The development of herbalism and medicinal plants

The Senate makes public its conclusions concerning the development of medicinal plants and herbalism in France

At the initiative of the RDSE group, the Senate makes public the conclusions of the work concerning the "information mission on the development of herbalism and medicinal plants, sectors and professions of the future". In an effort to rehabilitate the noble profession of herbalist, the report feeds 39 proposals. These aim to support the development of a promising sector in France, the herbalist professions. Hundreds of specialists in various fields were interviewed. Science seems to be in favor of a positive revival. And this, despite a regulatory framework that promises to be out of the box and already complex ...

herbalism, France, medicinal plants

France wishes to rehabilitate a herbalist industry

La mission discussed the advisability of a renaissance of herbalist professions and recognized and supervised training. On the one hand, this development would amount to recognizing a reality. Indeed, in response to consumer expectations, France is entitled to have serious information on the use of medicinal plants. Today medicinal plants are omnipresent on the internet but not channeled into the French market ...

herbalism, France, medicinal plants
On Thursday 24 May 2018, the information mission on the development of herbalism and medicinal plants, sectors and professions of the future organized its first hearing.

Herbalism between tradition and renewal

Medicinal plants and herbalism - which refers to their trade - refer to popular care traditions, based on ancestral uses. We spoke in the Middle Ages
"simple" as opposed to more complex and expensive remedies. Herbalists have always existed and benefited from a status in France from 1803 to 1941.

The practices related to the herbalism claim of the transmission of a living inheritance. Both cultural and natural, just as much as they are renewed by research and
innovation… The rediscovery of local traditions can fuel scientific advances in increasingly varied fields.

The mission proposes to carry out, with other countries, a process for the registration of knowledge and know-how related to the traditional culture and use of medicinal plants on the list of intangible cultural heritage of Unesco . And, to support training in ethnomedicine and ethnopharmacology etc.

herbalism, France, medicinal plants
The mission wants to create botanical gardens in schools. Here the project for a primary school in Reims.

Medicinal plants, a sector with high potential

This dynamism reflects the aspirations of part of the population. The outlets are promising and new emerging markets are emerging. The natural health and beauty market in France represents more than 3 billion euros

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herbalism, France, medicinal plants
70% of our pharmacopoeia comes from the plant world.

The PPAM sector represents an opportunity for sustainable socio-economic development of the territories. In particular for the overseas departments which have a long forgotten vegetable wealth… It shows that the preservation and enhancement of biodiversity can be a lever for local development.

“We are going to move in France, and we want to move the lines in Europe and globally. We are in a global emergency, and it is time to change the order of things, the World Health Organization must also be called into question and free itself from the influence of lobbies. »Joël Labbé

Health by plants

Integrating medicinal plants in their rightful place within the health system is now possible. Thanks to their solid training, pharmacists have everything in hand to advise on plants. The deployment of university degrees in phyto-aromatherapy in the faculties of pharmacy (from 1 to 13 since 2000) also reflects a growing interest from pharmacists. But this type of diploma is also of interest to professionals or health auxiliaries, these training courses are also open to them.

"France is not only the Hexagon, we have an extraordinary wealth in the Overseas with preserved know-how: 80% of the French biodiversity is there. Rehabilitating herbalist professions would contribute to economic development and employment, to the enhancement of their culture, but especially to the preservation of the environment and the repair of the damage caused by the state scandal of Chlordecone. Joël Labbé

Today there is not one but professions of herbalists. In addition, alongside pharmacists, counter herbalists in specialized shops or peasant herbalists, producer-gatherers, custodians of traditional know-how, ensure the direct sale of their simple or processed plants, but are awaiting recognition of their knowledge… The mission discussed the advisability of a renaissance of herbalist professions and recognized and supervised training.

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herbalism, France, medicinal plants
The herbalists of the Bauges chain in Savoie, France. They grow and sell organic aromatic and medicinal plants. Lavender has antiseptic, bactericidal, disinfecting, soothing, antispasmodic and carminative properties.

On this sensitive topic, the mission proposed the continuation of the consultation with all the actors to consider the conditions of a possible recognition of professions of herbalists. To do so, we will have to adapt training and legislative changes corresponding to the trades.

A complex regulatory framework: the sale of medicinal plants

The same medicinal plant can raise, for its marketing, different categories of products to which correspond diverse statutes, standards and strict controls:

  • drug status (traditional herbal medicine, compounding, 546 medicinal plants lists A and B of the pharmacopoeia)
  • the status of foodstuffs (including herbal dietary supplements intended to supplement the normal diet by acting with a physiological effect)
  • status of cosmetic product or other status (biocide, medical device ...).

This segmented framework, while plants are by nature multi-use, represents a real "headache" for small producers ...

herbalism, France, medicinal plants
Since the abolition of the profession of herbalist in 1941, the sale of medicinal plants for therapeutic purposes is the sole responsibility of pharmacists within the framework of the pharmaceutical monopoly. France is one of the countries with the most pharmacies in Europe ...

The mission proposes to review the list of 148 medicinal plants "Released" pharmaceutical monopoly. This is to include plants from overseas or plants that do not present a risk of use. In short, by studying the possibility of supplementing it with their recognized and validated traditional uses concerning "small daily ills".

The mission also wants the establishment, at European level, of a framework for the graduated assessment of health claims concerning the plants used. As food or food supplements, and all based on the recognition of their traditional use. But by integrating this time, advances in scientific knowledge. This would make it possible to get out of a deadlock that limits consumer information and innovation in the sector ...

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Tags : EuropeFranceMedicalmedicinal plants

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