~ Foreign & Medical Botanists since 1860 ~

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The Napiers Story

Napiers the Herbalists was founded by Duncan Napier, who despite being abandoned at birth, went on to become an eminent Victorian botanist and the most famous herbalist in Scotland. His legacy lives on.

Within hours of his birth in 1843, Duncan was abandoned by his mother. He was taken in and raised by the local innkeeper and his wife, an alcoholic who beat him severely and used him little better than a slave. Apprenticed to a baker at the age of 9, the flour dust triggered a cough he could not shake off. He left home at the age of 15 and inspired by his mentor John Hope, started to attend Scientific Botany classes and later joined the Edinburgh Botanical Society. Looking for a cure for his cough, he became interested in herbs and created his famed Lobelia Cough Syrup. The result so successful that it inspired him to become a herbalist and open a shop to make herbal remedies available for the people of Edinburgh. 

On 25 May 1860 Duncan opened a herbal shop in Bristo Place where people queued for hours to see him to get a herbal cure for their ailments. At the weekends he walked the Scottish hills, collecting plants and herbs for his herbal remedies, sold as far away as New York. He became a well-respected member of the Medical Reformers of England and the British Pharmaceutical Society. His three sons, and then his grandsons joined the business and it became D. Napier and Sons.

The business continued in the Napier family until the sad death of John Napier during the 1970s. Napiers became a health food store for a while and was then bought by Jan De Vries in the 1980s. In 1989, Dee Atkinson started practicing and revived the herbal clinics, taking the practice over in 1990 until 2012. She was joined in 2007 by Monica Wilde who invested in the company. Licensing laws introduced in 2011 resulted in a restructuring and nowadays Napiers is a group of companies and affiliated independent clinics with accredited Napiers practitioners.

Over the last 161 years, Napiers has become one of the UK's leading names in complementary and natural health care. We are dedicated to the best of health and wellbeing through the use of herbal medicine and other natural therapies. 

Today, we sell our natural products - all proudly made in Britain - all over the world. We are an independent company, owned by people who are passionate about what we do and we proudly continue our founder Duncan Napier's dream "to provide an affordable choice of natural health care for all people".

Our natural ranges include:

  • Natural therapeutic skincare
  • Botanical beauty
  • Herbal remedies
  • Herbal food supplements
  • Digestifs and bitters
  • Teas and superfoods

We remain true to our past, developing combination herb formulas (known as the tonic herb principle) to treat the whole person and the whole body. We also make many of our medicines at traditional practitioner-strength dose levels. These principles have been the mainstay of British herbal medicine, distinct from European herbal medicine, and more akin to that practiced in the US.

We continue to provide many herbal food supplements. Blends of tinctures that support your diet to help you stay healthy in today's challenging and often stressful environment. The key to good health is prevention and we believe that herbs are essential both as food and as medicine ~ often the only difference is in the dose.

Our motto is TRIED • TESTED • TRUSTED and we live this daily. Our remedies have been tried by generations of people, who have tested them and return to us decade after decade, who have trusted us and who still do.

We are dedicated to the best of health and wellbeing through the use of herbal medicine and other natural therapies. 

Napiers accredited practitioners are qualified and members of their practice associations such as NIMH (The National Association of Medical Herbalists).

Our herbal products are second to none. We produce a range of tried, tested, trusted herbal medicines and therapeutic skin creams. All our products are tested in clinics and used by herbalists. Napiers products have been available in many parts of the world since 1890.

Until 2005 we manufactured many of Mr Napiers' formulas and tonics on site, using traditional methods. However, in 2005 we transferred our manufacturing to licensed factories where they are made to modern standards. All our manufacturing is done in the UK and we also source our herbs primarily from farms in the UK, with some coming from Europe and the USA. We run a pharmacovigilance system and aim for the highest standards in both our scientific understanding of herbal medicine as well as our commitment to clinical excellence.

In 2007, Monica Wilde took on the new challenges of licensing our Napiers medicines and expanding the market for them. In 2008, we acquired a portfolio of traditional PL licences from Rickard Lane's in Plymouth, Potters and other Victorian herbalists that closely matched Napiers traditional formulas. Since then we have been busy updating these and converting them to the new THR licensing scheme. Duncan Napiers' wish was "to provide a safe and affordable alternative choice to chemical medicine"and we are committed to keeping a range of over-the-counter herbal medicines available to customers, as well as a choice of consultations with our medical herbalists who prescribe individual medicines made up in our dispensaries.

Monica Wilde runs the mailorder and wholesale activities, including the advice line, a herbal research program and safety, quality and pharmacovigilance. 

Dee Atkinson MNIMH runs the Napiers Edinburgh Clinic, working with other practitioners to provide excellence in alternative choices of healthcare. Between the Napiers Edinburgh, Napiers Glasgow run by Nikki Biddiss MNIMH & Donna Henslee, and Napiers Bathgate run by Monica Wilde, Ryan Henery & Caitlin Keddie, between 22,000 and 23,000 patients visit every year for a wide range of complaints and problems. 

Napiers the Herbalists, now supplies Napiers herbal products to several hundred health stores and independent pharmacies in the UK. We also export to Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, Scandinavia and many other countries. We also supply the "original formulas" to Belif, the natural beauty brand from South Korea.

Excited to find out more about what Napiers the Herbalists has to offer?