New low income clinic helps Fife families access herbal medicine

A new Kingdom Community Herbal Clinic is set to launch in Fife this Friday (24 January) to help people on lower incomes access the benefits of herbal medicine.

The new clinic, which is being rolled out by Health Food & More in Kirkcaldy, is set to make professional, natural health advice more accessible to everyone in Fife, including students, and those on low incomes, benefits and state pensions.

Not only is the initiative designed to help bridge the gap between self-care and NHS services, but to help train the medical herbalists of the future by giving them practical, face-to-face consulting and dispensing experience overseen by Keren Brynes Maclean MNIMH of Health Food & More, who is an experienced medical herbalist of more than 30 years.

The reduced fee clinic will run two days every month starting this Friday and Saturday and cost less than 50% of normal consultation rates for an appointment with both Keren and second and third year medical herbalism students, whose course requires 500 clinical training hours before they can become a fully qualified medical herbalist.  

The medical herbalism students are all undertaking professional studies with Heartwood, which is the education and training arm of the NIMH (National Institute of Medical Herbalists) Education Fund, a UK charity specialising in foundation and post-graduate professional development courses in herbal medicine.

Medical herbalist Keren, who qualified in 1996, believes there’s a real need for more medical herbalists in Scotland and is willing to train the future competition to make that happen.  

Keren, who also offers a range of health screening tests at Health Food & More, says: “There are currently only around 50  NIMH qualified medical herbalists in Scotland, yet we know from our patients and ongoing research that modern, or allopathic, healthcare doesn’t have all the answers.

“We also know that the drugs don’t always work for every condition or for every person. But medical herbalism can help to bridge that gap between the shortfalls in mainstream medicine and NHS waiting times.

“A lot of patients we see suffer from long-term, chronic or auto-immune conditions, which can benefit from complementary medicine over and above the care they receive from their GP or specialist.

“Simple, natural remedies such as herbal teas, supplements or tinctures can, at the very least, help relieve the symptoms or anxiety associated with certain conditions and help sufferers get a better night’s sleep.

“Some of the issues we see in the clinic include menopause and other hormonal problems; stress, anxiety and panic attacks; IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and other digestive complaints; skin problems; allergies, and just plain being tired all the time.

“We know that NHS services are stretched and GPs often don’t have the time, resources or jurisdiction to take a more holistic view, but that’s where herbal medicine can help.”

The new Kingdom Community Clinic is open to men, women and children of all ages, and is believed to be the first of its kind in Scotland.

It will run on the following dates for the next three months and then four-weekly thereafter:

·        Friday, 24 January

·        Saturday, 25 January

·        Friday, 21 February

·        Saturday, 22 February

·        Friday, 20 March

·        Saturday, 21 March

The cost for an initial consultation, which lasts approximately an hour-and-a-half, is £15 – with follow-up appointments costing £10 thereafter.

The students taking part in the Kingdom Community Herbal Clinic are mature students, for whom herbal medicine is an addition to their existing medical profession, qualification and skillset.

Among those who will be consulting in partnership with Keren Brynes MacLean MNIMH, for example, include a junior doctor, paediatrician and Friends of the Earth professional.

To book, contact Health Food and More on 01592 566466.

Find out more, including directions, at

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Lynda Hamilton Parker is a Scottish PR expert and independent publisher

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