Sandra Clair, Founder of Artemis, is one of New Zealand's leading medical herbalists and expert in traditional plant medicine. We caught up with Sandra to find out more about her background in natural health, and how she came to start the well known Artemis range of teas, oils and tinctures.

1. Tell us a little bit about your background and how Artemis started?

I grew up in Switzerland where natural healthcare is a living tradition and a normal part of modern medicine. I trained to become a Medical Herbalist by combining a traditional apprenticeship with scientific study, working alongside Sister Pauline, a renowned Swiss herbalist, midwife and nun who passed down to me the ancient art of collecting, harvesting and preparing plant medicines. I learned clinical skills in a community practice and undertook training in health sciences and herbal medicine from universities in Australia and New Zealand.

In 1995 I started my clinic in Dunedin, practicing as a medical herbalist. The traditional plant medicine I was used to prescribing in Switzerland wasn’t available. Through necessity, I created my own traditional remedies – teas, tinctures and creams using some of the high quality plants growing wild in Central Otago. The word spread about my range, and soon local health stores were calling me with orders to stock them. I wanted to share my knowledge of, and passion for, plant medicine with everyone who wanted to experience it. And so, I created Artemis.

2. What do you do to incorporate plant medicine in to your daily routine?

I drink Thyme Lemon Tonic, which is made from potent Central Otago Thyme which is invigorating and supports the chest, soothes the throat and provides all year round immune support.

During the winter months especially, I keep a ViroGone spray close to hand which can be used proactively to help support and boost immunity and protect against winter ills. It’s great for our busy lifestyles and using when you’re on the go. I particularly find it handy when I travel on the plane.

3. What daily rituals do you have to keep well and healthy

I support my liver and kidneys daily so that they can detox properly and provide protection from corrosive environmental pollutants. I also walk at lunch time through native bush down to a beautiful coastal inlet. It clears my head and keeps my body fit.

4. Why would you recommend people try plant based medicine?

In many countries, including Switzerland and Germany, there is a tradition of using plant medicine as a normal part of contemporary medicine. Modern science is now validating the effectiveness of many remedial plants such as St John’s Wort and thyme which have been used for centuries in plant medicine.

I do find that even in New Zealand, many people are more open to going back to the traditional ways of healthcare, and the reason is that some of the medications we have more recently relied on are not working so well for us – antibiotics are one example. Self-care is taking different turns and I’d always encourage the use of high quality plant medicine as part of overall health and wellness.

5. What is your favourite Artemis product and why?

I’d have to pick two, for different reasons. As we are heading into winter, the ViroGone range. This formulation incorporates eight immune boosting plants including echinacea, thyme, olive leaf, St Mary’s thistle and angelica. This formula was inspired by The Robber's Recipe as it was originally developed during the Black Plague in the 1600s. The recipe seemingly gave robbers immunity from the plague which meant they could rob the houses of the those who had passed. The French King got word and spared the robber's lives for the recipe when they got caught.

My every day favourite is Liver Detox Tea. If you can do one thing for your health, then wake up to this tea remedy to support your liver health, normal cholesterol levels and that general sluggish feeling.

6. Can you tell us how Artemis harvests its ingredients?

The potency and quality of ingredients can vary widely and we are lucky enough to have some of the best quality plants growing wild in New Zealand. We harvest thyme and St John’s Wort in Central Otago. We harvest by hand, and every year the harvest is timed to perfection to ensure the plants are at their best.

Understanding the ways to harvest without damaging the plants for future growth, and to guarantee the freshness and quality of the ingredients is part of our expertise and what ensures the quality and efficacy of the formulated product.

7. What do you love most about Artemis and your amazing product range?

The thing I love most is being able to share the power of traditional plant medicine with other people who may never have considered it as a real option. I am really excited by some of the studies that we are doing on Central Otago Thyme. Validating the potency and strength of this special plant which grows wild in our own back yard and being able to use it in our range is very exciting. So now we need to share our love with people around New Zealand, and indeed the world.

8. How can plant based medicine assist women in pregnancy?

The changes your body undergoes during pregnancy are many – some are obvious and some are more subtle. For many women it is a challenging time. Included in our range is a special Pregnancy Tea which is a is traditional European midwifery formula to care, nourish and strengthen your body throughout pregnancy and for birth.

For many women, pregnancy is a time when they are introduced to plant medicine as a trusted but gentle and effective natural support option for good health and relief of symptoms.

9. What are the benefits of using organic ingredients in your products?

The plants we use at Artemis are either farmed organically, or grown wild. We know that the medicinal properties of plants are higher when they are grown free from pesticides and herbicides. These chemicals are not good for human health and nor are they good for our environment. So we omit them completely.

10. Do you incorporate any other products we sell at HealthPost into your routine?

There are many great products on the HealthPost website that have guaranteed good ingredients in them. For example, I love the Nutra Organics Bone Broth range, the BioBalance liposomal range, and the BioBalance Certified Organic Raw Cacao powder.

Shop the full Artemis range online now.