We are here to be a voice for herbal medicine
Our mission is to share traditional, scientific and practical insights into herbal medicine that inspire a deeper understanding of the power of plants and natural healing. We will help empower, engage and evolve society’s cultural relationship with healing plants and medicines.
Who we are
We are a group of experienced herbalists and health experts committed to sharing our clinical knowledge. We are continually adding to the information that includes discussions about efficacy, quality, safety and sustainability issues, as well as traditional insights from Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Herbal Medicine and Phytotherapy. We hope you enjoy the depth of insights throughout the site.
The Herbal Expert & Research Body (H.E.R.B) are the caretakers of Herbal Reality. We are also very fortunate to have our advisory group to help and learn about herbs (HEALAH) with specialists in the multiple fields of herbalism.
Meet the H.E.R.B. team here:
Andrew Flower MRCHM, PhD
I have been practising acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) since 1992. In 2009 I completed my PhD at The University of Southampton exploring the role of CHM in the treatment of endometriosis. I have published a number of peer-reviewed papers relating to Chinese medicine research, including two Cochrane systematic reviews. In 2011 I was awarded a 5 year NIHR post doctoral Fellowship to investigate Chinese herbs for the treatment of recurrent urinary tract infections (RUTIs) that resulted in the RUTI trial. In 2017 I helped set up the recently accredited White Crane Academy of CHM. He is a founder member of the Jade Screen Project.
Alex Laird BSc, FCPP, Medical herbalist, founder Living Medicine
Reconnecting to each other, self care, food and nature are keys to our resilience. The design and rhythm of life at all levels guide my work and teaching. Since 2000, I have run the herbal dermatology clinic at Whipps Cross hospital, along with clinics in breast cancer support and general health.
I founded the charity Living Medicine to teach self care with food and herbs to public and patients alike and unlock the healing potential of gardens. Our longterm vision is to co-create with the public a hands-on beautiful Living Medicine World Garden and centre of excellence linking to medicinal gardens worldwide and revive our global traditions of natural medicine.
My book Root to Stem: a seasonal guide to natural remedies and recipes for everyday life (Penguin) was published in 2019. I am a visiting lecturer and have published herbal medicine research. I was a TV producer for 12 years, then as an aromatherapist ran clinics at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital and at centres for those with HIV and drug problems.
Vilma Matuleviciute MSc (Herbal Medicine), Nat.Dip., CST, FIRH, MNIMH
I am an experienced medical herbalist, naturopath and craniosacral therapist, in clinical practice for over 16 years. With a background in biochemistry and food technology, I studied herbal medicine and naturopathy at the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM) in Dublin, and went on to earn a Master’s degree in Western Herbal Medicine from the University of Westminster, London.
Having spent 12 years as Herbal Medicine course & clinical director, and as a senior lecturer at the CNM (Dublin), I continue teaching on various courses, provides CPD seminars for practitioners and gives talks for the public regularly.
I am a lecturer and clinic supervisor at the Excelsior Apprenticeships School of Herbal Medicine in Belfast (N.Ireland). I am also a clinical examiner and herbal clinics supervisor at the Plant Medicine School (Ireland) and manages a monthly low-cost student clinic for the public at the Red Stables in St.Anne’s Park, Dublin.
In addition, I am a lecturer and an international consultant for the Department of Holistic Medicine at the faculty of Health Science, Klaipeda University (Lithuania), and currently involved in setting up the university’s first Bachelor’s degree course in Phytotherapy. I also teach Phytotherapy on their Master’s degree program in CAM.
I am a Fellow of the Irish Register of Herbalists (IRH). I am a co-founder of the IRH and was a long-standing President of the IRH 2013-2019. Currently I am the vice-President of the IRH. In 2018-2019 I was a vice-Chair of the Federation of Irish Complementary Therapy Association (FICTA).
I am also a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH).
Anne McIntyre FNIMH, MAPA, MCPP
I am a Fellow of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, a Member of the College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy, and a Member of the Ayurvedic Practitioners’ Association. I have been in clinical practice working as a medical herbalist for nearly years and for the last 30 years have incorporated Ayurvedic philosophy and medicine into my practice, producing an integrated approach to the care of patients and prescription of herbs.
