Monday, August 1, 2011

Video: The Last Herbalist in Paris

L'Herboristerie de la Place de Clichy en Paris, France is the last herbal-pharmacy in the city, though the oldest such business in the country.  This can be traced to the period of the Second World War when the Vichy government, in 1941, suppressed an Act known as the Herbalist Diploma, which allowed the pharmaceutical industry a virtual monopoly on the commercial trading of plants and herbs for medicinal benefits, utterly wiping out local competition by unlicensed pharmacists (ie. general Herbalists).  In 2009 the Indie Way Production company began work on a documentary detailing the plight of the last working Herbal-Pharmacy in Paris, which was established in 1880.  The following clip is en Francaise sans sous-titres (an English translated transcript to post would be fabulous if anyone can aurally translate the French language, which is far beyond my capabilities):

The present owners of the infamous Herberisterie are certified botanists and pharmacists who have each studied herbal medicine. If one visits France in the near future, please patronage this shop with your business and work with local government lobbyists and Herbalists - if possible - to repeal this unjust law!  Their address is:
Herberisterie de la Place Clichy
87 Rue d'Amsterdam
75008 Paris, France
Phone: 33 1 48 74 83 32
Fax: 33 1 45 26 98 57
Metro stop Place Clichy
They have opened up a sister shop on the opposite bank of the Seine river which flows through the heart of Paris at:
Herberisterie d'Hippocrate
42 Rue Saint Andre des Arts
75006 Paris, France
Phone: 33 1 40 51 87 03
Metro stop Saint Michel
I certainly want to see this documentary, and hope that an English-market version is released; I would also adore the opportunity to work in or own such a store with the same sort of character as L'Herberisterie!

Also of note is another Herbalist (Fr. Herboriste) operating in the county of Lorraine, a district in the north-eastern most county of France.  He tends the garden of Bernadette where he harvests and dries herbs that are then sold on the premises; of note are the Garden's epic drying wracks (as before this video is en Francaise sans sous-titres):

Another Herbalist Center is located at du Palais Royal in Paris, whose owner, Michel Pierre has given the following interview (also en Francais) -- they sell herbs in bulk mass through their website (in the hyperlink): 

An American Herbalist also discusses why general ("lay") Herbalists are far safer under the scope of the law without accredited status, because as early as 20 years ago medical doctors who be arrested and imprisoned for prescribing any sort of herbal medicine despite what documentation might show as to its effectiveness.  Of course, one may draw the conclusion that this could be the Pharmaceutical Industry flexing its muscles in an effort to insist that medical practitioners conform and prescribe only their treatments -- treatments that are expensive (as many Essential Oils are expensive) due to the brand names and the laboratory cost involved in testing and verifying the efficacy, etc.!

Thankfully it does not seem to be so extreme these days.  There are a few medical Drs. of note in the Des Moines area who prescribe herbs instead of pharmaceuticals, and even recommend our local Witch store -- Ancient Ways -- as a resource to fill the prescription!  Even medical practitioners opposed to herbal medicine have entrapped Herbalist who they've reported to the state for practicing medicine without a license throughout the U.S.!

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