Medical Herbalist Practitioners


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Founded 1908


Principal Medical Herbalist

Seréne Foster

DPhil(Oxon), BSc(Hons) Immunology, BSc(Hons) Herbal Medicine


Senior Medical Herbalist

Ruth A Austin

BSc(Hons) Herbal Medicine, BA(Hons)

Medical Herbalist

Anna Lisa Creaco

BA (Hons) BSc(Hons) Herbal Medicine

Serene the Medical Herbalist Consultant in clinic

Seréne Foster DPhil (Oxon) BSc (Hons) BSc (Hons) MBSI MNIMH MCPP

Principal Medical Herbalist Practitioner

Serene, is a registered member of the British Society for Immunology (BSI) and of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) and of the College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy (CPP) who has been with Hydes Herbal Clinic for over 22 years and is highly experienced as a Consulting Herbalist. She is a mother of two, and is a mature, caring and dedicated practitioner, and offers the highest standards and integrity together with a deeply sympathetic approach.

Serene has an Honours Degree in the practise of Herbal Medicine from The University of Wales and an Honours Degree in Immunology from The University of Glasgow. Whilst working in the Nuffield Department of Surgery at the John Radcliffe Hospital she was awarded her Doctorate in Transplantation Immunology by Oxford University. As Dr Foster she is a highly qualified Immunologist with 28 years experience in Medical research at some of the country’s leading Institutions, including: The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford ; The Imperial Cancer Research Fund ; Imperial College School of Medicine at St Mary’s Hospital, London ; St Georges Hospital Medical School, London ; and also Leicester University in Immunotoxicology .

Serene has specialised in the Immunology of: Transplantation; Virology; Allergy; Respiratory Medicine, and Immune Function. She has published in many scientific journals on various medical and immunological matters, including on “Mite allergens” in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and also on “Contaminants of indoor air” in the Journal Immunology”.

Her current research interests are in areas of cancer, multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue, and in the specific immune function of herbs such as Echinacea and Phytolocca. She has recently written on “Echinacea and the common cold”, and writes for Bladder Health UK on herbal solutions for Urinary Tract infections, her concerns for antibiotic resistance, the role of the Microbiome on immune function and digestive, respiratory, and urinary health. She also writes on Prostate conditions and the use of Saw Palmetto, and she maintains a working knowledge of a huge number of Herbs for treating an array of medical conditions. Serene has sat on council for the CPP since 2003 and is their Director of Education holding regular seminars and education days in London. Serene sat on the council of the European Herbal and Traditional Medicine Practitioners Association (EHTPA) for 5 years promoting safety in UK Herbal Medicine.

Dr Foster’s years of experience in Orthodox Medical Immunology combines well with her experience as a Medical Herbalist Practitioner, striving for optimum immune function as the key to good health. She believes that plant chemistry holds many answers to the safe and effective treatment of the disease process and she and Hydes Herbal Clinic have treated thousands of patients back to good health with safe and effective plant chemistry. Serene and her work on Eczema was featured in "The Kathy Sykes Alternative Medicine Series on Herbal Medicine" on BBC2. She also writes monthly editorials on health and herbal medicine in the Leicester mercury. Serene has an active role in the understanding of Herbal Medicine and is frequently asked to present seminars at Herbal and Medical conferences.


Ruth the Medical Herbalist Consultant in clinic

Ruth A Austin BSc (Hons) BA (Hons) MNIMH MCPP

Senior Medical Herbalist Practitioner

Ruth is a registered Member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists and of The College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy. Ruth has a BSc (Hons) Degree in Health Sciences: Herbal Medicine from the University of Westminster. She has spent the past 11 years studying and practising Herbal Medicine, and been an active member of the East of England Medical Herbalist Group before joining Hydes, having run a successful practice in Essex.

Ruth regularly consults on a variety of health concerns, in particular hormonal problems (fibroids, emdometriosis, and sub-fertility), digestive disorders (including food sensitivities/intolerances), allergies and skin conditions. She appreciates the pressures of maintaining a work/life balance having had two children whilst studying and commuting. The impact of stress, whether it be related to work pressures, illness, environmental factors, or the demands we make on ourselves, and how it affects health should not be underestimated. Ruth is passionate about education. As a volunteer in local schools she regularly helps children with their reading and phonics, and as a herbalist she has run information sessions to highlight how lifestyle choices affect our health and wellbeing. Diet and exercise are fundamental, and with this in mind she champions a rainbow diet, regularly trying new foods and recipes, particularly for children and the elderly, who tend to stick to what is familiar. Childhood obesity and the risk of Type II Diabetes are of particular concern and Ruth is currently investigating ways in which herbal medicine can help tackle these issues. Ruth’s 2006 thesis was a systematic review of the possible/perceived Interaction between Hypericum perforatum and the contraceptive pill. This touched on the important issues of compliance and patient behavioural aspects. In the past year Ruth has attended several conferences regarding Female Health and Digestive Disorders and been a guest lecturer at the School of Pharmacy & Biomolecular Sciences at The University of Brighton.

She is a keen cyclist and walker, and even runs occasionally. She enjoys challenging herself and in the past 5 years has taken up horse-riding, skiing and indoor skydiving. She is keen to promote exercise of all sorts and highlights the positive impact it can have on mental and physical wellbeing. Ruth also has a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree in French Language and Literature from The University of East Anglia. She has lived and worked in France. At Hydes Ruth will use her French in consultations to help French speakers and is also willing to use Italian, her second foreign language should that be needed

Anna Lisa Creaco the Hydes Medical Herbalist Consultant in clinic

Anna Lisa Creaco, BA (Hons) BSc(Hons) Herbal Medicine MNIMH MCPP

Medical Herbalist Practitioner

Anna Lisa is a registered Medical Herbalist with the National Institute of Medical Herbalist and with The College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy. She has an honours degree in The Clinical Practise of Western Herbal Medicine from the University of Westminster.

She treats a wide range of medical conditions with a particular focus on gut-brain axis, looking at how the microbiome addresses a good part of our health, stress, anxiety, digestive disorders, skin conditions, immunity, and women’s and men’s health. This emerging area is a focus for both conventional and Herbal practitioners and Anna Lisa is the Hydes lead for this exciting area of research and treatment

She has been always passionate about nature and herbs since she was child, realising that to feel our best we should always think of good and nutritious food and also have a healthy understanding of self help where appropriate. Anna Lisa is thorough at arriving at a treatment protocol, with a friendly approach and offers the highest clinical standards. As an herbalist, she has a holistic approach to all health conditions, this simultaneously addresses the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual components of our health; so that it is a more complete way to understand of our health conditions and a more complete resolution to our health conditions and diseases. Her mission is to help people in the most natural way, not only through herbs but also through food and wellness, hence her motto: ‘food is the first medicine’. She advocates the principles of good diet and an active and healthy lifestyle for a long-term well-being with diet and lifestyle discussed in a consultation.

Her degree in Herbal Medicine equips her to diagnose using orthodox clinical diagnosis skills with a biomedical approach and to prescribe herbal medicines with a thorough understanding of both conventional medicine from your doctor and traditional herbal medicines.

Anna Lisa’s approach is founded in medical science and with her biomedical approach and deep understanding of phytochemicals (the biochemistry of herbal medicine) this combined understanding means that her patients come back time and time again.

She is a native Italian speaker, and fluent in English and Spanish which she uses, as required in her consultations.


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