I am the author of many books on herbal medicine and Ayurveda including The Complete Woman’s Herbal, Healing Drinks, The Complete Floral Healer, Herbal Medicine for Children: Western and Ayurvedic Perspectives, The Complete Herbal Tutor, The Ayurveda Bible and Dispensing with Tradition: A Guide to using Indian and Western Herbs the Ayurvedic Way.
I run a busy practice in Gloucestershire, and lecture widely on herbal medicine and Ayurveda in the UK and USA. I run courses from my home in Gloucestershire where I tend to my beautiful herb garden which is open to the general public by appointment. I also offer online courses in Ayurveda for lay people and other professionals.
Simon Y. Mills MA, FCPP, FNIMH
I am a Cambridge medical sciences graduate and have been a herbal practitioner in Exeter since 1977. In that time I have led the main professional and trade organizations for herbal medicine in the UK and served on Government and House of Lords committees. I have written standard textbooks used by herbal practitioners around the world, including with Professor Kerry Bone from Australia.
I was involved in academic work for many years, co-founding the University of Exeter pioneering Centre for Complementary Health Studies in 1987 (where we built a complementary research and postgraduate teaching programme from scratch), then at Peninsula the first integrated health course at a UK medical school, and the first Masters degree in herbal medicine in the USA, at the Maryland University of Integrative Health.
I am particularly fascinated by the insights we can distill from the millions of intelligent people who over many centuries needed plants to survive. Mostly I want to learn and share the old skills, to experience healing plants as characters, that can help us fend off ill health. My passion for offering people tools to look after themselves and their families has led me to work with the founders of the College of Medicine on pioneering national self care and social prescribing projects. I am now the College Self Care Lead and also Herbal Strategist at Pukka Herbs.
Sebastian Pole Lic OHM, Ayur HC, MAPA, MRCHM, FURHP
I practice traditional herbal medicine, and I am a Master Herbsmith and Co-founder of Pukka Herbs.
I founded Herbal Reality to help share traditional, scientific and practical insights in herbal medicine that inspire a deeper understanding of the power of plants and natural healing. By spreading knowledge of how plants can be used for supporting sustainable health we will help empower, engage and evolve society’s cultural relationship with healing plant foods and medicines.
I am passionate about how herbalism can help serve society, the sustainable supply of organic and pharmacopoeial grade herbs as well as working with communities to protect both their livelihoods and local ecosystems. I’ve spent the last 20 years dedicated to bringing the best quality herbs for Pukka’s herbal teas and organic wellbeing supplements whilst pioneering sustainable organic and fairwild herbal value chains.
I live on a garden-farm in Somerset where I grow a rainbow spectrum of medicinal and nourishing plants for my bees and family to thrive on.
Serving on Pukka’s Board and Mission Council, a trustee of The FairWild Foundation, and the Betonica School of Medicine, the Advisory Board of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and the American Botanical Council Sustainable Herbs Project.
Author of Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional Practice (Elsevier 2006), A Pukka Life (Quadrille 2011), Celebrating 10 Pukka years (2012) and Cleanse, Nurture, Restore with Herbal Tea (Frances Lincoln 2016).
Dr. Edward Thompson
I am a General Practitioner with an expertise in Integrated Medicine. I graduated from Leicester Medical School (MB ChB) in 2007 and completed my GP training in 2012. I am a Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP). I originally graduated from St Andrews University with a Arts Degree (MA) in 1990 and then studied Homeopathy at the College of Homeopathy (LCH) from 1990 -1993.
I studied Herbal Medicine completing the East West Course in Herbal Medicine (EWCH) in 1994. I also completed the Ayurvedic Medicine Studies Program at the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque USA in 1994. I studied Chinese Herbal Medicine with the Renshu College of Chinese Medicine (Dip CHM) qualifying in 2000, as well as Acupuncture at The Southwest College of Oriental Medicine (Dip. Ac.) from which I qualified in 1998.
I also completed further Herbal Medicine modules at Westminster University from 1999-2002. I have designed and directed a professional Herbal Medicine course and I am a clinical teacher at the Leicester Medical School. I am a member of the Faculty of Homeopathy (MF Hom), the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths (MARH) and the British Register of Complementary practitioners (MBRCP). I am a fellow of the Unified Register of Herbal Practitioners (FURHP). I am a board member of the College of Medicine. My vision is of a genuine integration between the best of modern and traditional systems of medicine so giving patients choice and a greater opportunity to return to and maintain their health.
