On September 11th, 1941, the Vichy Regime eliminated the herbalist certificate, created under Napoleon. Since that time, the profession, predominantly feminine, was expected to quietly disappear after the deaths of the last certified practitioners. And yet, the Syndicat des Simples today boasts roughly 600 Peasant-Herbalists, who perpetuate the knowledge and uses of this empirical practice, practiced and passed down from the very beginnings of humanity.
Herbalism views itself as complementary to allopathic medicine and pharmacology, its historic rival: after succeeding in sidelining herbalism as early as 1803, the powerful rise of the pharmaceutical industry hurried its demise. In the form of an inquest, the director, Daniel Schlosser, will take a closer look at the actors and the stakes of herbalism and its often neglected history as the "medicine of the poor". For many years, Schlosser has been a consumer of medicinal plants and seeks to understand why the usage of these plants – which have suddenly become quite popular again – covers today a fairly heterogeneous reality, sometimes subject to confusion and more or less framed by law. What are the difficulties and the motivations of those who wish to take up herbalism once again?
Users, peasant-herbalists fighting for the recognition of their trade in France, pharmacists, who in the Vosges have collected popular knowledge fated to disappear, Belgian and German practitioners, and even European deputies who are actively involved, share with him their experiences, their knowledge and their point of view.