Press releases

January 12, 2021

Fife Medical Herbalist Supports Mental Health and Food Banks with £5 Consults

A Fife medical herbalist is reaching out to people in need during lockdown by offering online mini-consultations for a minimum donation of £5 to local food banks.

Keren Brynes MacLean says she isn’t able to offer in-person consultations under lockdown, but she’s seen a marked rise in the need for help with mental health issues.

“Offering a 15-minute Zoom session for a minimum donation of £5 for others in need who have to use food banks seemed like a great way to help as many people as possible during these testing times when so many are strapped for cash.

“These short sessions are for people with acute conditions who need to speak to a medical herbalist for quick, immediate advice. Chronic conditions require a more in-depth consultation and should be booked in the normal way.”

Keren, who owns the practice at Health Food and More in Kirkcaldy, added: “It’s unfortunate that the Scottish Government has decreed that medical herbalists cannot hold face to face consultations during lockdown except in exceptional circumstances, even though we have social distancing and PPE measures in place.

“They seem not to realise that unlike bodywork therapists, we do not have to have physical contact with our patients.

“However, we do what we can, and this lockdown offer will go some way, hopefully, to making sure people get the help they need at a very difficult time.

“The more people we help at the clinic via Zoom, the more money we can pass on to the food bank, so it’s a win-win.”

People can make an appointment by phone on 01592 566446 and pay online through the website


November 17, 2020

“Vague Covid Guidelines Put Lives at Risk” – Natural Health Practitioner

A Fife therapist has warned lives are at risk because of vague government Covid 19 guidelines

Medical herbalist Keren Brynes MacLean is calling for clear guidance on how the different lockdown tiers should be interpreted in Scotland.

She says that without further clarity, the complementary therapy sector that currently supports the NHS will be overly restricted and that will place added pressure on the NHS. It will also put lives at risk because of the mental health impact of the ongoing pandemic.

Her call follows a move from the Integrated Healthcare Collaborative which has written to health ministers across the UK, calling on them to designate the UK’s complementary, traditional and natural therapists and practitioners as essential healthcare workers so that they can continue to support patient health and wellbeing during Tier 4 lockdowns and above.

Keren, who runs the Kirkcaldy Herbal Clinic, points out that the rules for lockdowns beyond Tier 3 are too open to interpretation. They leave many practitioners unable to fully support their patients’ mental, emotional, and physical health at a time when they need it most.

Since government restrictions were eased after the first national lockdown, this sector of the healthcare industry has been working hard to support patients with a range of health and wellbeing issues.

She says: “It’s unfathomable to me that we should deny people access to valid and professional treatments, especially when the NHS is under such stress. And with NHS pressures only set to increase as the Covid vaccination programme comes on board, we literally need all hands on deck this winter.

“As an industry, we’ve worked hard to make sure our working environments are safe and comply with government Covid 19 protocols so that means there should be very little risk of our sector increasing the spread of the virus. The benefits to public health far outweigh any small risk.

“The Scottish Government must make its position clear and demonstrate its trust in our professionalism. If we’re denied the opportunity to practice, the sector will soon be destroyed, lives will be put in danger and the NHS will lose a valuable support network.”


November 3, 2020

Fife Business Owner Aims High With November 5 Launch Of School Fundraiser

A Fife business owner is celebrating 30 years of success by putting a rocket under school fundraising with a new scheme set to launch on Guy Fawkes Day.

Keren Brynes MacLean is lighting the fuse on a cashback scheme to give 5 percent of all sales in her online shop to a nominated school.

Keren started her training as a medical herbalist on November 5, 1990. She qualified in 1996 and has since grown her business into a health food store, clinic and dispensary at Health Food and More in St Clair Street, Kirkcaldy.

She said: “It seemed fitting to mark this anniversary by giving back to the community. The initiative will be rolled out in Fife initially, but we have plans to go national if it takes off.”

