Mobile Herbal Clinic Calais – a Community crowdfunding project in Calais by Mobile Herbal Clinic Calais

For the past five years, Mobile Herbal Clinic Calais (formerly Herbalists Without Borders UK – Calais) has been present in northern France to support refugees and migrants who risk their lives to cross the British Border.

Since October 2019, we have seen more than 10,000 people injured due to police violence, along with upper respiratory illness, skin complaints, digestive issues and more. Our drugs are made by a private network of grassroots drug manufacturers and growers. Together we made and distributed more than 6,000 medicines at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We lost our main funder this winter and failed for a handful of grants. We are now asking our community to support us to continue this incredibly important work so we can continue!


Mobile Herbal Clinic Calais is a private mobile clinic held the first week of each month in Calais and Dunkirk. The clinic provides preventive medicine, personal care support, first aid and access to health services to hundreds of refugees and undocumented immigrants living in the region.

As you would expect from people living in damp, cold, unsanitary conditions, ordinary minor health issues like bites and blisters become infected and progress to more serious problems. People suffer from cough, cold and flu. Bruises and sprains from falling from trucks. Bruises from beatings by the French police. Diseases caused by spending time in a refrigerated truck or a sinking fender.

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Refugees theoretically have access to emergency health services and a free state-run clinic in France – but they often do not know the processes or locations and face many logistical challenges to access them. In addition, people face constant police evictions that disrupt access to services. That’s why our presence is so important because while we refer many people to local services, we also offer medicines such as cough syrup and chest rubs that provide direct relief. Examples of herbal remedies available in our dispensary include cough syrups, chest lotions, bruise ointments, mouthwashes, indigestion lozenges, antifungal creams, foot powder, and more.

As a personal care and protection tool, we offer herbal remedies as they are fortifying. It is especially important in terms of anti-viral, musculoskeletal and wound care support. Our medicines are grown, harvested and produced in solidarity with people seeking asylum in the UK and defying the hostile environment they have to face.


Each trip costs around £2400. Funds are spent on:

  • Pharmaceutical making costs are our main expense – we do almost everything ourselves (growing and harvesting most of the herbs we use) to ensure quality and sustainability. We buy materials (oil, glycerin, wax, etc.) that we cannot produce ourselves.
  • Packaging – Since people living in terrible conditions cannot afford glass containers, we buy thousands of bottles and tubs each year that are both lightweight and unbreakable.
  • First aid supplies – we go through thousands of dressings, bandages, braces and other first aid supplies.
  • Travel costs – the cost of petrol, ferries and eurotunnel is constantly rising
  • Salaries – The team is led each month by a clinical supervisor – a physician or experienced clinical herbalist and logistics taken care of by a Field Coordinator. There are two herbal first aids accompanying them. For team members with coordination responsibilities, the workload of setting up a clinic for hundreds of people each month is no small feat. Journeys can take 6-7 days, among other things to drive, pre-prepare medication, trip preparation tasks, and more. To keep the clinic going, we have funded a £400-a-month fellowship for these coordinating roles last year. We want this to continue in order to preserve the viability of the clinic over the long term so that we can continue to support thousands of people with herbal remedies.
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We are witnessing an unprecedented mass movement of displaced people in our lives. People from all over the world are scattered along the northern French coastline to cross the British border. English law mandates illegal entry into the UK for almost all asylum seekers. This means that people risk their lives to cross the English Channel by boat or climbing into or under trucks. In the process, many people died and countless others were injured. The channel is currently one of the deadliest crossings in the world.

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People often flee from poverty, war and conflict, state violence and oppression. Individuals make dangerous journeys from Kurdistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia, Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Palestine, Pakistan, Chad, Iraq, Albania, Senegal, Libya and Ethiopia and many more. Many are children and young adults. The refugee crisis has intersecting causes; from wars and conflicts to climate change. The drivers of violence affecting people include racism, colonialism, the growing far right, and institutional profiteering from the border regime.

The Mobile Plant Clinic is important because no more people should be killed at the border. People deserve health care. People deserve freedom. Through the clinic, we can support thousands of people, train herbalists and paramedics on the front lines of refugee health and acute herbal medicine, and build medicine-making skills and infrastructure for what awaits us. From the thousands of interactions we have with people living in the camps, we know that they value our medicine, that the warmth of solidarity makes a difference and that we are needed. Please help us keep this work going – we need your support more than ever.


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