Being a medical herbalist informs everything I do and that is to empower people to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. I try to be as open minded as possible to alternative ways to do this, but I also find that my Scottish roots have instilled a great big dollop of common sense in me. That and the medical training many people don’t realise that most herbalists have.
Someone once called me a ‘realist herbalist’ – I do not knit my own yoghurt, I eat chips sometimes and I am not against pharmaceutical medicine.
I just believe in finding the best solution to each problem. Sometimes that will be a herbal solution, sometimes it won’t. I aim to build trust with the people who come to me by being as truthful as I can about what I think is required. I started out working in theatre, film and television and became increasingly aware of the negative effects that working in a consistently high pressure environment can have on a person’s health. This observation (and a number of co-incidences) led me to the doors of the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine where I studied a Batchelor of Science degree in Herbal Medicine and later became a Member of the National Institute of Herbal Medicine (MNIMH) www.nimh.org.uk. As part of my training, I also qualified in Clinical Aromatherapy, Therapeutic Massage and then completed the COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills, Emotional Freedom Technique and advanced Reiki training.
I enjoy using elements of all my training during a herbal consultation so that each patient benefits from a truly individually tailored approach. I believe it is very important to involve each person in their journey to health so that they feel empowered and supported. It is important to me to ensure that every person has the right to the very best integrated healthcare. I promote working in partnership with GPs and other healthcare providers. To further that goal I am a member of The College of Medicine and Integrated Health.
When I’m not in clinic, I write, mainly, but not always, about health matters. There are musings of mine out there in print and online. I wrote and presented the Scottish Hedgewitch series of short films and articles for BBC Scotland Online exploring our herbal traditions.
I am known as an industry expert – the sole herbalist advisor to Twinings International and expert panel member for The Food People and Nexus PR and have advised leading herbal producers.
I love to meet people so I get a real kick out of running workshops & classes, herb walks and talks all over the world. As a story lover, I have a keen interest in ethnobotany and devote a lot of time to learning about the relationship with people and plants. Some of my favourite learning ventures have been in my native Scotland, Uganda and most recently in Bali, Indonesia.