A Chinese herbalist has been given a two-year conditional discharge after pleading guilty to a number of charges, including supply of a banned substance. She sold what were advertised as safe and natural products to treat a skin complaint. These contained aristolochic acid. The patient later developed kidney failure.

Judge Roberts, who heard the case, said: “It is an unfortunate fact that there is no system in this country to regulate Chinese herbal medicine retailers like Ms Ying by requiring them to be registered with an appropriate professional body or trade association.”  

There has been a call for regulation both by the court and by The Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine, which represents more than 450 practitioners. The Register say that the case highlights “the urgent need for the statutory regulation of herbal medicine in the UK”.  

Details of the case can be read in The Times at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article7030963.ece.