In April 2016, The National Institute of Medical Herbalists Education Fund (now the Herbal Medicine Trust), at the instigation of Paul Hambly, FNIMH (Chair of the Fund) launched a new educational initiative, under the name Heartwood and led by Dr. Nic Rowley, with the aim of producing a suite of blended learning courses and programmes as part of its mission to promote excellence in herbal medicine education.
The project is currently managed by Lisa Smith (General Manager), Guy Waddell PhD MNIMH (Director of Studies), Hananja Brice-Ytsma MSc FNIMH (Clinical Director) and Adrian McDermott BSc (Head of Operations).
Lisa is recognised as a passionate business manager with many year’s experience managing large teams across multiple sites in the healthcare sector and, as a registered manager for the Care Quality Commission. Lisa has a proven track record in maximising service development opportunities and has extensive experience in all aspects of management. Lisa has created and developed various strategies since joining Heartwood in 2018 including financial reporting, management and student liaison.
Director of Studies
Guy Waddell PhD, BSc(Hons), BA(Hons), fHEA, MNIMH
It was the stories that Guy heard from herbalist Christopher Hedley in the early 1990s that drew him into herbal medicine and eventually into teaching and research. Guy gained a diploma before completing a degree in herbal medicine at the University of Westminster, graduating with first class honours. Also at the University of Westminster, Guy undertook doctoral research combining his interests in narrative and in herbal medicine, arguing that herbalists’ relationships with plants and herbal medicines help to sustain them in their work and allow diverse influences to be brought into practices. Guy taught herbal medicine at the University of Westminster between 2011 and 2019 where he was awarded a fellowship of the Higher Education Academy and was a member of several research groups. He was a lecturer, clinic supervisor and module leader, with a particular interest in materia medica, therapeutics and pharmacy, teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, until joining Heartwood in September 2019. In his clinical practice he works with patients to find solutions to chronic and complex health conditions using an approach that is always as simple and personalized as possible. He has learnt much from his students and patients. Guy has authored ‘The Enchantment of Western herbal medicine: herbalists, plants and nonhuman agency’ (Aeon books, forthcoming). He is also working on an edited collection of the teachings of Christopher Hedley and Non Shaw.
Hananja Brice-Ytsma FNIMH, MSc, DipEd
Hananja has practiced herbal medicine extensively both in the UK and in Switzerland, working in private practice, in clinics and in hospitals for over 20 years. She qualified as a Naturopath in 1982 and then as a Medical Herbalist in 1990. In 1995, Hananja helped pioneer Britain’s first BSc degree in Herbal Medicine in partnership with Middlesex University, where she practiced at the Middlesex University training clinic. Hananja's practice marries science with tradition, using the knowledge gained from new research to enhance the established traditions of herbal medicine, including the crucial importance of nutrition to health. She has lectured widely throughout the UK for her specialist experience in gynaecology and paediatrics, and sees a large number of patients with gynaecological problems referred to her by GPs and hospital consultants. Hananja has contributed to the BBC series and accompanying books 'Grow your own drugs', and co-edited the book 'Herbal Exchanges'.
Head of Professional Course
Veda West MSc, BSc, BA, MNIMH
Veda is a medical herbalist, working in multidisciplinary practices in Lancashire. She qualified as a herbalist in 2008, graduating with first class honours, and went on to gain an MSc with distinction in herbal medicine. She is particularly interested in clinical reasoning and has published a paper on this subject. She was awarded the Phyto Products Award by NIMH for her work in pharmacology, in which she analysed the role and mechanisms of phytoestrogens in breast cancer. Veda is an experienced lecturer, has experience working as a learning adviser for HE students, and has worked as a Development Consultant for City and Guilds. Veda also holds a degree in Fine Art, and remains a passionate painter of portraits and botanical subjects. It is her belief that the practice of herbal medicine draws on both the sciences and the arts. She is an experienced lecturer, course developer and writer.