Schools are being invited by email to register for the Healthy Fundraising and More initiative. Once the they have signed up, parents and supporters can nominate which school they want to receive a donation when they pay online for mail delivery or the store’s click and collect service.

“I have spent years on parent councils at schools and have seen first-hand the challenges of fundraising when everybody has such busy lives.  All schools benefit from fundraising, and with all the Covid restrictions in place, now is the time to look at new ways to do it.

“The idea it to take some of the hard work out of fundraising so that cash-strapped schools get a break.

“This is a simple and pretty effortless way for schools to raise money. They just register and let everyone know it’s available. We do the rest.”


August 14, 2020

Teens Land Support for War on Litter

Two Markinch schoolchildren waging war on local litter louts have won financial support from an impressed Fife business owner.

Alex Thomson and Jack Wilson, who call themselves the Markinch Litter Picker Warriors, have bagged £250 in sponsorship for their efforts from Health Food and More in Kirkcaldy.

The two 13-year-olds, who go to Auchmuty High School in Glenrothes, are keen to raise awareness of how much litter is thrown away irresponsibly and how to avoid it.

They said they were delighted with the backing. “We’re really passionate about cleaning up our environment. This is a great start for us to buy the right equipment and do the job properly,” Alex said.

The pair now have a cart for the rubbish they collect as well as a supply of bags and protective gloves to keep them safe as they work.

Jack added: “It seems such a shame to leave our beautiful outdoor spaces covered in litter that takes away from enjoying our countryside. Hopefully others will join us in taking action once they see what we can do.”

Health Food and More store owner and medical herbalist Keren Brynes MacLean said: “I was so impressed with this initiative I was delighted to support them.

“We’ll also be sponsoring litter picking events to help to clean up public places like the Bleach Fields, a beautiful reclaimed wildflower meadow in Coaltown of Balgonie.”


Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Fifers urged to take daily vitamin D supplement to combat the health effects of lockdown

A Fife health store is urging people in the Kingdom to take vitamin D supplements this Spring and Summer to help combat the potential health effects of lockdown.

Kirkcaldy’s Health Food and More, which is Fife’s only independent health store to currently remain open, is recommending a daily dietary supplement of vitamin D – otherwise dubbed the ‘sunshine vitamin’ – to help support the immune system and ward off illness and infections.

Its advice is in line with guidance published on the Scottish Government website this month.

Consultant medical herbalist Keren Brynes Maclean explained: “While we’re in lockdown, it’s unlikely that many of us will be getting our recommended daily amount of vitamin D from the sunshine or our diets alone.

“Our skin makes vitamin D when exposed to the sun, but this is unlikely to happen naturally, in sufficient amounts, during lockdown.”

Current UK Government advice is that people in Britain should already be taking a daily supplement of 10mcg during the Winter months between October and March, while those who are unable to spend much time outdoors are recommended to take a supplement all year round.

People at particular risk have traditionally included those who are housebound, live in a care home, wear clothing which covers most of the skin while outdoors, and those with darker skin. 

Now, as lockdown continues, Health Food and More says more and more people may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency, such as families who live in flats and are unable to spend adequate time outdoors.

Keren added: “Vitamin D is really important for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. A lack of it could lead to bone deformities such as rickets, which has long been thought of as a disease of the middle ages and could cause weak or soft bones in children.”

Health Food and More recommends that the quickest way to get vitamin D into the bloodstream is by taking oral or sublingual supplements. This means the supplements are absorbed though the tongue and quickly released into the body.

There is plenty of scientific research to suggest that taking vitamin D supplements can help to support overall immunity.

Health Food and More is currently offering a postal service whereby customers can place orders over the phone and have their vitamins delivered.

To order vitamin D supplements by phone, please call Health Food and More on 01592 566446.


Wednesday, 17 March 2020

New online health consultations and drive by medicine collection service launches in Fife

People in Fife who are currently self-isolating or staying indoors because of coronavirus will now be able to consult a medical herbalist online and have their medicines, vitamins, supplements and health foods delivered thanks to new measures being rolled out by Health Food & More in Kirkcaldy.