I am the founder of the Alliance for Natural Health.
I am a healthcare scientist with over 25 years of experience in the field of agriculture and healthcare sustainability, having worked in academia, industry and the not-for-profit sector.
I have worked as a leading scientist in Africa, Asia, Australia, the Americas as well as Europe. After leaving Imperial College London in 2002, I founded the Alliance for Natural Health which I am currently heading.
Meet the H.E.A.L.A.H. team here:
I am a writer and anthropologist (PhD, Harvard 1995) whose work explores the relationships between humans and the earth, most recently through my work with plants, herbal medicine, and the botanical industry.
I am the director of the Sustainable Herbs Program, a program of the American Botanical Council, which I began in 2016 to help bridge the gaps between the values of herbal medicine and the reality of sourcing and producing herbs on a global scale.
I am the co-producer of the documentary Numen: the Nature of Plants, and the author of the award winning ethnographic memoir, Thin Places: A Pilgrimage Home, based on my research in Nepal. I am a student of herbal medicine and was a 2017 Fulbright-Nehru Scholar documenting the supply chain of medicinal plants in India. My book, The Business of Botanicals: Exploring the Healing Promise of Plant Medicines in a Global Industry, will be published by Chelsea Green Publishing in February 2021.
Though my work focuses on the herb industry, I am interested in much broader questions about our role as citizens of the world and how, through our choices about the commodities we buy, we impact that world. What might exploring stories about efforts to responsibly source and produce herbal products show us about living more lightly on the earth? What insights do these stories offer for how to treat each other, the earth, and ourselves with more care and respect? And finally, what can we learn about creating worlds that are healthier—physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually?
I live with my family in central Vermont.
My consultancy business PlantaPhile® is based in the US, Germany, and the UK. It focuses on all aspects of herbal product development, registration and licensing. For the last 27 years, I have developed and managed projects for industry on the use of plants in medicine, food and cosmetics. As a consultant to the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Centre for Development of Enterprise and the International Trade Centre I have been involved in the preparation, management and execution of various public funded research projects.
In 2005 I co-founded the Association of African Medicinal Plants Standards and served as one of its directors until 2018. I am the editor-in-chief of the AAMPS African Herbal Pharmacopoeia (2010).
I have been author of Herb-CD®, a digital encyclopedia of medicinal plants, and co-authored, edited and contributed to a wide range of publications on phytotherapy and natural product regulation, most notably Physician’s Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines, Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of Indian Ocean Islands, A Practical Guide To Licensing Herbal Medicinal Products, and the translation into English of the German Commission E monographs on medicinal plants. I am a member of the editorial boards of Phytotherapy Research and Journal of Ethnopharmacology, and a regular peer reviewer for a variety of scientific journals. From 2009-2010 I spent one year as a visiting scholar at Rutgers University (NJ, USA), Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, Natural Product Research Group. I am also affiliated with the Department of Botany and Plant Biotechnology at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, and Traditional Medicinals, Inc., USA.
I have been working in the herb world in various different capacities since 2002. For much of this time my focus has been on conservation and sustainable management of endangered herb species.
For 12 years I was based in India where I was at different times a grower, a consultant and a buyer. After returning to the UK I spent 5 years as Pukka’s ‘Sustainable Herbs Manager’. I am now co-director of Earthsong Seeds, a plant nursery in Somerset, and am a student at the School of Intuitive Herbalism, where I continue to deepen my own personal relationship with the plants.
I’ve been fascinated for over 20 years by the question of how much we can learn from plants directly. In pursuit of this question I’ve developed a school (The School of Intuitive Herbalism), a professional training and written a couple of well received books.
So, how much can we learn? More than you could possibly imagine – literally.Every plant has the potential to challenge the edges of our human perception, our beliefs, our values, our relationships and our understanding of our body.
Currently most of my energy is committed to developing our professional training for natural empaths; developing their ability to learn from plants alongside their skills in supporting fellow humans.
I’m looking forward to sharing this work more widely as the school grows from strength to strength.