Head of Foundation Course
Anita Ralph MSc, MNIMH, MCPP
Anita began full-time training to become a medical herbalist in 1987, graduating as a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (MNIMH) in 1991. She completed an MSc in herbal medicine in 2006. Realising there was a need to bridge the gap between people unfamiliar with professional herbal medicine and herbalists themselves, she opened her own herbal dispensary in 1997. Since 2006, she has treated patients at the Integrated Gynaecology Clinic with consultant Gynaecologist and Obstetrician Anne Henderson, providing much needed help for women with complex gynaecological problems. Anita is a member of the College of Practitioners of Herbal Medicine, and has lectured at the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine’s BSc and MSc courses.
Nikki worked in administration and marine underwriting for 12 years for a Lloyd’s Syndicate. For several years she lived in the US, working in veterinary care before returning to the UK and raising a family. She joined Heartwood as Administrative Coordinator in 2018.
IT Support and Assessment Coordinator
Jake joined Heartwood as IT Support and Assessment Coordinator in July 2022. He worked in several large and smaller retail organisations as store supervisor and manager. Having left the retail trade, he discovered horticulture and landscape gardening and continues to develop his skills in his spare time. He has a passion for computer, IT and Systems Administration, previously working in texture development for game assets, and is currently a volunteer youth leader.
Abi Akinola BSc, MNIMH
Abi gained a degree in Western Herbal Medicine from Lincoln University in 2019. She received a diploma in Natural Therapeutics in 2016 from the University of Westminster. Whilst completing her degree Abi began working as a trainee assistant herbalist at the Haelan Dispensary. She currently co-runs the Haelan Dispensary which predominately provides consultancy and dispensary services for patients, customers and fellow herbalists in the North London Area.
Abi enjoys providing access to herbal medicine to as many people as possible and has also enjoyed assisting other herbal practitioners in running monthly Living Medicine Community Workshops. Some of which were run as part of the Chelsea Physic Community Garden in West London. Abi also finds great value in providing accessible learning options in the education of herbal medicine. She is also currently assisting Anita Ralph on some of the Business Skills course. She assists in assessing and guiding students for the preparation in the practice of herbal medicine. Abi has a background in Mental Health and studied Psychology at University of Roehampton. She worked in community as a mental health support worker for over 12 years as well as training at the North London IAPT (Improved Access to Psychological Therapies).
Amanda Rew BSc (Hons), MCPP
Amanda graduated from the University of Westminster in 2012 with a first class honours degree in Western Herbal Medicine. Since graduating she has worked as an in- house herbalist for G Baldwin and Co in South London as well as having her own private practice. She is also a qualified gardener and has worked with Roots and Shoots, a charity based in South London offering horticulture training to young people with learning disabilities, for the last 20 years.
Bendle has over 25 years of experience as a Medical Herbalist, and for most of his professional life has worked in an NHS setting alongside conventional medical practitioners. He has been a clinic supervisor and lecturer on the Herbal Medicine BSc course in Lincoln, and was a regular guest lecturer on the degree course at The Scottish School of Herbal Medicine. He also teaches on a number of post-graduate level courses, and has a particular interest in understanding the links between emotional and physical health that play a vitally important role in healing and recovery. He likes to grow and to collect plants to make his own herbal tinctures.
Beth Caldwell BSc(Hons), BSc (Hons), PhD, FHEA, CeLP
Beth is the Academic Skills Developer at Heartwood. Beth is a graduate of University College London where she completed her PhD in Anthropological Genetics. She also holds two BSc degrees, one in Human Sciences from University College London and another in Herbal Medicine from the University of Central Lancashire. Beth is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and is also a Certified Leading Practitioner of Learning Development.
Chanchal Cabrera MSc, FNIMH, (RH)AHG
Chanchal has been a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (UK) since 1987 and was awarded Fellowship 2009. She gained an MSc in herbal medicine at the University of Wales in 2003 and has been Faculty Chair in Botanical Medicine at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine since 2004. She is a Certified Master Gardener, and Horticulture Therapist, and holds Diplomas in Botanic Garden Management and Education from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Chanchal and her husband run Innisfree Farm and Botanic Garden, specializing in food and medicinal plants. They also host Gardens without Borders, a registered not-for-profit society that runs therapy garden programs for people with disabilities.
