Previous Events

Pot Marigold is strongly anti-septic
Herbalist, Alex Laird makes food tasty and healthy by adding herbs.
11 November 2017: an afternoon workshop “Health Self Care with Food and Herbs” took place with herbalist Alex Laird MCPP, in Fulham, London.

As Alex says, a balanced diet, rich in phytonutrients, is the foundation for health, against which any form of medicine – be it orthodox/mainstream or herbal – works best.  Learning how and when to eat is as fundamental to health as what to eat.  If nutrients are in short supply, cells get stressed and their function suffers, leading to loss of well-being and disease in the long term. In this Workshop Alex discussed the principles of using plants in food as medicine and their therapeutic qualities and actions. Self care is about body awareness, promoting health and tackling simple everyday ailments by ‘nipping them in the bud’.

Alex emphasised ways of eating that are healthful, but also easy, inexpensive and backed by research evidence.  Our bodies, like everything in nature, are constantly building up (anabolism) and breaking down (catabolism) cells to re-use them.   Self care aims to support this cycle, restore normal healing functions and build up resilience.

A regular attendee at these workshops is John Miller who attended this latest one – he says:

Pot Marigold is strongly anti-septic
John Miller following Alex’s recipe.

The workshop was another great afternoon with Alex.  She covered so much to help us with our diet and taking care of our gut flora.  We made up some dishes and teas and it was very open, allowing everyone to join in.  So, I can be quoted as saying it was informative and extremely useful to help with our approach to everyday dietary needs.”

22nd July 2017: The afternoon’s Workshop entitled: “Meet the Rose Family” took place at the Old Theatre in Bath was led by Herbalist Christina Stapley.
The iconic member of the rose family is the Rose itself. Although all roses are edible, there are a number of species which are particularly used as medicine, and the best known for this purpose are the Damask and Apothecary’s roses.

Rose petals can be made into tea for the treatment of a variety of complaints, including stress, low mood, low libido and minor respiratory and digestive complaints. The Rose family in general provides us with a huge array of medicinal plants.

These include Tormentil (traditionally used to combat diarrhoea), Meadowsweet (valued for its strong anti-inflammatory properties based on its aspirin-like components), Lady’s mantle (traditionally used for heavy menstrual bleeding, among other applications) and Agrimony (traditionally used for colitis and cystitis or as a gargle for sore throat).

In this workshop, Herbalist Christina Stapley showed herbarium specimens of all the medicinal members of the Rose family (see photos) and demonstrated practical applications for self-care, including how to make a soothing pot-pourri for your home.

26th November 2016: An afternoon’s workshop on “Living Medicine Self Care with Food and Herbs: Sleep, Anxiety, Fatigue” took place at the home of Alex Laird, MCPP, in Fulham, London and focused on self care for sleep difficulties, anxiety and fatigue. She discussed the many caused for sleeping difficulties, headaches, anxiety and fatigue.

The main systems involved are the brain, spinal cord and nerves (nervous system), the adrenal glands (small hormonal glands above each kidney) and the digestive system (abundant in nerve cells). Alex explained that they are all interconnected, so a change in one system can affect the function of the others. In the short term, our bodies respond to stimuli, adapt and then return to normal. However, if the stressor is relentless, the harmonious rhythms within our body go into overdrive until they become exhausted of the energy to adapt and repair. Understanding the body’s hormonal functions and rhythms helps us to identify solutions to improve resilience and inner strength. Alex identified garden herbs that support our hormone and nervous systems and she highlighted how specific foods and eating patterns are conducive to good sleep and mood.

Gaelle Voss, who attended says: "I enjoyed every moment of the session, learned so much and hope to join many more similar events. It makes the subject real, practical and fun to learn as a group!" The workshop’s practical demonstrations included how to prepare a tincture, making an unusual hot drink blend of cocoa with an ‘unlikely’ herb, using essential oils and other mood-supporting ways of using herbs and foods.

24th June 2016: An afternoon Workshop entitled “Tree Medicine” was held in Calne, Wiltshire run by Christina Stapley, Medical Herbalist.

Herbal medicine is becoming increasingly popular among the general public and set to play a significant role of healthcare in the future, as people take more control over their own health. Although in Europe we most commonly turn to leafy perennial and annual plants for botanical medicines, the part played by medicines from trees is by no means insignificant and deserves more attention.

Christina explained how we can unlock the ancient healing properties of trees to benefit our health. She looked at the history of trees in medicine, why they are effective in healing and their role in herbal medicine and aromatherapy. She discussed the various types of preparations that can be made from the leaves, bark, buds, roots and fruit of trees, with practical tips on making them at home. She signposted how medicines derived from trees can be used in both a professional context by the trained herbalist following consultation with a patient and as self-care by the individual for family and friends.

