The Story So Far
When I was sixteen I was given a book that unknown to me then was to have far reaching effects on my life. The book was called The Wisdom of India (Yutang Lin, 1966) and it included Hymns from the Rigveda, the Upanishads, The Bhagavad Gita and The Dhammapada as well as other ancient Indian texts. The wisdom and clarity of this anthology touched something in me and I became eager and excited. Its writings inspired me and resonated in a way that my Christian upbringing and regular church attendance had never done. I was delighted when I found a Buddhist meditation class locally and befriended the teacher who taught me much about the Buddhist way over the next couple of years while I was doing my A levels. When the pressure was on to find a suitable course at university I applied to study Eastern religion and Sanskrit and as soon as I could, after finishing my exams, I took a year out and set off to India to discover the source of such great wisdom.
Several years later, while living in a cottage on a small island off the East coast of England, growing my own food and harvesting as much from the wild as I could, I began to learn about the wild herbs that were growing around me. I realised that the earth provides the raw ingredients for our health and well being and that, amazingly, herbs have the ability to keep us in balance on all levels of our existence, body, mind, emotion and spirit, if we could only understand their gifts to us to their fullest extent. I resolved to find a place to study herbal medicine and even managed to persuade my local education authority to give me a grant to study at the School of Herbal Medicine in Tunbridge Wells in Kent. This set a precedent in the UK.
Once in practice as a medical herbalist I continued to study, constantly searching for more pointers towards understanding the human organism and the keys to health and harmony, so that I could better serve my patients as well as my family and myself. Over the next few years I studied homoeopathy, aromatherapy, therapeutic massage and counselling. Around 1989 I heard about an eminent doctor from India, Dr Vasant Lad, coming to the UK to give a course on Ayurvedic medicine and I applied immediately. Within a very short time I realised that here was the answer I was looking for to bridge that gap between my love of Eastern philosophy and my practice as a medical herbalist. Ayurveda is a body of knowledge and wisdom incorporating a complex system of medicine as well as guidelines for a way of living, the aim of which was not only freedom from suffering in mind and body but also enlightenment itself.
Since then I have continued to study Ayurveda and slowly incorporate its wisdom into my practice and now into my writing. Its effect has been a gradual transformation of my life and my herbal practice that has evolved over the last 18 years.
I now live in Gloucestershire with my three daughters and divide my working time between running herbal clinics from home, London and South Wales, writing and teaching. I especially enjoy traveling and teaching abroad.
I have a beautiful herb garden in an idyllic Cotswold setting, representing a woman’s journey through life from birth to paradise, which I use for teaching and have open to the public for guided tours. My herb gardens have been featured several times on BBC’s Gardener’s World and frequently on local television series.