Delphine Sayre Dip Phyt, NIMH
Delphine graduated from the School of Herbal Medicine in 1989 and has been a practising herbalist in Sheffield ever since. In 1997 she completed a 3 year training as a psychotherapist to enhance her working style, and has been part of a supervision group since then. She runs her private practice from The Lodge House in Sheffield, and shares the space with a range of therapists. Her other main area of work is for a charity called Cavendish Cancer Care which supports patients, carers and families affected by cancer and which offers a range of complementary therapies free of charge. Delphine has run WEA courses on herbal medicine for about 20 years and she has been a guest teacher for the Scottish School of Herbal Medicine, amongst others.
Dílis Clare BSc, MB, BCh, DRCOG
Dílis trained in medicine at University College Dublin Medical School, and in Herbal Medicine at Middlesex University. She is a leading authority on Herbal Medicine in Europe, and has worked in full time Collaborative Medical Care since 1999, integrating the best of both pharmaceutical and herbal medicine. She is Honorary Clinical Fellow at the University College Medical School, Galway.
Helen Compton BSc(Hons) Herbal Medicine, PGCHE, MA, FHEA, MCPP
Helen trained in herbal medicine with the College of Phytotherapy, graduating in 2004. Her interest in teaching as well as practice started during her experience of clinical training, and she went on to study adult education, gaining a position as a lecturer on the former BSc in Herbal Medicine at Leeds Beckett University (and involved in working to attain accreditation for the course). Following the closure of the BSc, she moved into teaching anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology on the biomedicine stream of the BSc in Acupuncture at the Northern College of Acupuncture. She continues to explore her interest in education through her PhD research in education and virtual learning for adults with specific learning difficulties.
Helen Phillips Dip Phyt, MSc, MNIMH, MCPP
Helen qualified as a Medical Herbalist in 1997 and began practice at Napiers in Edinburgh. In 2001, she went to work for the NHS in Huddersfield and as a Clinic Supervisor for BSc degree students of Herbal Medicine at UCLAN, specialising in teaching clinical examination and differential diagnosis. In 2014, Helen graduated with an MSc in Herbal Medicine – her final dissertation was ‘Getting out into the garden: A review of the biophilia hypothesis and the effect of nature upon human health', exploring how spending time in a natural environment can impact our health. Helen has since researched and written a paper on pyrrolizidine alkaloids and currently practises as a herbalist in Cheshire offering home consultations. Helen has also run an after-school club for primary school children, exploring the principles of ecology, organic gardening and nature-connectedness. She regularly gives talks to local groups on home remedies using plants from their gardens, allotment or the hedgerow, and is currently working on compiling local herbal remedies with the help of the elder community.
Lara Jonasdottir has been working as an herbalist for over 10 years. She had her own clinic in Dublin before joining Dilis and the clinical team in 2014. Lara has great passion for clinical and herbal education and holds a postgraduate diploma in Clinical Education.
Marcos Patchett BSc(Hons) Herbal Medicine
Marcos has been a practising herbalist since 2004, graduating from Middlesex University’s Herbal Medicine course with first degree honours and the Elsevier science prize for plant pharmacology in 2005. He worked as a medical herbalist in King’s Cross for several years (2004-2007 and 2012-2013) specialising in complementary care for people living with HIV and practiced from Neal’s Yard remedies’ Therapy Rooms in Covent Garden and, later, Notting Hill, for nine years (2007-2016). He worked as a dispenser in Middlesex University’s Archway training clinic for their Western Herbal Medicine BSc in 2009-2010, and later went on to become a clinical supervisor for the Western Herbal medicine BSc and MSc courses at Middlesex University’s Integrative Medicine training clinic from 2013-2018. Marcos has just completed his first book, The Secret Life of Chocolate), a comprehensive thirteen-year project on the ancient history, usage, pharmacology, and cultural meaning of cacao/chocolate.
