contrast modern medicine is in crisis:

  • Antibiotic and anti-fungal resistance threatens to render routine operations life-threatening by 2050.
  • Healthcare costs and chronic disease incidence are increasing so rapidly, that healthcare is being rationed in many countries.
  • More than 50% of the population now suffer from chronic diseases.
  • Adverse reactions to prescription drugs are now the third leading cause of death.
  • New diseases are emerging and old diseases re-emerging.
  • The list of planned restrictions is surprisingly wide

The shopping list of those planning to cut off our access to traditional remedies is long and largely incomprehensible until you realise there are commercial companies seeking to control their supply and secure the profits that can be made via monopoly control based on over regulation.

Even common kitchen herbs and spices have not escaped the notice of regulators taking inexplicable decisions to suit commercial interests.

More than 50% of the public have been using their own money to buy natural health products. This supports individual health and reduces the financial burden of public healthcare.

This advantage will be lost if the new restrictions are introduced, leaving the public without medical choice and governments in the hands of international pharmaceutical monopolies.

New scientific findings are coming to light that plant genetics plays a role in supporting health which cannot be provided by synthetic production. Genetic information in plants is the missing element in our understanding of nutrition. Therefore, the proposals to regulate, restrict, and exploit plants in every country pose a threat to the sources of our human genetic stability.

Please share this information widely with your friends. Contact your MP now to register your opposition to the proposed new regulations.

For more information my book: Discovering and Defending Your DNA Diet is available as a PDF from Smashwords.

Guy Hatchard PhD was a senior manager at Genetic ID a global food safety testing and certification company (now known as FoodChain ID).

Please share this story - thanks