Most people are not aware of medical herbalists, and are, more likely, even less aware of their work.
Everyone knows what a doctor is, how they trained, and, if they are consultants, their medical speciality. There is no such clarity of information available about herbalists, hence I offer some information about myself.
I am a member of the Irish Institute of Medical Herbalists (IIMH) which is a legally incorporated professional body dedicated to continued research in herbal medicine.
Like other health care professionals my training involved the study of the biological sciences, clinical diagnostic techniques, and the tradition and science of plants that can be used therapeutically. I obtained an M.Sc in herbal medicine from the University of Wales, and a PhD from University College Cork.
My MSc thesis concentrated on the scientific foundation for the therapeutic use of Crataegus monogyna and My PhD dissertation examined Irish vernacular medicine in the 21st century. These in-depth studies, involving the integration of science and traditional knowledge, as well as continued participation in research groups, allow me to approach health care issues from a very broad perspective.
I am particularly interested in the hormonal system, and consider that it is a system that is badly affected by today's way of living. Infertility, PCOS, endometriosis, PMS thyroid dysfunction are some of the more obvious effects of a hormonal system gone awry, but current research also indicates other health issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), are also linked to this system.
Even though I was trained through the conventional route of university, I am aware that, within Ireland, there are many traditional healers who were taught through their family lineage. Such healers belong to the world of vernacular medicine, and their skills, stories, and therapeutic practices, are of great interest to me. These healers, and the written record of this tradition, continue to inform and enrich my approach to clinical practice due to its wisdom, insight, and knowledge.
My interests, then, combine both the Irish vernacular tradition and modern research. It is this broad sweep of interest that allows me to give you, my patient, the time and the skills to listen to your story and your health concerns. These skills also allow me to assess, prescribe, and dispense the herbal medicine most suited to each individual case.
My peer reviewed publications include:
Folk Medicine and Its Second Life. Estudios Irlandeses, 2017. 12(2): p. 91-106.
The Evil Eye and Biomedicine. Béascna, 2017. 10: p. 65-83.
A Tale of Two Bonesetters. Béascna, 2013. 8: p. 89-102.
A brief examination of the therapeutic properties of some of the herbs mentioned in the National Folklore Schools Collection (NFCS), Co. Clare. Béascna, 2011.
Academic conference papers include:
The Provenance of some Plant Knowledge Today ( Irish Conference of Medievalists. University College, Cork. 2019)
Worldview and Healing (Queens University, Belfast, 2016),
Charms and Healing (Maynooth University, 2014).
Conference papers concerned with continuous professional development (CPD) include:
Culture and its Impact on Clinical Practice (Herbfeast, Co. Mayo, 2019),
The Irish Healing Tradition, (Botanica conference, Trinity College, Dublin, 2014).