European Herbal & Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association
Representing Herbal & Traditional Medicine Practitioners Across Europe

Welcome to the EHTPA

The EHTPA was founded in 1993 when it became clear that with the development of the European Union, the legislative framework under which herbal medicine was practised in the UK and Europe was likely to undergo radical change. The main professional herbal practitioner associations in the UK affiliated with Irish and Danish herbal associations to form the European Herbal & Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association (EHTPA).

The EHTPA is an umbrella body which represents professional associations of herbal/traditional medicine practitioners offering variously western herbal medicine, Chinese herbal medicine, Ayurveda and traditional Tibetan medicine. The EHTPA is dedicated to the development of herbal/traditional medicine, preserving and enhancing the legal basis of practice across EU Members States and promoting best practice throughout the traditions.

Click here for detailed information about our aims and objectives.

Matrix report

The Matrix report, produced in 2012, but only publically released late in 2014 , was commissioned on behalf of the European Pharmaceutical Committee. The study investigates the availability of medicinal products for human use in the EU and EEA, focussing on the authorisation procedures for medicinal products including herbals see for instance page 23 and 2011.
Page 23 says...

"consulted industry stakeholders pointed out that the process of authorising products can take a long time (up to five years) and the approach to authorising such products can differ substantially between Member States. This makes it difficult for producers to bring such products to the market as medicinal products, potentially resulting in unavailability. Since the coming to force of Directive 2004/24/EC on Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products (THMPD), 572 products have been registered, with significant discrepancies across Member States (only seven Member States saw more than 20 products registered, and over 150 of all registrations were in Poland)."

This highlights how current EU legislation falls well short of the requirements for the development of herbal medicine. Read the full report here (pdf).


The contribution of complementary and alternative medicine to sustainable healthcare in Europe. Click here to view the booklet. Or visit the web site at

EHTPA mission and work

Click here to view the document (pdf).

Statutory regulation for herbal practitioners

Click here to view the document (pdf).

The Case for the Statutory Regulation of Herbal Practitioners

The following document has been presented by the EHTPA Chair to the Herbal Working Group in March 2014 in support of statutory regulation of UK herbal practitioners, based on maintaining public safety and public choice.

Click here to view the document (pdf)

The role of herbal medicine in combating antimicrobial resistance

PowerPoint presentation for meeting in the European Parliament Building on 1st April 2014 organised by EUROCAM

Click here to download (pptx)

In the press

Two recent stories from the Telegraph:

Chinese medicine could become available on the NHS
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Has the Minister for Magic Jeremy Hunt gone too far
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Scoping the Evidence

The EHTPA is dedicated to research into the effectiveness of herbal medicine. To this end it has published 'Scoping the Evidence for Herbal Medicines'. Click here to download the document (pdf).

Antimicrobial resistance and herbal medicine

A paper presented to the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology by the EHTPA - November 2013 Click here to view the document (pdf)

Oral evidence on herbal medicine and antimicrobial resistance

given by EHTPA to House of Commons Select Committee on 26th February 2014. Click here (opens in a new window)

Report to Council about the Working Group meeting on Thursday 31st January 2014.

Click here to view the document (pdf)

Commissioner Borg highlights the economic benefits of CAM treatments in the EU. Address June 2013.

Click here to read the full text (pdf).

New National Professional Herbalists Register (RNEP) – Italy

The Federazione Erboristi Italiani - FEI is delighted to announce the launch of its new pan-Italian Register, the National Professional Herbalists Register (RNEP).

Membership of this Register is open to all graduates of University courses currently training herbalists in Italy.The Register will also be open to non-FEI members, as long as they possess a University qualification in herbal medicine providing the necessary prerequisites.

The Register will provide a public a reference point listing qualified herbalists throughout Italy and will be easily accessible to all Italian citizens via the FEI website. The Register will be published listing the names and addresses of qualified herbalists on a regional basis making it possible for anyone living in Italy to contact a local herbalist. This Register will make it easier for healthcare practitioners throughout Italy and beyond (including those operating in the CAM sector) to consult qualified herbalists throughout Italy for professional advice concerning the use of medicinal plants for their patients.

For further information please contact the Federazione Erboristi Italiani - FEI, 00153 Roma - Piazza G.G. Belli, 2, tel. 065866345 – 305 - fax 065812750, e-mail: -, website

Signing up to train as a herbal/traditional medicine practitioner? Consider this (February 2011)....

The Government is about to give its decision on whether herbalists should be statutorily regulated. We expect to hear about this shortly.

Should the decision to statutorily regulate our sector be made, it is possible that the regulator (e.g. the Health Care Professions Council) will accept the members of some professional associations that have acceptable standards of training and accreditation for direct and immediate transfer over to the new statutory register when it opens.

The Department of Health Steering Group under its independent chair, Professor Mike Pittilo, published a snapshot of many courses on offer and their standing according to certain accreditation criteria in 2008. These are published on pages 169-171 together with a listing of courses and their processes according to the information received at the time of the Report’s publication (see pages 161- 167 of the Report). Click here to access DH Steering Group Report final proof.pdf (1MB). Those using the 1968 Medicines Act Section 12(1) herbal exemption in their practice (i.e. one-to-one prescription) who belong to professional associations that do not qualify for such direct transfer will still have the opportunity to apply to join the register during the grand-parenting period but it is likely that applications will be considered on an individual basis.