21st November 2015:  A Workshop entitled “Coughs, Colds & Allergies was held as of the “Living Medicine Introduction to Self Care” run by Alex Laird, Medical Herbalist in Fulham, London.

Coughs, colds and allergies are symptoms produced by the body as a defensive response to invading pathogenic microbes or allergens. Normally we live in an environment teaming with bacteria, viruses and fungi, but these do not get out of hand because of the vigilance of the immune system. We all encounter new (to us) viruses from time to time and the stronger our immune system, the better able we are to minimise their damaging effects.

In this workshop there was an opportunity to explore nutritional and herbal support to improve our resilience to infection of all types, including ways to reduce the use of antibiotics and/or to make modern treatments more effective.

Kathryn Bates was one of those attending. She was very enthusiastic and wrote: “I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop with Alex. Such a lovely lady, so informative and very inspiring. Very practical and we all had an oil-based rub to take away with us plus photocopies of all the recipes etc. that she used for the day. She made up two different pots of herbal tea during the afternoon, a herbal broth, a mouthwash and the rub. Alex also included information on food and nutrition and it was interesting finding out what parts of different fruits she eats when other people may throw them away e.g. pith on pomegranate and the seeds in grapes, etc. I also love her attitude of sharing information and encouraging us to pass on her tips. I would definitely be interested in visiting her again.”

June 21st 2014:  A Workshop entitled “Herbs for Hearts & Arteries with a guided garden tour was held at the home of DHM Course Director, Ann Walker, in Earley, Berkshire.

The health of heart and arteries is key to good circulation throughout the body, including the brain.  High cholesterol level, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, increased blood clotting time and inflammation are all risk factors which threaten cardiovascular health.  Hawthorn, Motherwort and Yarrow are just three common hedgerow herbs found in the UK that can help in various ways to reduce these risk factors and help to maintain health. Ann pointed out these herbs and others flowering in Midsummer in her garden and students were invited to draw their leaves (see photos above) to help them identify the plants in the future.   As well as a garden tour, the afternoon also included an informal discussion on cardiovascular health and herbs, a break for tea and cake, a visit to Ann’s herbal dispensary and a chance to try out some herbal creams.

November 30th 2013:  “Food and herbs for skin ailments: Living Medicine's guide to self-care”  An afternoon’s workshop at the home of Alex Laird BSc MCPP, Medical Herbalist in Fulham, London

This workshop gave a ‘taster’ of a more comprehensive course in ‘Living Medicine’ which covers diet and herbal medicine for self-care that Alex runs on a regular basis in London.  Alex outlined appropriate foods to combat different skin conditions as well as describing to a wide range of internal and external remedies for skin ailments.   The photo on the left shows the herbs laid out for the demonstration of herbal creams and ointments that she uses in her practice.  The photo on the right shows her answering student’s questions.

June 17th 2012 - “Mind, Mood, Mentation.… Herbs for the Brain” part of the day included a tour of Ann’s herb garden at her home in Earley, Reading. The garden was divided up into 4 sections and herbalists Stuart McLean, Iman Amanpour, Caroline Galloway and Ann Walker ably supported by Debs Sweetman (Course Tutor) and Freda Miller (Botanist and Herbalist). Each took a group of delegates around the garden talking about the herbs in each section and their uses.

During a pre tour talk Ann highlighted 4 special herbs Gotu cola (Centella asiatica), Rose Root (Rhodiola rosea), Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) and Miracle Leaf (Kalanchoe pinnata) and gave data sheets on all of them. The delights of composting and making organic neem oil sprays for the garden were also discussed.

Freda talksing about herbs in pots Ann looking at Cramp Bark
June 19th 2011 - “Herbs To Combat Infection”. The day included a tour of Ann Walker’s herb garden at her home in Earley, Reading. In the first photograph Freda Miller (in the blue cardigan) talked about the medicinal properties of culinary herbs planted in pots near to the house, while Ann showed the group around the main physic garden. Stuart McLean, who gave a talk on “Herbs with anti-microbial properties”, is on the far right. In the second photo Ann is explaining the traditional medicinal use of Cramp bark (Viburnum opulus) as a muscle relaxant.
Photo 01
Photo 01
2011 - More Than Skin Deep: Health of Hair, Skin and Nails

In this seminar, herbs for health of hair, skin and nails were highlighted.  Not surprisingly, herbs like Marigold and Gotu cola are common to many herbal prescriptions for skin complaints, but there are also surprises in less well-known herbs such as Mahonia, which many people grow as an ornamental plant in the garden and Goat’s rue, also often found in English gardens.   In this Seminar participants enjoyed a trip out to the Herb Farm at Peppard, just North of Reading in Berkshire, where lunch was served.  The Herb Farm sells a wide variety of herbs and Herbal Practitioners Freda Miller and Ann Walker led a guided walk along the perimeter of the property to find further (wild) medicinal plants.


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