One of the wonderful things about working with a herbalist is developing the relationship over time. I have clients who have been consulting with me for over fifteen years, and often whole families. So, I think I can offer a lot of experience and, I hope, people find me compassionate and knowledgeable. I enjoy helping them take control of their own health and hope to equip them with confidence to make decisions for their own health and wellness.
I’m a general herbalist, but I tend to specialise in women’s health, as well as stress and anxiety.
What do you love about being a herbal practitioner?
Working with people and plants is magical to me. I love helping people improve their health and wellbeing and working with them over time. I also love the wider areas of Herbal medicine which I have explored since moving to California. I teach a lot, including weeks long herbal medicine courses and also fun one-off workshops on how to make natural skincare, teas, cocktails and more. I am often booked to help celebrate birthdays and other special events. I’ve even taught a middle school herbal elective for several years with 11-14 year old, which was enormously satisfying.
I grow and make most of my own tinctures and other herbal preparations these days, which I love. I feel like it gives me a deeper connection to the herbs and a better understanding of their unique properties and actions. I’ve also launched a range of handmade skincare which I sell via Etsy and at local events.
Something I have found hugely rewarding is writing about herbs. I have published two books with a major UK publisher. Infuse: Herbal teas to Cleanse, Nourish and Heal came out in 2016 as has been translated into eleven languages. Adaptogens was published in 2018 and has so far been translated into four languages. It is wonderful to see people all over the world enjoying the books and exploring herbal medicine and I love the feedback I get through social media about the books.
What event or situation helped you decide to become a medical herbalist?
It was a bit of a road to Damascus moment. I was in my mid-thirties and worked in book publishing. I’d has a few health issues (around fertility) and was just driving down Kentish Town Road in London when I said out loud ‘I need to be a Herbalist’. I then started researching it, found the Westminster had a degree course and applied. I had to do an evening class in A&P as I didn’t have the qualifications for the course, but Julie Whitehouse took a chance on me. I’m eternally grateful that she did.
What does the future hold in store for you as a herbal practitioner?
Who knows? I love the unexpected twists and turns that life can take.
Here’s a little history: After graduating, I worked at Napiers (then Culpeper) on Fulham Rd in London for several years. The owner Dee Atkinson financed a free herbal clinic for which I was the practitioner. It was such amazing experience and threw me straight into practice.
In 2007 I opened my own clinic in Camden, London called Lemon Balm. We had a really extensive dispensary and a number of herbalists, as well other practitioners. By 2010 I had a very busy herbal practice which along with running the clinic and retail side of Lemon Balm was taking over my life. My son was five at that point and my husband and I had another change in life direction while on holiday in California. A volcano erupted in Iceland causing an ash cloud, which ceased all flights between the US and UK. For two weeks we were ‘stuck’ in a a California beach town called Santa Cruz. When we returned to London, we couldn’t stop thinking about Santa Cruz, so we closed the physical Lemon Balm location and set up my clinic at home while we applied for a visa. In 2011 we moved to Santa Cruz and we have been here ever since. A lot of my clients decided to carry on seeing me so I have been doing video consultations for years before Covid. But it was a whole new world as a herbalist.