A voice for
herbal medicine

We share traditional, scientific and practical insights written by experienced herbalists and health experts from the world of herbal medicine and natural health

Wild foraging – with Robin Harford

Robin Harford established his wild food foraging school in 2008, and his foraging courses are listed at the top of BBC Countryfile’s ‘Best foraging courses in the UK’.

In this Herbcast episode, Robin Harford talks to Simon Mills about best practice gathering guidance, the relationship of plants and people in different cultures and his personal transformation through foraging and gathering plants for mental health and addiction recovery.

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Combating adulterants – with Mark Blumenthal

In addition to his advocacy and educational efforts, Mark Blumenthal has been championing quality control and standardisation in the herbal industry. 

In this Herbcast podcast, Mark chats with Simon about the beginnings of HerbalGram and the American Botanical Council (ABC), the role of the ABC in setting quality standards in the herbal industry and the impact of the US dietary supplement legislation

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Men’s Health – with Phil Deakin

Phil’s route to herbal practice has encompassed work as a doctor in hospitals, primary care and unscheduled care settings. Although he now identifies as a herbalist, his experiences in conventional healthcare have equipped him to reference a number of perspectives when supporting people with their health and wellbeing as a herbal practitioner.

In this episode, Phil chats with Simon about why he transitioned from a GP to a herbalist and how herbalism is the best environment to tackle men’s health issues.

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The Role of Food in treating skin conditions – with Herbalist Alex Laird

Alex has built impressive research around the powerful impact of herbalism in dermatology. Whilst supporting community and cultural sensitivities at Whipps Cross, Alex has shown that a personalised approach can really make a difference even with the most complex of skin conditions. 

In her chat with Simon, we learn about several lightbulb moments that have taken Alex on a journey of discovery and why she is so passionate about the role of nutrition when it comes to improving our health.

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Herbal approaches to caring for cancer – with herbal oncologist Chanchal Cabrera

Chanchal offers a glimpse into some of the strategies she adopts when treating patients in clinic, using herb-based and horticulture therapies in conjunction with conventional treatments. Drawing from decades of clinical experience helping patients recover from cancer, Chanchal offers insight into her processes and what she recommends to other practitioners in her mentor role.

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Treating depression and anxiety – with Ayurvedic practitioner and herbalist Todd Caldecott

With mental health issues on the rise, Todd highlights some of the contributing factors to this such as the disconnection from people and communities, the impact of trauma and the pace of life itself. He shares his thoughts on treating anxiety and depression whilst being guided by Ayurvedic principles and practices to better understand what is happening to us.

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First do no harm: A sustainable approach to herbalism with medicinal plant expert Josef Brinkmann

In this episode, Josef paints a challenging picture of how the climate crisis is impacting herbal medicine. From insights on quality and sustainability to farming challenges, this discussion highlights why ecological and socially responsible herbs are so important.

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A herbalist’s approach to treating inflammation – with Christine Herbert

After 20 years working in pathology and haematology, Christine’s enlightenment into the world of herbal medicine has led her on a journey to discovering the importance of diet in our health. She shares her wisdom on how various can herbs work with the body to reduce the inflammation that triggers chronic illnesses. Her positive outlook inspires hope for everybody that almost every health ailment can be improved.

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Insight Herbalism: A pathway for integrating trauma and restoring our core vitality – with herbalist and educator Nathaniel Hughes

Since his initial training in chemistry and medical pharmacology, Nathaniel Hughes has pursued the question; how much can we learn from plants directly? He has spent over 20 years exploring the spiritual, somatic, relational, trauma-informed and process-oriented aspects of healing. 

This episode delivers an introduction to the concept of intuitive herbalism where Nathaniel encourages us to think outside of conceptual medical frameworks to focus on relational and experiential perspectives. 

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Sebastian and Simon reflect on series 1 (and introduce series 2!)

Sebastian and Simon reflect on Season 1 of Herbcast and discuss their enjoyment of speaking to thought leaders across the herbal medicine community. They introduce the solutions-focused Series 2 which aims to focus on some of the most important conditions affecting the modern world today that herbalists are treating in clinic. From digestion and inflammation to sleep, anxiety and trauma, the series will focus on the fundamentals of health as well as highlight sustainability issues faced by the industry.

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The strategic approach of Chinese Medicine with Charles Buck

Charles is a Fellow of the British Acupuncture Council where he served a 3-year term as Chairman. He regularly presents keynote sessions to conferences across the world and has published extensively.

From strategically defeating the battles of war to fighting on the battlefield of health, Charlie eloquently explains some of the theories within Chinese medicine so that we may begin to understand its rational and unique strategic approach.