Concerned Fifers can book a 15 to 20-minute Skype consultation with a professional medical herbalist for a reduced fee to discuss issues such as boosting immunity, stress, anxiety, sleep disorders or just needing a general pick-me-up.

These new Herbal Health Checks, which are available online or in-store, are just one of a series of measures being introduced by Health Food & More, which has also launched a drive by collection service so that customers can pick up their shopping without getting out of the car.

The drive by service means customers can stop outside the shop for staff to load their shopping, such as remedies, vitamins and supplements, natural soaps and toothpastes, eco cleaning products, and vegan food products, into the boot of their car while they wait.

The St. Clair Street store, which is also home to Fife Herbal Dispensary, is even offering a postal shopping service for customers who can’t get out and about or would rather phone in their orders and have them delivered to their home address.

Keren Brynes Maclean MNIMH, who is one of two medical herbalists at Health Food & More, said: “Because of recent developments which mean people are being advised to stay at home, my colleague, Wendy Kelly, and I will be offering Skype consultations over the next few months, as well as face-to-face appointments in the clinic to support people with their health during this challenging time.

“Our new Skype Herbal Health Checks are designed to address common concerns such as stress, fatigue and immunity rather than chronic or long-standing issues, for which we are required to carry out a full health assessment and in-depth consultation in the clinic.

“After a Skype consultation, we can pop any prescribed medicines in the post or arrange for the customer to collect them by car. This will minimise person to person contact and help to protect both the person who is isolating and the wider community.” 

Health Food & More will also continue to offer its regular herbal medicine clinics in-store on request. The next Kingdom Community Herbal Clinic for people on lower incomes is set to take place at Health Food & More on Friday, 20 March and Saturday 21 March, 2020.

Find out more at or call 01592 566446 to book an appointment.


Wednesday, 2 March 2020

Fife health food store reports surge in footfall and increased sales of vitamins and supplements in response to COVID-19 outbreak

A Fife health food store has reported a surge in footfall and increase in sales of vitamins and other supplements since the COVID-19 outbreak as people in the Kingdom look to boost their immunity and increase resilience against the virus.

Health Food & More in Kirkcaldy has seen a 15 per cent increase in footfall over the Winter months and a steadyrise in sales compared to the same period last year.

The shop, which is home to Fife Herbal Dispensary, has also seen an increase in bookings for one-to-one herbal medicine consultations, with people keen to protect their health and reduce vulnerability to viruses and antibiotic resistance bacteria.

Owner Keren Brynes Maclean MNIMH, who is an experienced medical herbalist, says she expects the trend to continue – particularly now that Scotland’s first case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Tayside.

Keren said: “People are right to take preventative measures to protect their health. We may not yet be able to stop the epidemic, but there are steps we can take to boost our immunity and lessen the frequency and severity of viral infections.

Keren recommends looking for supplements containing the following herbs, which have been proven to help boost immunity and increase resilience against disease:

Echinacea – this go-to immune herb has become a bit of a household name in recent years. Native to North America, it has been extensively researched for treating colds and flu. Not only has it proved effective in preventing colds, but it can reduce the duration of infections too. It works by increasing the number of white blood cells that help to fight infection. Since coronaviruses are also responsible for the common cold and pneumonia, echinacea may have the potential to increase resistance against other emerging viral strains.

Elderberry – Scotland’s native elderberry has come under the spotlight in recent years after several positive studies showing that it can lessen the severity and longevity of viral infections.  Unlike echinacea which stimulates host immunity, elderberry has been shown to reduce viral replication by inhibiting its ability to adhere to and penetrate cell walls in the body, thus shortening the duration and severity of upper respiratory tract infections.

