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The regulation of herbalists is a hot topic across the Pond right now, with the UK looking warily to the European Union and wondering if and when EU-type regulation will spread. 

Dr. Robert Verkerk, friend and ally of NHPPA, recently wrote a piece for his organization’s weekly e-Alert: Crunch Time For UK Herbalists. In it he analyzes the pros and cons of statutory vs voluntary regulation for herbalists.

As the world gets ever smaller with regard to harmonization of regulations we felt it was timely to ask a Canadian expert for a review of the situation for herbalists here. We approached Richard DeSylva, another friend of NHPPA and one of Canada’s leading herbalists, for a review of the situation for herbalists here at home.

He makes the point that herbalists have ‘flown under the radar’ until relatively recently, with the government assuming that there weren’t enough of them to warrant attention. Organizing together to gain a voice therefore carried with it a risk that they would attract regulatory attention. But who defines what a herbalist is if the practitioners don’t organize? Is it better to work with the Federal and Provincial governments or not? This fascinating and thought-provoking analysis is a must-read for anyone who takes an interest in regulatory matters.


Richard DeSylva Registered Herbalist and Doctor of Natural Medicine is a founding member of the Ontario Herbalist Association, and the Canadian Council of Herbalist Associations and sits on both Boards. He writes, teaches, researches and lectures on botanic medicine. He has been in clinical practice for over 35 years.  

Dr. Robert Verkerk PhD is the founder, executive and scientific director of Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) International. He is one of the world’s leading experts on Codex, GMOs and the international implications of individual governments’ actions in the natural health field. He is internationally recognized as a leader in agricultural, environmental and health sustainability. 

Richard DeSylva holds conferences with Robert Verkerk, Shawn Buckley and other key international health freedom leaders to develop strategies that support unified action.

“The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” ~ Bertrand Russell