I completed a Permaculture Design course in 1997 and my diploma in 2000. I taught Permaculture courses and helped establish LEEP (Langford Environmental Education Project), I have been a Forest School Practitioner and completed my herbal medicine training in 2012. I live at Elder Farm a 5 acre organic off grid herb farm and currently help run The Betonica School of Herbal medicine , a community interest company founded in 2016.
I have three children and like knitting socks in my spare time.
I am a medical herbalist and member of the College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy. I initially studied a degree in pharmacology and worked in publishing on drug discovery journals. Feeling a little disillusioned by what I could see of the pharmaceutical industry and being a lover of plants, I retrained with a degree in herbal medicine followed by a masters in phytochemistry and medicinal natural products.
Everything I do, from seeing patients to planning research projects as Herbal Research Specialist at Pukka Herbs, is aimed at figuring out what works best for every individual. I am passionate about helping people gain control of their own health through diet, lifestyle and herbal medicine. Every consultation allows me to learn from the narratives of others, but I am also interested in the wider narrative of the history of medicine and how we have got to where we are with herbal medicine and health.
I live and practise by the sea in Brighton, growing herbs in my garden, making skincare products and spending as much time in nature as I can.
Danny O’Rawe ND MSc FIRH
I have been involved with herbal medicine for more than 30 years. I hold a Master of Science (MSc) degree in herbal medicine and I am an Honorary Fellow and former president of the Irish Register of Herbalists (IRH).
I am also a Registered Naturopath (ND) and member of the General Naturopathic Council (GNC) and was formerly Senior Lecturer in Nutrition for the College of Naturopathic Medicine. I also hold a Diploma in Aromatherapy. I co-authored with Keith Robertson FNIMH of Celtic Herbal Medicine (2018). My forthcoming book Tacit Knowledge and Traditional Medicine is due in 2022.
I have written numerous papers for various publications and I am a campaigner for the further understanding, preservation and advancement of Western Herbal Medicine.
I have taught at a number of herbal schools and at international conferences and symposia. I founded the Plant Healer Federation (PHF), a forum dedicated towards an international voice for herbal medicine; and I am one of the founders of the annual HerbFeast event in Ireland. I am a member of the American Herbalist Guild. I am a Royal Horticultural Society trained grower with over 25 years’ experience in organic cultivation.
I am a researcher, activist, writer and consultant clinician with a busy multidisciplinary practice in Belfast. I am also the principal of Excelsior Apprenticeships, a traditional school of Western Herbal Medicine, based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Vicky Ridley MCPP
My passion is good health care. Health and wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease is what I actively champion within my various roles and in life generally. To work with and see positive change in another is a marvellous thing indeed and is the motivation for the work I do.
I have been running my integrative herbal medicine practice for 27 years, much of this time based in Kent and more recently from the beautiful west country.
Alongside my herbal practice, I have 15 years’ experience of working within the NHS in the realms of Quality Improvement and NICE Clinical Guidance Implementation. I am also a mental health first aider and have been a health and wellbeing champion within the hospital trusts I have worked in, both much-needed resources.
I enjoy the juxtaposition between the work I do within the community and that within the acute sector, both concerned with improving health and healthcare in their various ways.
After qualifying from the College of Phytotherapy (CoP) in 1995 I went on to work as a clinical supervisor and then as director of the herbal medicine training clinic for the CoP, also lecturing in herbal therapeutics & materia medica over a period of years.
I was secretary and council member for the College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy from 2004-2010 and remain a loyal member.
Tending my garden and allotment and travelling when I can gives me much pleasure. I took a year’s sabbatical in 2010 and spent the brunt of it in Gujurat and Karnataka, India working voluntarily within in a Nature cure centre and spending time in various Vipassana meditation centres & Ayurvedic centres. Such a valuable and insightful time which influences my practice to this day.
Roy Upton President of American Herbal Pharmacopoeia
I am the founder, president, and editor of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP). I am also co-founder and past president, of the American Herbalists Guild (AHG), and serve on botanical expert advisory committees of AOAC International, the American Botanical Council, NSF International, and the Lloyd Library and Museum.
