Public-friendly information on herbal medicines now available

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Public-friendly information on herbal medicines now available

Summaries to help people make informed choices when taking herbal medicines

From now on the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will systematically publish summaries of the recommendations of its Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) on the medicinal uses of a herbal substance in easy to understand, public-friendly language.

The summaries include information on the herbal substance assessed, the HMPC conclusions on its recommended uses, the data supporting the recommendations and the potential side effects associated with the use of the herbal substance. They complement information that is in the package leaflets of medicines containing the herbal substance, and are expected to help citizens make an informed choice when using these medicines for self-medication.

The summaries for six herbal substances that had their assessment finalised by the HMPC earlier this year have been released today.

This type of documents will be available for newly assessed herbal substances as well as for previously assessed substances that are being reviewed as part of a routine revision process. EMA is also planning to progressively make these summaries available in all official languages of the European Union (EU).

Herbal medicines are used by millions of people across Europe. They are authorised (as well-established use medicines) or registered (as traditionally used herbal medicines) at national level in the EU. The main role of the HMPC is to assess all available scientific data and information on the use of herbal medicines, including data on their safety and efficacy, and issue evidence-based recommendations on the therapeutic uses, contraindications and interactions with other medicines, and any potential undesirable effects.

These scientific opinions, called European Union monographs, constitute a unique and reliable set of information on herbal medicines that can be used by EU Member States when evaluating marketing authorisation applications submitted by companies.

Over 130 monographs have been made available since the HMPC was established in 2004. They cover a large number of therapeutic areas, with gastrointestinal disorders, urinary-tract and gynaecological disorders, and cough and cold being the most represented. These monographs as well as the HMPC assessment reports are also available on the EMA website.

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