John Christopher, and it was a treat to fi nd his standard of excellence at a time that many people paid little attention to such details. He insisted on using only clean, wild-crafted or organic herbs, processing them in a way that retained their vibrancy and quality, much as earlier herbalists had done. Pesticides are a fact of modern farming methods, and “poisoned herbs” could be found in his day just as they are now.
Dr. Christopher taught his students to choose carefully the sources from which they bought their herbs and to check how they were stored and later prepared. For this reason, he liked herbalists to prepare and even pick their own herbs, in order to make their own tinctures, ointments, and other preparations to a high standard. He even went as far as to insist that anything prepared for external use should be of the same quality as that for internal use.
His legacy of high standards lives on with many of his students, now excellent herbalists in their own right. To this day, herbal preparations vary in their quality and, sadly, I have met people who have not had benefi cial experiences from some preparations.
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As a result, rules and regulations have been put into place in Britain by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) which is addressing the quality, origins, storage, and preparation of herbs grown in or imported into Britain. Medical and other toxic wastes are buried or burned, and the fumes and leakages from these can contaminate the herbs in the area. Since the 1940s, there has been a thirty-three-fold increase in the