I have been working and practicing professionally as a herbalist since 1981. I am trained in Ayurvedic, Traditional Chinese, and Western herbal medicine and have also studied and worked extensively with Native American and Caribbean ethnobotanical traditions. As an integral part of my work as a herbalist, I spend a great deal of time defending the rights of consumers to access herbal medicines and to see herbal medicine integrated into the fabric of both our homes and health care systems.
In addition, I am the staff herbalist for the California-based herbal supplements company, Planetary Herbals, and a member of the Standards Committee of the American Herbal Products Association. I have lectured internationally and written for numerous popular and peer-reviewed scientific publications.
I am a fully qualified Ayurvedic Practitioner with a BSc in Ayurveda as well as a Hatha Yoga teacher. I love to weave the two sister sciences together to support a more integrated approach to health. I live in Somerset and spend all my spare time growing, foraging and cooking local, sustainable food and herbs. I am founder of the Ayurvedic Yogi clinic and co-founder of The Ayurveda Academy, offering practical and engaging courses combining Ayurveda’s ancient wisdom with modern insights on how to live well. You can follow my daily exploits on how to live an Ayurvedic lifestyle @joannawebber.ayurveda
After a period of intense, complicated and chronic illness in my early 20’s it was herbal medicine and holistic therapies that saved my life. I went back to university to study to become a medical herbalist, graduating with a first in 2017. I have since gone into clinical practice. My commitment is to facilitate change by helping my patients bridge the connection between their body, mind, lifestyle and behaviours. Herbs are a fantastic tool for helping us transcend states of ill-health and step into power, balance and transformation.
I have been working as a naturopath and herbalist since graduating from The College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2008, specialising in Western Herbal Medicine. I have been studying Usui Shiki Ryoho reiki since 2012 and qualified as a practitioner in 2015. I am a member and President of the Unified Register of Herbal Practitioners and work hard on the URHP and EHTPA councils.
I have gained relevant experience as a registered nurse for the past 30 years. I have great respect for conventional medicine and I am aware that orthodox and complementary treatments can work
alongside each other successfully.
I am passionate about connecting to plants in order to understand them better and learn more about their healing properties. I am an advocate for protecting our diverse and beautiful Earth and the
biodiversity that we depend on, in order to be gifted with the power of the herbs we all use in our practice.
What are we doing?
We believe that modern society globally is looking for more sustainable ways of achieving better health outcomes. And we believe that there is an opportunity for herbal remedies to be taken more seriously based on the long tradition of effective use and the rapidly emerging high quality evidence. People who until recently have been sceptical or resistant to considering herbals are waking up to their potential. This greater openness is driven not only by the emerging science but also by a desire for people to live more natural and wholesome lives.
Why are we doing it?
- Because our society needs improved health.
- To raise the profile and awareness of herbal medicine.
- Because we are all about making a positive difference to people’s lives – Herbal Reality is a voice for this positive change.
Our ethics statement
Herbal Reality was created to support an environment where herbal medicine thrives for the benefit of society. Our mission is to share traditional, scientific and practical insights into herbal medicine that inspire a deeper understanding of the power of plants and natural healing. We will help empower, engage and evolve society’s cultural relationship with healing plants and clinical herbalism.
Herbal Reality is respectful of all medical traditions, practitioners and approaches. We are passionate in our pursuit of the truth. Our world view is rooted in both vitalistic traditions & scientific approaches.
We want knowledge of herbal self-care to be commonplace and for access to herbalists to be increased. We want citizens to understand how to buy sustainable and good quality herbal products, and knowledge of food and health to be integrated in education. We aim to help facilitate a shift in culture to one that favours herbal medicines, and to help empower a herbal movement.
We have gathered experienced herbalists, health practitioners, scientists, sustainability experts and academics from around the world to create an educational platform dedicated to herbal medicine.
We value health justice for all, and aim to support people from all demographics and backgrounds. We democratise knowledge by making this a free resource for all to access and share amongst your communities.
We welcome and support all genders here at Herbal Reality. Please note that when we refer to “men” and “women” we are referring to biological sex for medical purposes and not gender.
We do not condone animal studies here at Herbal Reality and avoid referring to them where possible.
We represent diverse traditions, and use the Latin binomials to refer to species and include local names from the tradition of origins too.
We acknowledge that many health problems are due to systemic issues and not due to individuals. Therefore, we share solutions and insights to systemic issues where possible, as well as information for personal and community empowerment.