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Abstract

Herbal medicine consists in therapeutical use of plants or herbal medicinal products, in the form of patent medicines, magistral or pharmaceutical preparations or divided pharmaceutical products. It is meant by herbal medicinal product “any medicine the active substances of which are exclusively one or several herbal preparations or an association of one or several herbal substances or herbal preparations”. Herbal medicine are therefore full medicines and as such, they are submitted to the same quality requirements than those required for any other medicine. The directive 2004/24/EC of the European Parliament and ofthe Council of 31 March 2004 amending, as regards traditional herbal medicinal products, the directive 2001/83/EC on the Community code relative to medicinal products for human use, however permits some relaxings allowing to supply purely bibliographical toxicological and clinical data when the conditions required to be able to enjoy such a “traditional useregistration” are fulfilled. As regards herbal medicines the medicinal use of which have been proved as “well-established”, they are able to enjoy an exemption of clinical studies too, but toxicological data concerning these ones should nevertheless be produced. This European legislation aims to guarantee for the patient quality, safety and efficacy of the remedies he consumes, to permit free therapeutic choice and free movement of herbal medicines within the European Union, as well as preservation of natural vegetal resources (vegetal biodiversity) and respect of intellectual property of the traditional knowledges holders. It could be applicated in other countries like African countries, too.

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