Germany has by far the largest market for herbal remedies in Europe.
The therapeutic use of herbs is a longstanding tradition in Germany. A 1901 law, reaffirmed in 1961, allows for the sale of herbal medicines as drugs, giving them special status as medicinal agents, a unique situation compared with other European countries. In essence, throughout the 20th century up to the present, herbs sold with the intent of curing, alleviating or preventing disease or symptoms of illness have been allowed in the German market as drugs.
According to Heinz Schilcher of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology at Berlin Independent University, one of the reasons herbal medicine has survived in Germany is because the use of herbs is considered a component of orthodox medicine, not as an alternative or complementary approach. Furthermore, he notes, an important reason for the acceptance of herbal medicine by many German physicians is the existence of the scientifically supported Commission E monographs. According to the late Varro Tyler, Ph.D., of Purdue University and author of Tyler?s Honest Herbal), ?These monographs constitute some of the most up-to-date and useful information extant on the safety and efficacy of plant drugs.?
Under German drug laws, there is a separate drug registration category for herbal medicines, also known as phytomedicines.
In Germany, herbs and herbal products are regulated in a different way than in the United States. In 1978, the German Federal Health Agency established the German Commission E to investigate the safety and efficacy of herbal remedies commonly used in Germany. The commission weighed evidence from the literature, from anecdotal reports, and from clinical studies. They subsequently developed monographs on over 400 herbs. These monographs are now used worldwide as essential references on herbal therapy. The commission also established indications (how an herb is used medicinally) and dosage recommendations, resulting in the successful mainstreaming of herbs into medical practice. German physicians frequently prescribe the herbs ginkgo biloba, hawthorn, St. John's wort, horse chestnut, and saw palmetto. Unlike U.S. law, German law allows herb manufacturers to market herbs with drug claims if the herb is proven safe and effective.
A dietary supplement is defined as an item for consumption (other than tobacco) possessing nutritional or physiological utility and proposed to supplement diet. It is said to include one or more dietary ingredients like vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, and other substances including their constituents and labelled as being a - Dietary Supplement. They represent a highly profitable segment and have been driven primarily by the wellness trend.
Germany, Italy, The UK, and France dominate the segment and account for 67 per cent of the total consumption in Europe
Dietary supplements can contain a number of different ingredients and can be used as prophylactic agents and for the prevention and treatment of specific health problems. After the United States, Europe provides the largest market for dietary supplements. Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom (UK) and France dominate the sector and account for 67 per cent of total dietary supplement revenues.

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