Nigella sativa – another notable antiviral, otherwise dubbed the aromatic Black Seed, which was written about in the book of Isaiah in the OId Testament.  This ancient remedy, which has been used for over 4,000 years has seen a dramatic revival in recent years, because of the potent effects of its main chemical constituent, an aromatic compound called Thymoquinone which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and hepatoprotective properties. It’s known to inhibit leukotriene synthesis and histamine release, two inflammatory mediators associated with lung infection.

“It would be wrong to claim that these herbs can prevent or cure COVID-19 since we don’t have enough information yet, but their track record for being able to treat other viral infections means they could potentially be beneficial.”

Keren also recommends getting enough vitamin D, taking probiotics and eating a healthy diet.

NB This information should not replace medical advice or preventative strategies such as hand washing. If you are concerned you may have contracted COVID-19, follow NHS guidelines, self-isolate and phone for medical guidance.


Thursday, 23 January 2020

New Kingdom Community Herbal Medicine Clinic to make complementary health accessible for those on low incomes

A new Kingdom Community Herbal Clinic has launched in Fife 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.

It has been developed in partnership 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.

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 a veteran medical herbalist of more than 30 years.

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

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, said: “There are currently only around 70 NIMH qualified medical herbalists in Scotland, yet we know from our patients and ongoing research that traditional, or allopathic, healthcare doesn’t have all the answers.

“We also know that the drugs don’t always work. 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, 21 February
  • Saturday, 22 February
  • Friday, 20 March
  • Saturday, 21 March
  • Friday, 17 April
  • Saturday, 18 April

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

To book, please contact Health Food & More on 01592 566466 or email

Find out more, including directions, at


Notes to editors:

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.

Case studies are available on request.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

New eco-friendly pop-up shops to support Fife crafters in the run up to Christmas  

Fife crafters are being given an exclusive opportunity to showcase their creative talents in the lead up to Christmas, thanks to a new initiative being rolled out by Health Food & More in Kirkcaldy.

They are being offered free space within the St Clair Street health store to host one-off pop-up shops to exhibit and sell their unique, handmade and eco-friendly products.

The first pop-up shop to be hosted by the independent retailer, which sells vegan foods, health supplements, and eco-friendly household products, will take place this weekend (Saturday, 12 October), with local crochet co-operative Kind Earth Cro-op occupying the space to sell crochet hats, ‘scrubbies’, cleansing pads, dish cloths, bowls and soap saver bags.

All the items for sale have been handmade by local crafters and are designed to be gentle on heads, homes and the environment.

Health Food & More’s Keren Brynes MacLean said: “We are thrilled to be launching a series of exciting and eco-friendly pop-up shops where our customers can buy unique and artisan gifts and household products.

“We also want to support local crafters to reach a wider audience and benefit from retail space they otherwise might not be able to afford at this stage of their business.

“The space within our herbal clinic is free for crafters to use and we won’t be taking a commission.”

The Kind Earth Cro-op, which is based in Kirkcaldy, has been growing in popularity since it launched earlier this year. Its five makers use recycled materials, such as denim and yarn, where they can to make their products and processes as plastic-free and sustainable as possible.

So far, the group has been showcasing and selling its products at local markets and craft fairs and is now keen to see how the Cro-op’s quirky crochet items will fare in a retail environment.

Laura Wigley of The Kind Earth Cro-op said: “This is a great opportunity for us and we are really looking forward to seeing how our products sell in a shop environment.

“They have proved really popular so far thanks, in part, to their eco credentials.”

Health Food & More’s new pop-up shops will run fortnightly from now on, with further crafters already confirmed, including Made by Me unique gift boxes handcrafted in Dunfermline; Beesy’s Beeswax Candles based in Auchtermuchty, and Saz’s Delights, which makes lamps and gifts from recycled bottles collected at Health Food and More.

Keren added: “All these products are plastic-free – fitting in with our green ethos here at Health Food & More – and are lovingly made in Fife.

“Come and join us every second Saturday to see what’s on offer.”

Health Food & More, which has just introduced two new ‘eco bays’ to its shop floor, is a herbal medicine clinic and healthy living store, which also offers health screening.

Find out more at