Mary Bove ND, AHG
Mary obtained her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine and Midwifery Certification from Bastyr College of Natural Health Sciences in Seattle, and received her Diploma of Phytotherapy/HerbalMedicine at the School of Phytotherapy in the UK. Dr. Bove practiced Naturopathic Family Medicine and Midwifery at the Brattleboro Naturopathic Clinic for 24 years, specializing in Naturopathic Pediatrics and was a full-time faculty member at Bastyr University, chairing the departments of Botanical Medicine and Naturopathic Midwifery. She is the author of the Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants, and is currently Medical Educator for Gaia Herbs Brevard, NC.
Mary Bruce BSc(Hons), MNIMH
Mary has a particular interest in the management of anxiety, menopausal problems and sleep disorders. Her clinic and dispensary overlook the Somerset levels with views to Glastonbury Tor. She has a background in pharmacology, and a particular interest in herbal modes of action. She is also a Priestess of Avalon, Soul Healer, horticulturist and beekeeper. She enjoys sharing her love of herbs via walks, talks and workshops.
Mary Tassell MSc, MNIMH
Mary commenced training to become a medical herbalist in 1996. On graduating she became a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (MNIMH) in 2000, subsequently taking over editorship of their in-house magazine for a number of years. Her professional career has also included teaching at both Western Herbal Medicine training clinics and for the Northern College of Acupuncture, where she taught Anatomy and Physiology and herb/drug interactions. Mary completed an MSc in Western Herbal Medicine in 2006, and currently practices as a consultant Medical Herbalist in Bridport. She also runs a variety of informal courses, walks and workshops in the area.
Melissa Ronaldson BSc, MNIMH
Melissa qualified with a Bachelor of Science in herbal medicine in 2000 and has been in practice ever since. Her herbal practice has been varied and diverse: she was based for many years at a mental health and arts project in Hackney; she has worked on traditional medicine projects in Ecuador and in Peru; first aid posts at Glastonbury and other festivals – and more recently the refugee camps in Northern France. In 2002, Melissa became a founder member of London Community Herbalists and later went on to project manage the building and integration of a large, award winning, intensive medicinal roof garden for North Haringey Primary school. In 2007, Melissa began the journey to fulfil a dream to create a floating herbal medicine venue that would traverse the London waterways. Stormvogel the Herbal Barge is now an established clinic, teaching space and apothecary.
Nathalie Chidley BSc(Hons), MNIMH
After initially studying herbal medicine at evening class, Nathalie Chidley went on to qualify as a medical herbalist in 2000 with a BSc. She then worked for 10 years as Dispensary Supervisor at the Archway Clinic of Herbal Medicine, the training clinic associated with Middlesex University’s Herbal Medicine degree. Since moving away from London, she has been practising as a herbalist in a multidisciplinary clinic in a market town in Suffolk. Nathalie has completed a number of postgraduate courses in the therapeutic use of oils, including essential oils, and the formulation of creams. Nathalie makes many of her own tinctures from herbs grown on her allotment.
Pieter Meiring BSc(Hons)
Pieter qualified as a Medical Herbalist from Westminster University. Working from his home-based practice in Watford, he treats clients with a range of conditions including BPH, menopause, osteoarthritis and auto-immune conditions. He is passionate about creating the best quality herbal medicines from seed to tincture, cream or distillate and grows many herbs in his garden and allotment. Pieter has won awards for achievement and innovation in herbal medicine and botanical pharmacy, and has featured in a number of publications promoting herbal medicine and growing medicinal plants.
Rasheeqa (Hedge Herbs) is a herbalist in her community in Walthamstow in north London. She has been practicing since 2012, offering treatment with herbal medicine and teaching about its many aspects, alongside a wider mix of work whose aim is connecting us as communities with the potential of this knowledge and craft as a way to develop healthier living systems and relationships.