Read Charlie’s article Sweet ‘n’ Sour: The importance of taste and food energetics in Traditional Chinese medicine

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Supporting American herbalists with Bevin Clare

Bevin discusses her focus shift from herbalism to the herbalists, ensuring they are supported and their skills valued. She speaks about how her early study of infectious diseases highlighted the need to treat the human experience and why not being permitted to diagnose or treat diseases in America is so liberating. Simon and Bevin reminisce on their shared time at MUIH and celebrate the unique aspects, such as bio-regionalism and cultural nuances, that make herbalism so fascinating.

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How do herbalists work in clinic with Euan MacLennan

Practising in one of the only GP practices in the country that offers herbal medicine as a service, Euan shares his insight into the benefits of an integrated health approach. A firm believer in giving people freedom of choice when it comes to individual healthcare options, Euan shares his thoughts on why a lack of funding in preventative health alongside impersonal treatment and public demand could be the driver towards more integration with state healthcare in the future.

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Herbal Pharmacognosy and Pharmacopoeial standards with Roy Upton

In this episode Roy shines a light on the serious issue of how we access our plants for herbal medicine. He explains how the work of the AHP focuses on protecting traditional herbal knowledge and ensures the safety of its use by practitioners, raising the bar for herbalists and helping to reduce fear for consumers.

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The journey into phytotherapy with Professor Kerry Bone

This rich and in-depth conversation showcases the importance of phytotherapy within herbalism, a science-based medical practice which relies on an empirical appreciation of medicinal herbs, linking back to traditional knowledge and practice. A pioneer, who has dedicated his career to the research and development of herbs, it’s widely believed by those in the industry that no one can eclipse Kerry in his herbal expertise.

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The journey of becoming a herbalist – with Ayurvedic herbal practitioner Jo Webber

Jo’s passion for Ayurveda practices and teaching shines through as she discusses her Ayurvedic journey. As a yoga teacher battling personal health issues, she became enlightened following a profound pulse-reading experience that lead her down the herbalism path. With a post-graduate Certificate in Education, she feels strongly about making diet, lifestyle, and herbal advice more readily available, so people of all ages can make informed and empowered choices for themselves. Now Jo shares her passion via teachings to make learning Ayurvedic practice simple, accessible, and powerful.

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The journey of becoming a herbalist – with Western herbal practitioner Helen Kearney

Reminiscing on the moments in her life that connected and drew her to herbalism, Helen discusses the beginnings of Betonica and how it aimed to make the studying of herbalism more accessible. She lifts the lid to explain what’s involved in the rigorous training of Herbalism, how the learning can awaken the senses, and why servicing the community plays an integral part.

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The journey of becoming a herbalist – with Chinese herbal practitioner Dr. Andrew Flower

In this episode, Andrew introduces us to the world of Chinese medicine, his learning and passion for teaching it, and the techniques he uses to do so alongside its strengths and weaknesses. He touches on the joy of its diagnostic and prescribing process as well as how to overcome the barriers of acceptance as a credible treatment in conventional systems.

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Where do all the herbs come from? – with Ann Armbrecht

In this episode, Ann discusses how the Sustainable Herbs Program wants to inspire a movement that supports high-quality herbal products, sustainable and ethical sourcing, and greater overall transparency in how herbs reach end-users.

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Introductory episode #2 – Meet Sebastian

Simon Mills (our Herbcast host) interviews Sebastian Pole (our other Herbcast host!) as a welcome and introduction to the inspiration behind Herbal Reality.

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Introductory episode #1 – Meet Simon

Simon Mills is fascinated by the insights distilled from the millions of intelligent people who over many centuries needed plants to survive. Mostly he wants to learn and share the old skills, to experience healing plants as characters that can help us fend off ill health. His passion for offering people tools to look after themselves and their families has led to working with the founders of the College of Medicine on pioneering national self-care and social prescribing projects.

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How do herbalists work in clinic – with Dr. Edward Thomson

“Integrated medicine encourages patient empowerment and responsibility, engendering the motivation and will within patients and the knowledge to help them get better themselves.”

Dr. Edward Thomson is a General Practitioner with expertise in Integrated Medicine. He believes in approaching all types of medicine, healing, and treatment with compassion and an open mindset, placing the patient and their symptoms firmly in the centre.

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Herbcast – The Trailer

Welcome along to Herbcast!

Do you know your Echinacea from your Eleutherococcus? Or your lavender from your lemonbalm? Whether you’re a budding herbalist or a botanical beginner, Herbcast is here to inform and inspire you to explore the integration of herbs in our every day lives.

Meet Sebastian, your host and founder of Herbal Reality, for a taste of what to expect from Herbcast; the podcast from Herbal reality, delving into the plant-powered world of herbalism.

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