September was a special month for our community herbal clinic as it officially turned 2 years old. We can’t believe how quickly it’s gone!
Since opening in 2015 our clinic has been going from strength to strength, and at the two year mark we’ve now seen nearly 200 patients for 650 appointments, and treated a huge range of health conditions.
The most common reasons that people come to visit us are for help with sleeping, anxiety, feeling low in spirit, substance use, digestive issues, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, skin complaints, and hormonal imbalances. For more information about herbalism generally, and what happens in a consultation, visit this page of our website: https://www.grassrootsremedies.co.uk/wester-hailes-clinic/
Most of our referrals have come from the Wester Hailes Medical Practice and we’ve continued to work closely with the GPs to make sure we are collaborating over patient care. As well as the Medical Practice we also receive Self-Referrals, and others from the Substance Misuse Directorate, the local Community Gardens and the Health Agency.
Alongside the clinic this year we’ve been running a free community herbal education series – seasonal herbal foraging walks and medicine making workshops along the Wester Hailes Canal. Our aim as a grassroots worker’s co-operative is to empower our communities to feel more control over their own health, and form connections with others to build solidarity and resilience. We are working to cultivate short supply chains so that folks can grow or forage their own herbs and take them home to make their own medicines. So often we talk about this with the food that we eat, but why not the medicines we use?
In our last medicine making session it felt like something special was created. A year ago a local resident began planting large amounts of St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) to serve his community. It wasn’t until last month that its flowers were ready to be harvested, and we gathered a group together for a medicine making session to create infused oils.
We were able to visit the wild St John’s Wort growing by the canal, and everyone was able to take a small potted plant home to be able to grow St John’s Wort in their garden if they wanted to. It really felt like a step towards true ‘Folk Medicine’ – Medicine of the People.
We are hoping to build on this next year and create more opportunities for folks to grow herbs across the area, process them into medicines for themselves and the community clinic, and attend peer-led study groups to learn how to use them at home.