I have been in general practice as a medical herbalist since 1987 with a specialty for the past 15 years in helping patients navigate cancer treatment. I trained in the 4 year program under Hein Zeylstra in England in the 1980's and moved to Canada in 1988. In the early 1990s I was academic dean for Dominion Herbal College in BC, where I designed, developed and delivered Canada's first classroom, clinical herbal medicine diploma program. I subsequently created a 3 year full time program in herbal medicine for Wild Rose College in Vancouver and helped develop the Herbal Science degree for Bastyr University. I also opened Gaia Garden Herbal Apothecary in 1993, a full service herbal medicine store and clinic, which I owned and ran for 11 years, expanding to 3 shops, almost 600 own-label products and 16 full time staff.
After 15 years in clinical practice, I went back to take my Master's degree in herbal medicine at the University of Wales. This program emphasized Holistic Science Methodology and we were required to apply academic rigor to holistic practice, validating the subjective as well as the objective, experiencing herbal medicine not just talking about it. As well as pursuing my thesis research into breast cancer and herbal medicine, I became interested in what other ways we can apply herbs to wellness and this led me to a certificate program in Horticulture Therapy which I completed in 2005. In 2016 I was lucky enough to go to Japan to take a certificate program in Shinrin Yoku (forest bathing therapy) and I bring much of this experiential practice to my herbal work now.
In 2013 I took the 10 week diploma in Botanic Garden Management at Royal Botanic Garden Kew in London, and in 2014 I took their 6 week diploma in Botanic Garden Education. I grow almost half the herbs I use for teas in the clinic. My gardens are a registered botanic garden and we open to the public and offer education and conservation.
I practice western holistic, bio-medical herbalism, integrating natural medicines and nutrition into conventional health care systems. I work with around 10 - 12 patients a week, some in person and some by telephone and email. I also teach herbal medicine and the concept of food as medicine. Once a month I run a free community clinic staffed by senior students under supervision.
I have an extensive dispensary of tinctures, creams, volatile oils and tea and a deep experience in product development, marketing, retailing, quality control and good manufacturing practices. I also have a background in education design and curriculum development and I am a registered schools auditor for the Private Career Training Institutions Agency that registers private colleges in BC.