Few people can have failed to be aware of the impending, and now implemented, ban of the sale of hundreds of herbs used by herbalists, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners and Ayurvedic practitioners, amongst many others.
A workaround theoretically allows consumers to access herbal medicines via their practitioners even though they cannot buy them in the shops. However, talking to my friend and Chinese Medicine practitioner Barbara Hezelgrave yesterday, I discovered that although she can still buy herbs from her suppliers, she can only buy them as individual powdered herbs – not in any of the patent combinations that she would normally use, nor encapuslated. Which means that either she has to make up the combinations and encapsulate them herself or she has to give them to her patients to take as individual powders. Given that some of the remedies are quite complex and that many herbs do not taste very nice, this could be dangerous if incorrect proportions are used, while ‘patient compliance’ is likely to be little above zero!
Although many suppliers are already being hit hard and some are inevitably going to go out of business, the Alliance for Natural Health is fighting on and are nearly ready to go to court to try to overturn the ban. If you wish to support the cause with a donation to their legal fund you can donate from their home page. You can also sign the AVAAZ petition here – they are aiming for a million signatures and are already at nearly 700,000…
Another concern – although one for which we have all missed the chance to put in our oar – is the possible threat to allotments flagged up in last Sunday’s IOS:
The century-old right of people to demand an allotment from their council may be abolished by the Government under plans to scale back red tape, it emerged yesterday.
Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, is examining plans to free local authorities from a 103-year-old obligation to provide plots of public land for cultivation by gardeners. The proposals could see local authorities, many of them strapped for cash under government-imposed cuts, selling off allotment land for social housing or even for profit to major companies.
The consultation ended on 25th April so there is not much we can do just now – but I would suggest that anyone who believes that allotments are a ‘good thing’ should keep a weather eye open for any development and be ready to shout, blog, petition and generally make a nuisance of themselves if need be.
Although an enthusiastic supporter of the existence of allotments, I do not actually have one – probably just as well as, to my shame, all that I have so far managed to usefully (well, edibly) to grow in our rather large garden is an elderly rosemary bush, a very over-keen bay tree, a pot of mint, some determined-not-to-be-killed-even-by-last-winter’s- snows nasturciums and a healthy crop of much loathed, though very nutritious dandelions – and, tucked down in the darkest, dankest corner, some flourishing wild garlic. However, this is about to change….
I have now turned one third of my rather small herbaceous patch over to two rows of chard (muti-coloured stems) and two rows of perpetual spinach. Although whether, given the current London drought, they will ever actually break the surface, is another matter. I will report…
Meanwhile I am very excited to note that the English asparagus season has started. Although I know that Peru grows some of the finest asparagus in the world, I have admit to being quite jingo-istic (although I prefer to think of it as seasonal) about asparagus and refuse to eat it except when it is in season and local – when we pig out happily for about a month.
I would be happy to share this enthusiasm with freefromfoodsmatter recipe followers except that I think the flavour of asparagus is so delicious that I am really reluctant to do anything with it apart from steam it and eat it – occasionally drizzled with good olive oil or a little melted goat’s butter but more often than not, totally naked.
Then, next week, I plan to unpack my Vitamix machine to make biophoton-heavy smoothies that, I am told by John Scott, are going to boost my resistance to electromagnetic radiation even more than hydrogen peroxide….. Watch this space.