Grass Roots Remedies co-op runs low cost community herbal clinics and free educational community workshops around foraging, growing medicinal herbs, remedy making and community health in two areas of multiple deprivation in Edinburgh.
The widespread prevalence of comorbidity and poverty in these areas means that folk are more vulnerable to serious and long standing effects from covid-19 if infected. Alongside this threat, social distancing measures are also having a large impact on residents’ psycho-emotional health.
We believe that holistic plant medicine is more important than ever during this time and in order to respond to the current crisis within these communities we have produced several herbal remedies which we think will be most useful to folk. These are currently a mixture of herbal teas, creams, ointments and syrups to support folks by both remedies that may be useful with the wider anxieties around this time, for example a ‘Night-Time Tea’, nutritious remedies to support immune function and those that may be useful in relieving common symptoms such as our chest rub.
We have linked up with crisis food provision services in both areas in order to reach folk in the community who are not already involved with our clinics and education programmes with an aim to reach the most vulnerable in these neighbourhoods.
We attend two weekly (one in each neighbourhood) free takeaway lunch services where we have a stall so folks who are queuing can also come and chat to us, receive free herbal remedies and hear about our low cost community herbal clinics and community herbalism initiatives in the area.
Local residents who have been involved with us for some time are helping us develop the project to serve the needs of each community, and are helping us deliver remedies. One couple have even given over their front yard to become a community herbal remedy pick up point for folks who would like to collect them themselves.
Alongside this herbal remedy distribution project and in response to our social community workshops being suspended, we have set up the ‘Wester Hailes Community Herbalism’ facebook page for folks to stay connected and share experiences during this time which has a lot of activity from ideas regarding neighbourhood issues, garden tours, community garden maps, herbal remedy recipe shares and seed and plant swapping.