We are surprised and disappointed by this week’s decision by the IMB to ban the sale of Echinacea products to under 12’s. The IMB have offered no evidence to show that Echinacea is unsafe for use by the under 12’s, and it remains on sale in other EU countries.

The only risk associated with Echinacea is a rare incidence of allergic reaction, which is far less common than allergic reaction to peanuts, and to other medicines given to children. Any child who has taken Echinacea more than once in the past would not be affected by an allergic reaction, and the minimal risk would be more appropriately dealt with by warning labels rather than an outright ban. Ironically, this decision is likely to lead to more infections and increased use of pharmaceutical products which carry a much greater risk to children’s health.

In our opinion the IMB ban is unjustified and will cause worry to many parents who want to protect their children’s health, particularly just as children are about to return to school. Any parent who is concerned about their right to freedom of choice in medicine should write to their TD about this issue.  As you would expect, we are making representations to the IMB through the Irish Association of Health Stores.

As responsible and professional health store operators we will of course comply with the IMB ban. Our apologies that children’s Echinacea products have been taken off our shelves.

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