Monday, April 25, 2005

The War on Echinacea

Here in Hawaii the alternative health culture is strong. For the last month it has seemed that everywhere I turn I overhear someone talking about their fear of a new bill being voted on in Congress that would outlaw herbal supplements, such as echinacea. My natural response to alarmist dialog is to ignore it. I believe in the creative power of what we give our attention to and I'm not particularly interested in living a fear based life. Finally last night in a phone conversation a friend of mine started talking about her fear of the dreaded bill, so today I decided to do a little research.

I am not about to present myself as an expert in this area, but my initial take is to compare the threat of such regulation to our experiences with the "war on drugs" (and decades before with Prohibition). If it is a legitimate possibility that health supplements might be outlawed without an MD's prescription, I think that would make a huge inconvenience in getting these products, and would shut down the big companies that specialize in providing them to the many alternative health consumers who don't have health insurance. However, people would still get the supplements. They would have to find small local suppliers and the exchange would take place outside the tax system, but the laws of supply and demand supercede all government imposed laws.

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