I have been a practicing
medical herbalist for over 22 years since qualifying as a Member of the
National Institute of Medical Herbalists after an in depth four year training.
Over the years I have probably treated about two thousand people. As well
as being a consultant herbalist I have run short courses on herbal medicine
in colleges, given many hundreds of talks to any organisation who is interested,
given radio interviews and written numerous articles some of which you
can read on this website. I am also a part time lecturer at Lincoln University
on the BSc (Hons) course in Herbal Medicine. I regularly open my practice
for 'herb days' for anyone who wants to know more about herbs, identify
them and how to use them for everyday ailments.
My main practice for the last ten years has been in Bilston, Wolverhampton. Before that I was based in Erdington, Birmingham and now practice there again as well as in Stourbridge.
Prior to training to be a herbalist I gained an honours degree from Imperial College University of London in Zoology and Applied Parasitology and taught biology both in schools and sixth form colleges.
I have always had a great love for plants and enormous respect for their healing power. I was brought up being given herbs by my Austrian mother; Peppermint drops on sugar lumps for tummy aches and Chamomile tea for period pains. My grandparents had a farm in rural Norfolk where I spent idyllic long school holidays and most weekends throughout my childhood. I was left totally free to wander about the farm, spend time with the animals and explore the woods. I learnt to rub in dock leaves when stung with nettle stings and climbed the two huge trees planted by my great-grandmother to pick and eat fresh walnuts. From the lane next to the farm each year I would collect snowdrops for my grandmother in winter and primroses in the spring. I once got shooed out of the house in no uncertain terms having brought in May, Hawthorn flowers. My grandmother told me it was bad luck. Years later I learnt the folk law surrounding her concern was that Hawthorn is under the jurisdiction of the Moon Goddess and if you pick it and bring it into the house she will steal your husband away from you.
In my early twenties I read a book by the herbal vet Juliette de Bairacli Levy that inspired me enormously and I foraged armed with a copy of Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe for identification purposes. I remember being totally in awe when coming across a massive specimen of evening primrose growing wild on Southampton common. This was years before evening primrose oil became a household name.
All this may have remained simply an interest until it all came together when I was pregnant with my first child and came across a book on natural childbirth, which mentioned that Britain was the only country in the world that offered a four-year training course in Herbal Medicine. Even when I went for my initial interview I wasn't aware until I got there that the training was to qualify as a practitioner. After the birth of my daughter I started studying in earnest and the rest as they say is history.