It seems fitting that my first blogpost (ever!) on my brand spanking new website (yesss!) should be a little 'let's get to know each other' session.
So here is a little about me, how I got into plant-based medicine and the questions I am most frequently asked which I hope you will find useful.
Q: How did you get into naturopathy and herbal medicine and why?
In 2001 I met a student of aboriginal medicine in the Australian outback. Whilst picking weeds off the dusty dessert floor to help treat my sore throat at the time, he highlighted the fact that most indigenous peoples used plant medicines growing all around them as their primary form of health care. For many residents of the outback a local GP or Pharmacy simply wasn't an option. This was a light bulb moment for me. I first heard about Naturopathy a month or so later when I met one in Melbourne. She summarized it by saying that the body's natural state is health. But our diet, lifestyle and environment often block our body’s attempts to self-heal. The job of a Naturopath is to use a number of natural healing modalities to remove these blocks and allow the body to heal itself. Herbal medicine, natural nutrition, exercise, hydrotherapy and fasting are the main tools I use for this.
Q: What do you enjoy about your job?
A: Helping my patients to make better, more informed, time and evidence-backed choices so that they embrace changes as part of a whole new lifestyle to serve them and their families in the long term. I love treating children, digestive issues and skin conditions as well as helping women in their fertility quest, for obvious reasons!
I also love the fact that my job involves life long learning as I don't think I could ever be bored by the vast subject matter that is herbal medicine and nutrition. It blows my mind that current day clinical studies are frequently confirming what ancient people have known and anecdotal tales have told, all those years ago.
Q: What do you enjoy least about your job?
A: Invoicing and tax returns-hands down!
Q: Do you have a special area of interest clinically?
I love a good skin condition, me! As someone who has had a history of skin conditions (thankfully, none currently!) I get a lot of satisfaction out of treating them. I also love treating digestive disorders, hormonal imbalances (menopause/PMT/fertility issues) and mental/emotional complaints as well as working with people who have or need to have special dietary requirements Eg Gluten-free/dairy-free/plant-based etc.
Food intolerance and genetic testing are also super useful tools that I use in practice too to make my patients treatment plans as bespoke and beneficial as they possibly can be.
Detoxification and fasting are other areas that I really enjoy working with, especially juice and smoothie cleanses as they are ways you can feel super well, super quickly, and who doesn’t like results fast?!
Q: What is the quesion you get asked the most?
A: There are two. One is if I sell a certain type of herb from the hemp family (I don't!). The other is do you drink alcohol (I do! But I get rubbish hangovers so only a couple of times a month!).
Q: What are your nutritional must haves?
A: Nutritionally, I wouldn't be without daily Omega fats, Spirulina and lots of water! Naturopathically, I also love an Epsom Salt bath and a good 5-10k run at least x3 per week. I also take a high potency B Complex from time to time when my life is particularly hectic and I can't guarantee I'm going to be able to eat as well as I would like. Juices and smoothies are also staples in our household.
Q: What is your guilty-pleasure-food-wise?
A: Mmmmm, that'd be chips from the chip shop very occasionally with lashings of houmous. But boringly, I do tend to eat healthily most of the time as I love cooking and like feeling happy and energised. Junk food zaps my energy levels and focus so quickly the trade-off just isn't worth it for me!
Q: What is the herb or family of herbs you prescribe the most?
A: It's gotta be the nervines-the family of herbs which supports the nervous system, which includes herbs like chamomile, lemon balm, passionflower, skullcap, wild oat straw, valerian, vervain and gotu kola to name a but a few. The benefits of this family of herbs are widespread but in summary, they are frequently used to calm the nerves, encourage good quality and quantity of sleep, soothe headaches and/or migraines, reduce anxiety and gently boost mood/ease depression.
Q: Do you have a favourite herb or at least, a top five favourite herbs?
A: I'd struggle to name my very favourite herb as it changes all the time so I'll go for a top 5. They are, lemon balm, rose, dandelion root, withania (ashwaghanda) and borage. Internally, lemon balm can be used wherever there is spasm (in the womb or gastro-intestinal tract), it boosts mood and is anti-anxiety in its action. Topically, it can be used in the treatment of cold sores (essential oil or tincture) but my favourite thing of all is to simply pick a handful of fresh leaves from my garden and enjoy a delicious, refreshing and relaxing lemon balm tea, which is nice taken either hot or cold.
Q: What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
A: That if nothing changes, nothing changes, so start small, but start NOW as the baby steps do all add up and make a real difference to how you look and feel :-)