Madeira Drive (above the aquarium)
Brighton & Hove, England

Here today gone tomorrow? Patrick Howson

Traditional herbal medicines are one of the most mainstream Western ?complementary? medicines. From common over-the-counter products such as garlic or ginseng, to more exotic Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, the use of traditional herbal medicine has undergone a rapid expansion in recent years, and Brighton is certainly party to this love affair with all things herbal!
There are, however, certain problems associated with herbal medicines. First, many Westerner?s cannot, or do not, take medicines in their traditional plant forms. They prefer instead to ?pop a pill?, a preference reflected in large increases in sales of such products in pill or capsule form. Second, a new EU directive will come into force at the end of October, requiring that if continued sale of the product is to be allowed, a dossier must be submitted for each traditional herbal product currently on the market. Additionally, a product will need to show it has been in use for 30 years, at least 15 years of which is in the EU. Products that do not comply with this directive will have to be withdrawn or undergo more rigorous testing. This directive is aimed at improving quality of traditional herbal medicines (for instance there have been ?feverfew tablets? on sale that contain no feverfew), but is it the right move, and what might it mean for the future of herbal medicines in Western society? Join Patrick as he gives his opinion, and asks what you think and why
Patrick Howson obtained a degree in neuroscience from Manchester University and a doctorate at Bristol University. Patrick was then a Research Associate at Bristol University, before two years ago joining Phytopharm plc ? a semi-virtual pharmaceutical company engaged principally in the research and development of pharmaceutical and functional food products based on clinical data generated from medicinal plant extracts ? as a senior pharmacologist. Phytopharm is currently conducting R&D on novel pharmaceutical and functional food products in four disease areas: neurodegeneration, obesity and metabolic disease, dermatology and inflammation. The obesity and metabolic disease programmes are based around a single South African plant ? Hoodia gordonii ? which has a long tradition of use by the Xhomani San people as a food of last resort and has been shown to have appetite-suppressant qualities.

Added by daveph on April 6, 2005

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