Herbal Medicines Advisory Committee

The committee advises on the safety and quality of herbal medicines when there's an application for registration, marketing authorisation or product licence.

Role of the committee

The Herbal Medicines Advisory Committee’s (HMAC) terms of reference are to give advice on safety, quality and efficacy in relation to human use, of:

  • a) herbal medicinal products eligible for registration under the simplified traditional use registration procedure set out in Part 7 of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012

  • b) unlicensed herbal medicinal products (unless it is subject to an application for a marketing authorisation, product licence or a homeopathic certificate of registration)

The role of the committee will concern primarily issues relating to safety and quality, since there is not a requirement for efficacy to be separately demonstrated in relation to registered traditional herbal medicines or unlicensed products.

However, efficacy is still relevant - under the traditional herbal registration scheme, the pharmacological effects or efficacy of the medicinal product must be plausible on the basis of longstanding use and experience.

The code of practice

Code of practice on conflicts of interest applies to chairs, members, co-opted members and invited and patient experts of all our scientific advisory committees.  See Code of practice.

The principles in the code also apply to observers and invited experts who are asked to contribute written advice and do not attend committee meetings.

Current vacancies

There are currently no vacancies.


Post Name Affiliations
Chair Professor Raymond J Playford MB BS PhD FRCP FAcadMedSci Professor of Molecular Medicine, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of West London, Visiting Consultant St Georges University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust  
Member Dr Raghav Baliga BMAS MSc MRes Director and Ayurveda Consultant, Baliga Ayurveda, London  
Lay Member Miss Louisa Jane Blakeway MBRCP BA Health Care Practitioner for Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, Gloucestershire Recovery in Psychosis Team, Self Employed Business Owner of Wholistic Therapies – Complementary Therapy Practice Allergy Therapy and Nutritional Balancing Dip and Reflexology Dip  
Member Dr Anthony Booker MSc, PhD, MRSC, FLS Senior Lecturer in Ethnopharmacology and Medicinal Plant Science. Honorary Lecturer, UCL School of Pharmacy. Associate Editor, Frontiers in Ethnopharmacology. Fellow of The Linnaen Society  
Member Dr Sarah Bull Bsc (Hons), PhD, ERT, MRSC Independent toxicologist, TARA consulting  
Member Dr James Coulson BSc (Hons), MB BCh (Hons), LLM, MD, MFPH, MRSB, FRCP, FRCPE Clinical Reader in Clinical Pharmacology, Therapeutics & Toxicology, Cardiff University. Honorary Professor of Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, Cardiff Metropolitan University. (Visiting) Professor of Clinical Pharmacology, University of South Wales. Honorary Consultant Physician, Clinical Pharmacologist & Toxicologist, Cardiff & Vale University Health Board. Interim Clinical Director of the All Wales Therapeutics & Toxicology Centre  
Member Professor Christopher Goldring BSc PhD Chair of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Liverpool  
Member Ms Ellie Holly BSc (Hons) Herbal Medicine; MCPP Practising Medical Herbalist working in North London; Nutrition Tutor at the City Lit in Holborn  
Member Dr Elizabeth Renji MBBS, MD, PGHAN-CCT, FRCPCH Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterologist, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, NHS FT, Liverpool  
Member Dr Edward Thompson MB ChB, MA, MRCGP, MF Hom, MARH, FURHP, MBRCP General Practitioner, Emergency Medicine GP, CHDD Tutor Leicester Medical School, Holistic General Practice May Tree Clinic  
Member Professor Colin W Wright BPharm MSc PhD FRPharmS Professor of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences, University of Bradford  
Member Dr Kaicun Zhao MB MSc PhD Programme Leader, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Department of Mental Health, Social Work and Integrative Medicine, Middlesex University London  

Summary minutes

See the final summary minutes for HMAC from 2014, which you can download.

For previous minutes, see the HMAC page on the archived MHRA website

Annual report

HMAC annual report

Contact the expert committee support team

Telephone: 020 3080 6000 Email: info@mhra.gov.uk