Rasheeqa is inspired by her early involvement with the Radical Herbalism Gathering in exploring how to make plant medicine accessible and restore balance to its practice in the contexts of systemic inequalities and oppressions that are part of our shared histories. She comes from a family lineage of herbal medicine practitioners in Unani Tibb, who continue to practice this in northern India. She is an instigator of the Community Apothecary in her locality, a project that brings community members together around a patchwork of medicinal herb gardens where we can learn about growing, wildcrafting and making medicines together, which are then available to the community. The vision is to co-create thriving mutual healthcare systems, sharing knowledge, peer support and the model so that we can create landscapes of healing everywhere.
Alongside these community based projects she offers a clinical practice two days a week from her home in Walthamstow. Central to this is connecting up emotional and physical health, and offering support through the community activity as well as with herbal and nutritional treatment. Regular areas of treatment include hormonal and menstrual health, psycho-emotional balance.
Sam Entwisle BSc(Hons)
Sam is a medical herbalist, teacher and lecturer who has worked in complementary health for over 25 years. After graduating from Middlesex University in 1999 she ran clinics in London, Kent and Wiltshire. Professionally she has lectured on and managed complementary health degrees in Oxford and Gloucestershire and set up and managed the research and education department at a tea and herbal remedies company in Bristol. She has also taught science and the history of medicine at an alternative provision school for teenagers who have been removed from school.
One of her main areas of interest is gut health and restoring digestive function to underpin the health of the rest of the body. Whilst herbal prescription is key, one of Sam’s initiatives is to encourage her patients to gain autonomy over their health and life, especially during life’s major changes. She uses a combination of education, lifestyle recommendations and nutrition and inspires her patients to spend more time in nature. Sam loves seeing her patients make progress and teaching them to care for themselves as they would their best friend. Local to her herbal medicine practice in Wiltshire she runs workshops and herb walks covering a wide range of subjects and skills such as making handmade skincare products, wellbeing and kitchen garden first aid. She enjoys sharing the gem of herbal medicine with her students and watching them gain confidence in their new skills. Sam loves spending time outdoors in nature and swimming at the local lakes.
Sophie Outen BSc(Hons), CNM Dip Nutritional Therapy, Body Harmonics, Acupuncture Diploma, MNIMH
Sophie has been practising as a herbalist in private clinics since qualifying in 2006. She currently works alongside chiropractors and osteopaths seeing patients with a wide range of conditions, including many whose pain is caused by immune dysregulation or which is inflammatory in nature. Over the years she's incorporated acupuncture and nutritional therapy into practice which are useful tools and complement the herbal prescription. When she's not in the clini she enjoys alternative ways to be a herbalist, taking groups on herb walks and running workshops in the woods with Wild Wood Days, a forest school.
Steve Taylor Ba(Hons), Dip H.M., MNIMH
Steve qualified in 1994 from the college of Phytotherapy, and opened a High Street Herbal clinic and shop which he ran for 18 years. His deep interest in the roots and culture of European herbal medicine led him to explore and study the philosophy and practice of Nicholas Culpeper, and to research the remaining folk tradition of the British Isles. He was a founding member of the Ethnomedica project run in conjunction with the Royal Botanical Society, which aimed to gather remaining memories of older people who had recollections of using indigenous plant remedies in the home. He has researched the use of traditional herbal poultices in the treatment of leg ulcers and presented his findings at a NIMH conference in 2018. His interest in ancient healing practices led him to study African healing rituals, with him undertaking ten years of field trips to the Eastern Cape of South Africa to work with indigenous healers. In 2021 he published 'The Humoral Herbal', a practical guide to using the Galenic principles of balancing the humours to heal disease and promote health. He continues to practice as a full time herbalist, and to lecture and write, while based in West Sussex, England.
