The Franklin County Sheriff's Office says Margie Mulholland turned herself in last week after learning she faces two charges of practicing medicine without a license. Both charges are considered misdemeanors.
Investigators started looking into Mulholland's practices after the family of 31-year-old JoAnn Rochelle said the herbalist's advice to stop taking insulin landed her in a hospital and into a diabetic coma. David Work of the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy says it is about time someone went after herbalists accused of practicing bad medicine.
"I think it's a step in the right direction. There are many prosecutors in this state, who put that at the bottom of the list as far as their priorities are concerned," he says.
Ann Jones, owner of her own herbal store, will not comment on the Mulholland case, but she says herbalists rarely step over the line and become doctors.
"One of the first and last things that is always stressed is, 'Never, just never, tell anybody to stop taking a prescription drug,'" she says.
Rochelle has recovered from her coma, but neither she, her family nor Margie Mulholland were available for comment.
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