Dr Sandra Clair (PhD, Health Sciences) is one of New Zealand’s most highly qualified plant medicine experts, a health scientist, medical anthropologist (M.A.), and the founder of New Zealand’s leading traditional plant medicine company, Artemis.
A clinician for more than 25 years, she received a sought-after scholarship from the University of Canterbury to investigate ways to formally integrate traditional plant medicines into a modern, evidence-based healthcare system. For this work she was awarded a PhD in Health Sciences in 2019.
Driven by the genuine desire to make it easy and pleasurable to look after our health, Sandra’s vision is to share her proven medical knowledge of plants to benefit the health of our communities.
Sandra grew up in Switzerland, at the foothills of the Swiss Alps – a living, breathing, natural pharmacy. In this environment, Sandra experienced first-hand the healing power of plants.
In parallel to her academic studies she undertook a traditional apprenticeship with Franciscan nun, midwife and medical herbalist, Sister Pauline, who gifted her the most significant medical textbook on Traditional European Medicine, a 500-year-old Renaissance pharmacopeia, the Materia Medica.
After moving to New Zealand, Sandra established a health clinic in Dunedin, and also developed an appreciation for the alpine hills of Central Otago where she found not only natural beauty, but exceptionally potent plants, strengthened by the harsh climate and environment they thrive in. Sandra began harvesting Central Otago Thyme and other wild-growing plants from the region and, once she had established Artemis in 1998, used them in formulations which she continues to refine today.
A member of the New Zealand Association of Medical Herbalists committee, Sandra is passionate about helping to grow the professional body and promote the profession of medical herbalists. For her work at Canterbury University, she was recognised as a UC Alumni Ambassador. In 2016 she was appointed to the Ministry of Health Permitted Substances Subcommittee.
Today, Sandra continues to lead the research and development programme at Artemis, also overseeing quality and education, while actively working with media and the government to regulate plant medicine as an important healthcare option in New Zealand.