Sue Bottomley NIMH
Sue studied herbal medicine at the School of Herbal Medicine in East Sussex and has practiced as a Herbalist in Sheffield since 1994. She works from a multi-disciplinary clinic, sharing a well-stocked dispensary with two other herbalists. She has taught pharmacology to Herbal Medicine students for ten years, and is currently a member of a small team that delivers a module on Complementary and Alternative Medicine to final year medical students at the University of Sheffield. Her background as a pharmacist informs her interest in using herbs safely alongside conventional medicines, as well as on their own.
Biography to follow.
Victoria Kearns BSc(Hons)
Victoria qualified as a Medical Herbalist from Westminster University. She supports clients with a range of issues affecting the digestive, endocrine and reproductive systems, in particular IBS, IBD, endometriosis, PCOS, pelvic pain and fertility. She teaches and supervises Herbal Medicine students at the Westminster University Polyclinic and practices in London and from her clinic in Watford where she also grows herbs for her clients. Victoria also holds post-graduate qualifications in Psychosexual & Relationship Therapy and clinical massage.
Zoe is a medical herbalist, she qualified in 2010, and has been practicing until 2021. She has ran free clinics on anti- fracking camps and was a member of the radical herbalism collective organising gatherings. She believes our health is intrinsically linked to health of our wider society and eco- systems, and holistic herbalism cannot be independent of social and environmental justice. She is currently not practising and taking time out and learning animal medicine since she learned she is autistic, while teaching foundation students at heartwood school of herbal medicine.
Dr Julie Whitehouse
Julie was Principal Lecturer (now retired) and Course leader for the BSc hons Herbal Medicine degree at the University of Westminster since it was first delivered in 1998. She also ran a private herbal practice in Battersea. Born and educated in Northern Ireland, she completed a first BSc at Queen’s University Belfast (studying Zoology and Botany) followed by a PhD in Genetics at the University of Birmingham. After a lectureship and research fellowship at Birmingham, she continued to teach Natural Sciences for several years before undertaking training in Herbal Medicine at the School of Phytotherapy and then working for the school as lecturer, clinic tutor and in course development of the BSc course. In retirement Julie still maintains a close relationship with the herbal world, continues to study plants and enjoys botanical painting.
In April 1971, Fred Fletcher Hyde, George Smith, Nalda Gosling, Albert Priest, Arthur Jenner and Albert Orbell set up the National Institute of Medical Herbalists Limited Education Fund, which is now called the Herbal Medicine Trust, “to establish the training and tuition of students of medical herbalism giving both lectures in theoretical aspects and demonstrations in practical training.” In pursuit of these charitable objectives, the Trust makes grants to organisations and educational establishments, sponsors research, and supports the provision of practice and education facilities throughout the United Kingdom.
In line with its charitable status, all income derived from the operation of Heartwood in excess of course production costs will be used by the Trust to support new initiatives that benefit Herbal Medicine as a whole. Whilst it believes that Heartwood can make a significant contribution to national and international education in Herbal Medicine, it does not seek to attract potential students away from other institutions offering professional training, but rather to share knowledge and resources wherever possible.
Chairman, Herbal Medicine Trust
Paul Hmbly FNIMH, MBAC
Paul qualified as a Medical Herbalist in 1988 and became a Member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (MNIMH) that year. In 1995, he became a member of the British Acupuncture Council after completing a three year training at the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine (CICM) in Reading. Paul has been on the post-graduate training board and the policy committee of the NIMH, and has taught orthodox clinical skills at CICM. In 2002 he helped produce the Code of Good Practice for Herbal Dispensaries for the NIMH. As well as being an official mentor to newly-qualified herbalists for the NIMH, Paul has also been an examiner for the final clinical exams in Herbal Medicine at Middlesex University. He has served on the NIMH council, and has been on the Education Fund board of trustees since 2008. He works full time at Hamblys clinic, using both acupuncture and herbal medicine, and is co-author with Frances Hambly of the book “Herbalism”, a guide to using herbal medicines for the lay person. He also owns and runs a smallholding in East Sussex.