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Medical Herbalist

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Dr Anita Clay currently practices both conventional medicine and herbal medicine throughout Exeter and the South West.

Contact NameAnita Clay
AddressHeavitree OsteopathicClinic
5 North Street
Exeter EX1 2RH
Phone01647 253322
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Dr Anita Clay
Medical Herbalist


Dr Anita Clay is a fully qualified doctor. She trained at the London Hospital and worked as a hospital doctor until 1999.

Because of her belief that medicine is an art, as well as a science, she went on to qualify as a Medical Herbalist at The School of Phytotherapy in 1990.

She currently practices both conventional medicine and herbal medicine throughout Exeter and the South West, and is regularly to be heard on BBC Radio Devon giving advice on complementary health issues as well as conventional medicine.

Such is her belief in a sustainable future for this planet that all the herbs used are Western and sourced within the UK. The herbs are grown organically in a biodynamic way. She uses fluid extracts in a 1:1 strength, as these are more potent.

Herbal Medicine

Imagine being able to help yourself through illness with a safe, natural remedy.

Imagine being able to help your child through the seasons of coughs and colds without having to resort to antibiotics.

The beauty and wonder of Herbal Medicine is that it is natural. The body assimilates and utilises the herbs readily.

The benefits of Herbal Medicine:
  • Natural
  • Effective
  • Safe
  • Can be used in all age ranges
  • Each prescription is tailor-made for each individual
  • May be used alongside conventional medicine


At the initial consultation a full case history is taken concentrating on the main problem, then also looking at the whole body systems to see the effect on the whole body. Questions of past medical history, family history are taken. A look at diet and lifestyle too.

An examination is done where necessary and possibly blood tests done where appropriate.

Herbal treatment comes in many forms! More often than not patients prefer Fluid Extract Liquid Medicine in dropper form that is easily taken. Sometimes ointment for skin complaints are given, or teas for a young child, with Honey!

The Herbs are chosen uniquely for your individual condition, tailored just for you.

Review will be within the first two weeks when the Herbal Medicine may be slightly altered to adapt as the body heals.

Further appointments at the following month, and thereafter roughly every 3 to 4 months. Acute conditions are treated more rapidly and sometimes follow-up is not needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is herbal medicine?

Herbal medicine is a reliable means of healthcare. The herbs act to restore the natural healing balance of the body.

By means of a combination of several herbs in the remedy, tailor made for each patient, a wide spectrum of treatment is achieved.

For example, in the case of a chest infection, not only is the actual infection dealt with by giving an antiseptic herb to cleanse the lungs, but all body systems are utilised to aid restoration of health - herbs are used to stimulate the immune system, others ensure that all the excretory organs (lungs, kidney, liver, skin) are working maximally well to eliminate toxins, and a general tonic for the depleted body.

When is herbal medicine appropriate?

Herbal medicines are appropriate for any age - from the unborn child to respected elders.

It can be used in many conditions. Generally those that you seek your doctor's advice on, may well benefit from herbal treatment -
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • headaches
  • thrush
  • bronchitis
  • irritable bowel
  • eczema
  • menopausal symptoms
  • blood pressure
- to name but a few.

Is herbal medicine compatible with conventional medicine?

At all times I bear in mind potential problems with taking both Herbal Medicine and Conventional Drugs. There is though very little research on this area, but with my understanding of the workings of the Herbs and my pharmacological knowledge I strive to ensure all is well.

How often am I seen?

This is dependent on the medical problem, though as a guide I tend to see patients again within two weeks in order to get feedback as to how things are changing and to alter the prescription accordingly. Then you may not be seen for a month following that as we allow the herbs time to work. Generally I like to see patients with long term health problems every four to six months, to keep up to date with changes and alter the Herbal Medicine accordingly.

How long do I take the Herbal Medicine for?

As a general rule the Herbs are continued for three months after full recovery but in reducing dosage, as the herbs are weaned down and the body, now strengthened can manage on its own.

Of course it depends on the condition as to the length of time that herbs are needed. An acute infection is treated in one course, but say for example anxiety, then this may require six to nine months of Herbal Medicine. For raised Blood Pressure you may take small doses of herbs each day.

A repeat request for Herbal Medicine can be made in the phone-in and then posted to you or collected.


An appointment with Dr Anita Clay can be made at either of the following clinics:

The Herbal Clinic at
Healthfoods Unlimited

5, North Street,
Tel.: 01647 25 33 22


Initial consultation (one hour) £50
Follow-up consultation (half hour) £24
Herbal medicine (per bottle, lasting approx. one month) £13

Case Histories

Mrs. J.

Mrs. J presented with long term sleep problems dating from when her children were born.

A thorough case study showed an entrenched pattern of falling asleep but waking at the slightest sound and then being unable to fall back to sleep.

In taking into consideration Mrs J's lifestyle it was suggested to establish a routine for going to bed and to introduce Relaxation Techniques. With the herbal approach it was important to aid sedation for sleep without causing drowsiness during the day or that hangover feeling sleeping tablets can give. With long term sleep difficulties it is necessary to support the Nervous System too, and maybe give a tonic to generally boost a tired body. The Herbal Medicine, uniquely made for Mrs. J, combined with the holistic approach allowed sleep patterns to return.


Depressed Susan

Sadly, and all too often, life events race ahead and leave the individual standing. Susan had experienced a number of life events that were beyond her control, both at work and within the family. Being unable to express herself to her husband she had grown very low and life was a struggle.

Having the time in a consultation to listen allowed Susan to realise things quite unprompted having never before given her the time to rational events. This alone was beneficial.

It is important to approach this depression from all aspects of daily living that being nutritionally, physically and emotionally. Together we would look at any necessary changes to diet to ensure maximum healthy diet aiding the body at times of stress. Some form of physical activity is important, be it only a walk each day. The brain is constantly active therefore allowing it relaxation time brings the brain pattern down to more restful states. Simple relaxation techniques are easily taught and do benefit.

Herbs used will need to support the nervous system with stimulating gently, and trying to relax an anxious condition without sedation, maybe checking a deficient and sluggish circulation and looking to boost other systems that may well be affected by depression e.g. digestion is often affected. If necessary a tonic to liver and kidneys is initially used too, to ensure that the main excreting organs of the body function well.

All is gently introduced, and Susan returned to full health.


Baby Joshua

Joshua was only 9 months old but continually had a snotty nose!

All too often babies seem to catch one virus after another. Back to basic principles of nutrition to ensure it will support the developing and growing child. Supporting the young body with gentle herbs aiming to support the developing immune system, giving antiseptic herbs for the lungs and upper respiratory tract and ensuring the correct lymphatic drainage will aid Rebecca’s body to health.

It is then important to avoid further infections and advice on prevention and treating acutely is given.

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