This September our community herbal clinic in Wester Hailes is celebrating its fifth year. Over the past six months since our last update, the most significant events have of course been the COVID 19 pandemic. Its been a challenging time for us as our clinic runs out of a large health centre which is administered by Edinburgh Council. The Council quickly shut the building which meant that our ability to offer even an amended version of our service became very difficult as we had to negotiate for access to get into our herbal dispensary. Over time we were allowed in to make up regular prescriptions and have them delivered at home to our existing patients. We were then later able to move to offering remote consultations only. Still now as of September 2020 we don’t have access to the building to offer in person appointments and it isn’t clear when this will restart. Its been difficult to keep the service available particularly for new patients without the usual referral pathways operating.


Very sadly, the beautiful wooden classroom in the Willow Garden where we ran all of our Communitea workshops was burned down in an act of arson shortly before COVID struck, which had a real impact on many local residents who found solace in that social & learning space.


We were lucky to receive some specific funding to respond to the impact that both COVID-19 and lockdown were having on the communities we work in. We created the Herbal Response Project which is focused on making specific herbal remedies to support members of the community’s health through the pandemic for example – herbal chest rubs, immune tonics and calming mixes – and distributed them for free across Wester Hailes, as well as the Granton/Pilton area of Edinburgh.

We have now also secured funding to rebuild the community classroom in the Willow Garden, and have started to run some outdoor Communitea sessions there – doing some foraging and remedy making as well as just simply getting folk together after such a long period of isolation. There is a lot of work to be done supporting people whose social networks and therapeutic support was cut off so drastically (and still is for many people).


Over the winter we will be continuing our herbal remedy distribution project, along with some extra monthly pop-up herbal clinics in Wester Hailes and in Granton as well as running our regular weekly remote clinic until the building reopens. We look forward to slowly rebuilding the work we’ve been doing in Wester Hailes over the next year.