Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Apprenticeships in Herbal Medicine September 2018

For years I have been asked to teach apprenticeships in herbal medicine. I am humbled that so many people find the little knowledge I have worth learning. So, after careful thought, I have decided to take on a small group of apprentices in Belfast this year. To my knowledge there are no practitioner level courses in herbal medicine in this part of the world. I have also designed a course which includes in-depth modules in cultivation, botany, nutrition, wildcrafting, aromatherapy and practical medicine making so that the student is able to gain the knowledge to safetly and sustainably grow, harvest, prepare and create herbal remedies. This practical study will be informed by a wide-ranging  approach to herbal medicine which embraces the wisdom of the ancients, with a modern evidence-based approach. The 3 year course is set to the highest of standards and leads to a Diploma in Herbal Medicine allowing graduates to practice the time-honoured tradition of herbal medicine at a recognized professional level. Although I will be the main lecturer on the course, I have invited some of the very best teachers from the international herbal community to share their considerable wisdom.
If you are genuinely interested in this course; have a passion for nature and wish to dedicate yourself to healing yourself and others, then send an email to expressing your interest. Full details and application forms will be sent out towards the end of March 2018. This is a unique opportunity, and may be the only time this course will run.

Botanica Conference 2018

Delighted to be one of the many speakers at the International Botanica Conference in Brighton this August. Tickets are going fast so book now to avoid disappointment.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Cork Teen Scoops Top Science Prize for Herbal Remedy
A project that led to the discovery of a potential new antibiotic capable of beating antimicrobial resistant bacteria including MRSA has won the overall prize at this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition:

This is another confirmation of the validity of the herbal tradition. Blackberry has been used to treat infection since ancient times. Dioscorides, writing almost 2000 years ago, praised the common bramble. The many uses have been described in recent research (Verma et al., 2014).

In an age of chronic antibiotic resistence, the need for the recognition of traditional herbal knowledge is needed now more than ever!

Friday, 5 January 2018

Welcome to 2018!

A happy and healthy new year to everyone!

Clinic availability - there is currently a 2-3 week wait for an appointment,barring cancellations. However, this is likely to increase in the next few weeks so I encourage you to book in sooner rather than later before the waiting list increases.

Some exciting news coming soon ...

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Pukka Herbs Sell Out to Corporate Giant

In 2001 herbalists Sebastian Pole and Tim Westwell founded Pukka Herbs, specializing in Ayurvedic herbal teas and a small range of practitioner products. I used to sell the teas at clinic as they were generally of excellent quality, but also because of the company's ethically-focused fair trade and sustainable organic farming policies. As of 2017 Pukka have become the world leader in herbal teas with a £30 million market and 30% growth according to NPG.
It was therefore deeply disappointing to find the company had been bought out by transnational behemoth Unilever. Given Unilever's dreadful track record all the sugar-coated excuses and wet corporate remonstrances from Pukka's former owners are meaningless. Many small independent health stores will soon find they cannot compete with the big supermarkets, which will lose them custom. Another nail in the coffin of the ethical business model. I will no longer be stocking their products.

Herbal Safety & Pharmaceutical Exploitation

The Alliance for Natural Health have come up with a fascinating new infographic about herbal medicine safety in comparison to pharmaceutical drugs.

View and download the graphic here.

An accompanying article highlights the growing issue of biopiracy, whereby a pharmaceutical company may exploit the knowledge of traditional practitioners in the ongoing search for novel compounds with which to patent the next generation of drugs. This biopiracy effectively steals the intellectual property of traditional people and herbal practitioners, seemingly without consideration or compensation.

The generation of new pharmaceutical drugs appears to be more concerned with profit than helping to heal. And when all is said and done, just how many people are being actually healed by drugs? Managing symptoms with drugs is not the way to heal the body, indeed the longer drugs are used, the more risk of side effects. Therefore on a risk/benefit analysis questions must seriously be asked, as medications are one of the leading causes of death in today's world, according to the ANH article.

Drugs may be very useful in accute and emergency situations but some of them could be doing more harm than good in the treatment of chronic disease. Chronic disease is often related to diet and lifestyle issues rather than bad luck or offending the gods as some will tell you. The future of medicine lies in the ackowledgement of these issues and a move towards greater scrutiny of corporate interests, alongside the acceptance of traditional medicine as an ancient, bona fide medical regimen which has much to offer in treating the root causes of disease rather than the risky managment of symptoms.