Spring has sprung

May 31, 2012

The corner from winter to spring has well and truly turned, and it’s no wonder we talk about having a “spring” in the step as we relish brighter, warmer days and longer evenings. With sunlight on our skin, moods lift and sales of vitamin D drop!

A shadow is cast on the natural health sector, however. As knowledge of the impending Directive on Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products (THMPD) is spreading fast, we are starting to hear customers asking “Will I still be able to buy Echinacea?” The answer is definitely “yes”, but from the 1st of May the number of brands available will be severely restricted, and sadly many herbal remedies in capsule, tablet or tincture form are very likely to disappear forever.

There is still a lot of uncertainty about the eventual outcome of THMPD, but it is sure to restrict freedom of choice. For many years the natural health industry has sought regulation to copperfasten consumer safety, but the EU has put such inappropriate and hugely expensive hurdles in place that very few manufacturers can afford to apply for the necessary licences and many safe products will vanish.

Maybe we will all start looking more closely at how herbs as foods can be used to promote good health, and re-learn traditional practices. A herb that has recently had a lot of publicity is cinnamon, excellent for helping to helping to stabilise blood sugar levels and see-sawing moods. And it even tastes great added to your porridge!

Brighter days send us to the mirror. If the reflection falls short of perfection, try nettle, the traditional Irish herb for spring and early summer – nourishing, blood-cleansing and a gentle detoxifier. Along with plenty of water and maybe some linseeds or psyllium husks to keep us “regular”, this is a brilliant herb to help perk up the complexion.

In health stores round the country you will find an array of skincare products free of SLS, parabens, petrochemicals and other synthetic chemicals which, in conventional products, can irritate skin and are easily absorbed through the skin into the body.

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