The moment is a unique one in the history of English medicinal plant culture. It depends upon the efforts being made now by the growers and collectors on the one hand, the English wholesale drug buyers on the other (and this intermediate Association between them), to rescue the market for our native plants from German enterprise. The industry has been swamped in the past by the import of foreign herbs—so It will perhaps be useful to direct attention to some facts concerning the present position of the cultivation of medicinal plants in this country. It must be distinctly understood that it is only a minor industry, as compared with that of food products, but is nevertheless one of national importance, seeing that it concerns the health of the nation, and the enormous requirements of our sick and wounded sailors and soldiers, as well as of our ordinary hospitals and dispensaries. Why there should be any necessity to import from Austria and Germany plants that grow well in this country is not at first sight obvious. The real reason for their importation is clearly a financial one—the well-known law of commerce to buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest. This tendency, together with the neglect of scientific organisation and the absence of a protective tariff, has led to the purchase by this country of cheaper material from abroad. As in many other cases, the public has remained in ignorance of the way in which free trade has injured the home industry."


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