It is impossible for us to give specific guidance about particular training at this time but it would seem sensible to check and see if there is any independent accreditation of the course you plan to take; for example, as you will see some courses listed in the Report have both university and our own EHTPA independent accreditation. As you will also see, there are other accreditation boards listed aside from our own. Whichever they are, a properly constituted accreditation process should include clear training outcomes that deliver on a published curriculum. For example the EHTPA Common Core Curriculum is published on pages 124 onwards. This is the kind of thing you should look for to underpin any accreditation process and satisfy yourself as to the standard of the training you are thinking of applying for. The accreditation board should be properly constituted , set up at arm’s length from the training institution and ideally should include lay membership.

Lastly, you will see from the Common Core Curriculum that it is generally agreed that students should learn an appropriate amount of western medicine knowledge and skills as well as some pharmacology. As herbalists practise internal medicine and see patients without referral from GPs, it is incumbent on practitioners to know enough western medicine to be able to recognise the limits of their competence and know when to refer patients to doctors etc...

Herbal and traditional medicine practitioners get statutory regulation

On 16th February the Secretary of State for Heath, Andrew Lansley announced in a written statement to the UK Parliament that all UK practitioners prescribing herbal medicines are to be statutorily regulated via the Health Professions Council. The Health Secretary went on to explain that 'this would ensure that practitioners would meet specified registration standards' giving practitioners and consumers continuing access to unlicensed manufactured herbal medicines to meet individual patient needs after the introduction of new EU legislation after April 30th this year. Click here to read Andrew Lansley's statement.

The move to regulation has been under discussion for over a decade in the UK since the prestigious House of Lords' Select Committee on Science and Technology called for UK herbalists to be statutory regulated in its seminal report on Complementary Medicine in 2000. The following year, the Government agreed that this should go ahead and launched two committees under independent chairs, one to look at the regulation of herbalists and the other acupuncturists. The process was most generously supported by the Prince of Wales and his Foundation for Integrated medicine. The two committees published their reports in 2003 and the following year the Department of Health (DH) undertook a public consultation on the statutory regulation of herbal practitioners. The results of this consultation were published in 2005 and showed a 98% opinion in favour of statutory regulation (Department of Health 2005. The Statutory Regulation of Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture. Report on the Consultation. Stationery Office, London.) That same year the DH published a timetable for such statutory regulation. In the event, a General Election and a public outcry in the wake of murders by the rogue doctor Harold Shipman brought considerable delay. The newly elected Labour administration put the herbal regulation on hold whilst it commissioned an overview of the regulation of all healthcare workers from doctors to hospital porters. This process took many months to complete and in the meantime the Government decided that there should be another DH Committee under the chairmanship of Professor Michael Pittilo to advise Government how best to regulate herbal medicine, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture.

The Pittilo report, outlining specific measures to bring about this regulation, was published in 2008 and in 2009 the Government commissioned a second public consultation on this subject. Such consultations usually attract no more than about 40-60 responses; this one elicited an extraordinary public response with over six and half thousand replies. A decade after the House of Lords called for the statutory regulation of herbalists, the Government finally decided that statutory regulation of herbalists should go ahead and, once all the devolved administrations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) had agreed to this, the announcement was made by Andrew Lansley on February 16th. Once again the public expressed its clear view that herbalists should be statutorily regulated. The results of the 2009 public consultation published concurrently with the Minister of Health's announcement showed there was a massive majority (85% of the responses) in favour of statutory regulation. Click on link shown on footnote.

Herbal medicine faces regulation

From The Press and Journal, published: 21/02/2011

North-east academic's efforts pay off as health secretary announces register of practitioners by Lindsay Watling

SUCCESS: Dr Carol Blow, widow of Professor Mike Pittilo, says herbal medicine regulation is a victory for patient safety. Raymond Besant

An Aberdeen academic's long-standing campaign for a law to regulate the herbal medicine Industry reached a major milestone this week - exactly a year to the day since he died.

Former principal and vice-chancellor of Robert Gordon University, Mike Pittilo, who died of cancer last February aged 55, was a staunch advocate of the need to regulate herbalists.

Professor Pittilo was heavily involved with the Prince of Wales Foundation for Integrated Health (FIH) and in 2003 chaired a Department of Health steering group which published a report recommending the urgent implementation of a system of regulation.

Last year he was made an MBE for this work, but the sector remained unregulated until Wednesday - the first anniversary of his death - when Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced in parliament that the findings were accepted.

Mr Lansley told MPs that practitioners in all four UK nations should be statutorily regulated by the Health Professionals Council and said a register would be set up to ensure practitioners met specified standards.

He added: "I'm pleased to say this decision resolves a long-standing issue, to the benefit of practitioners and the public who use herbal medicines."

Prof Pittilo's widow Dr Carol Blow called the news a "real victory for patient safety". She said: "The most important thing was Mike's concern about patient safety. Herbal medicines are sometimes seen as being natural and safe, but they can be toxic and they do kill people.

"After all these years of debating it, it's really reassuring to know that there's going to be some formal regulation because at the moment, anybody can set themselves up as a practitioner and supply potentially toxic substances. Mike would be so satisfied the recommendations have been accepted."

That the announcement had coincided exactly with the anniversary of Prof Pittilo's death was "incredibly symbolic", she added.

RGU acting principal Professor John Harper said the news was "another illustration of Mike's continued influence" and said it "marked the successful culmination of a major exercise".