Napiers – A Scottish National Treasure

Very excited to have had an Edinburgh trip over the weekend, gave me a chance to stock up on some goodies from Napiers – Edinburgh’s famous Herbal Medicine shop. Though there is another ‘Napiers’ store in Glasgow, this shop is where it all started, over 150 years ago. Let me tell you a little bit more about this Scottish institution….

A Brief History of Napier’s

Steeped in history, Napier’s was founded in 1860 by Duncan Napier – a Victorian botanist and herbalist, who started off making cough syrups from wild harvested plants. His aim was ‘to provide a safe and affordable alternative choice to chemical medicine’ And so it grew from there into a thriving family business, staying in the Napier family right until the 1970’s. Since then it has changed hands several times and undergone some restructuring, including the development of the Herbal Practice in the 1990s, thanks to Herbalist Dee Aitkinson. Until about 2005, many of the herbal preparations were made right there on site. However these days I’ve been told they are made on a bigger premises in Scotland. You can read more about the Napier’s story here:

Modern Day Napier’s

These days it is thriving as the main complimentary medicine hub in Edinburgh. It was lovely to see such a vibrant shop and therapy centre – one obviously loved by the local community. Rose the aptly named and lovely assistant assured me that it was not going anywhere any time soon! Every time I’ve been in here, I’ve always been given brilliant advice from the Napier’s team (you know even herbalists need a bit of help or a second opinion occasionally!)

So next time you’re in Edinburgh, pay this little corner a visit (Bristol Place). It’s a treasure trove for any herbalista, with an array of lotions & potions, tinctures and teas. A hot cup of herbal tea awaits by the entrance and once inside you get to sample some of the tincture tasters – which I think all herbal shops should offer! Despite the updated and bright modern flourish, from the minute you walk in you still get a sense of the history of the place – a few of the jars on the shelves are the originals from over 100 years ago and I was told the recipe cards dotted around are the original recipes – many of which are still used in the tincture blends on the shelves today. On sale are pre-blended tinctures, cough syrups, teas, ointments and more. Many have been formulated by the herbalist Dee Aitkinson. The creams and ointments are top quality, I highly recommend them. Don’t be shy about asking for help either – the staff really know their stuff! Otherwise, you also have the option of booking in for a consultation with one of the Napier’s herbalists (generally advised if you have complicated/chronic health issues) and an individual herbal mix can be dispensed for you.

My Product Pick?

I would have liked to have tried them all, but having a cold I settled on the ‘Echinacea Superplus’ – an immune boosting/anti-microbial tincture combination of Echinacea and anti-bacterial Goldenseal, amongst a few other herbs. Perfect for heavy duty help to fight of those winter bugs. Don’t expect it to taste great (the bitterness is thanks to the Goldenseal!) but it does work.

Oh yeah… for those of you who can’t visit the shop in person -now being a modern company, it does have an online shop with home delivery! 😉 Take a look at some of the wonderful products available here: Napier’s Online:


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