Let’s talk about government control. Which kind this time, you might ask, as this is such a vast topic. In this particular post, I am going to address a Senate Bill that was scheduled for a vote on November 3, 2022, called S4090 Dietary Supplements and Herbal Medicine.
This bill suggests giving the wonderful and trustworthy (haha) FDA control over regulating herbs in their entirety, which currently are categorized as “dietary supplements.” It suggests some fairly harmless-looking things using very soft and fluffy language addressing their ability to mandate restrictions on all herbs, herbal remedies, information, etc.; similar to how they regulate pharmacological drugs, food, cosmetics, etc. which we all have full faith in those products and their safety, right? Okay.
Herbal remedies and other dietary supplements have been protected from a federal mandate for all this time, which does come with its own set of concerns, of course. If there is no oversight for efficacy, testing of ingredients, formula, etc that leaves a lot of inconsistency and room for less than ethical practices some of which can be dangerous when we are talking about products we ingest or use on our bodies.
The FDA requires many things for any product that is to be sold on the market. The safety of these products for public consumption is said to be the top priority of this organization. As we all know, and experience daily, the FDA’s mandates and requirements for safety still regularly allow very unsafe products to reach the marketplace that then must be documented to cause severe harm en mass to the public before actions are taken against it, such as recall or legal recourse against the company, manufacturer, etc. All of these things sound responsible and in concern for public safety. The reality of how this particular entity works, we all know is not so straightforward.
History shows, consistently, the government does not have our best interests at heart. Only the expansion and continuation of power/control/money grabs. It seems absurd, and quite irresponsible, to give such power over even more things within our system.
As of this writing, the Senate is making yet another attempt to grab control over our health, wellness, and freedoms. S4090 is suggesting that this already epic failure of a governing authority also gets extensive reach and control into our freedoms of commerce, small business, natural health, herbs, and other supplements, and likely those sources of education as well.
Herbs and natural medicines are just that, natural, given and provided to us by nature and by that very existence not under the control of man. This bill suggests much more strict and downright unrealistic requirements and steps to be deemed “safe” and fit for the market than the chemical counterparts. Of course chock-full of many loopholes allowing the FDA to deny, remand, and/or revise anything they choose in the categories covered, based on unclear regulations.
As Americans and citizens of planet Earth, we are painfully familiar with the regulatory game creating rules and standards that favor their big rich friends and corporations while unfairly pushing the regular guys into unemployment and even legal and financial hardships, while limiting access to natural resources for citizens.
My research on this topic has revealed some downright laughable reads about concerns of safety issues of herbal medicines. Here is an excerpt from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
“There is a misperception that herbal supplements are harmless as they are prepared from natural sources. Unlike conventional drugs, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate herbal supplements for premarketing purity and potency. Hence, there is a growing concern for health risks due to misbranded toxic ingredients, contaminants, adulterants, and herb-drug interactions (HDI) with co-administered drugs. The spectrum of pharmacological and toxicological effects of herbal supplements includes deranged lab results, allergic reactions, genotoxicity, carcinogenicity, teratogenicity, organ damage, and even fatality contributing to sizable emergency visits and hospitalizations in the US.”
While I would never be so one-sided as to claim that there are no risks around herbs and the like, and of course, uneducated, or misled citizens can, and have, been injured by using and/ or misusing natural remedies. Every substance has effects. But overwhelmingly, natural and herbal remedies are far safer than any chemical marketed as a similar treatment. I would argue that the concern voiced above could just as easily, and even more, be accurately describing any pharmacological drug or even food product approved by the FDA and pushed onto Americans by the medical, media, and insurance industries.
Herbs and natural medicines are documented as far back as 5000 years yet somehow humanity has thrived more healthfully than in our recent history where we see general health and well-being taking a drastic nosedive due to chemical exposure and the like. All this while under the watchful eye of the FDA.
This subject leads down so many rabbit holes that it is too much to unpack in one post. Maybe we can create a series addressing them? Comment below if that is something you’d have interest in.
This legislation is yet another attack on our natural rights, natural resources, and human freedoms. Luckily this bill doesn’t seem to have much traction, but it is always a good idea to remind our representatives that their job is to represent US and our interests. You can reach your representative at https://www.govtrack.us/