History of Herbal Medicine
In 1154 Henry II institutionalised Common Law, which has been the basis of the legal systems of England,
Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland, plus many other countries around the world, until the present time.
Common Law is based on the premise that everything is legal unless it is deemed
Herbal Medicine throughout history has always been protected under Common Law. However, in 1542 the
medical profession at that time wanted to prevent Herbalists from practising. Fortunately, Henry VIII, as an
avid user of herbs, came to the rescue and implemented "The Herbalist's Charter" which underpinned the
Herbalists right to practise and anyone with knowledge of herbs could continue to use them. "That at all Time
from henceforth it shall be lawful to every Person being the King's subject. having Knowledge and Experience
of the Nature of Herbs, Roots, and Waters, .........."
Nicolas Culpeper (1616 - 1654) was an apothecary who lived in a time when fees of the medical professionals
were out of the reach of the general public. Culpeper translated their medical text from Latin to English and
sold copies at a low price to the apothecaries and anyone who could read so they could use these life saving
Henry VIII and Culpeper saved Herbal Medicine for the people
Thanks to the work of Fred Fletcher-Hyde and other herbalists, the 1968 Medicines Act allowed Herbalists to
continue to prescribe and prepare herbal medicines under Section 12 (1) and Section 12 (2) of this Act.
However, with our current relationship with the European Union, European Law is now having a profound
influence on our daily lives, including the jurisdiction of Herbal Medicine. European Law is founded on
Napoleonic Law, not Common Law. Napoleonic Law is based on the premise that
everything is illegal unless it is deemed legal.
Currently, law from Europe, regulatory proposals from the UK Department of Health, and possible
interference from the MHRA can dramatically affect the way Herbalists practise as well as restrict access to
herbs for everyone.
Our petition and campaign aim to challenge these issues, so Herbalists continue to practise as they do at
present and have done throughout the history of this nation, and Herbal Medicines remain freely
available to all.
History of Herbal Medicine
The Campaignfor the Protection of Herbal Medicine
It is well documented that Henry VIII
was an enthusiastic advocator of herbal medicine
even creating many recipes for his own use.
He was a "great dabbler in physic
and offered medical advice on
all occasions that presented themsleves".
Over 114 recipes are recorded as a
royal collection on a manuscript in
the British Museum.
The greed and professional jealousy
towards the herbalists by a small
number of Tudor surgeons resulted
in Henry issuing a royal proclamation
which created the Herbalists Charter
and ensured survival of the profession.
Link here to view the Charter