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About me

I completed my Diploma in Medical Herbalism in Australia during the 1980s under Dennis Stewart, Andrew Pengelly & Robyn Kirby but I was born and grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand, where I remain to this day, working hard within its diverse community.

I'm a registered member of both the New Zealand Association of Medical Herbalists, the NZAMH, and the American Herbalist's Guild, the AHG, and have been in full-time practice since the beginning of 1989.

Melbourne Botanic Gardens, 1987: starting out as a student practitioner)

My practice has always been nearly entirely based on word-of-mouth referrals. Christchurch is a conservative city in a country where pharmaceutical-based medicine is almost fully subsidised so, to succeed as a herbalist, I have had to get a lot of good results with people who were not getting better by themselves or with the help of Western medicine. Nearly everyone who comes to see me does so because a friend or family member has recommended them to me.

I don't belong to any organisations other than my herbalist's associations, however I work on a kind of faith that Nature will look after me if I do the right thing by others. Herbs are the medicines of the Earth and they belong to the people. I keep my consulting fees modest and put ethical mark-ups on the medicines we manufacture in our clinic so that I can work with people from all walks of life.

Our clinic is always busy, usually booked a month or more ahead unless we need to make space for a child or someone with something urgent going on. Many people only need to be seen just once by me, although they may have one or more appointments with my daughter Danielle, also a medical herbalist, for further support or treatment as required.

In 1990, though lacking experience, I spent a year teaching and supervising final year students at the Canterbury College of Natural Medicine and began a small dispensary at the clinic for the students. The following year this evolved into the locally well-loved 'Herbal Dispensary'

I left the business several years later to concentrate on clinical practice but it continued to grow and flourish until ruined by the dreadful earthquakes of 2011. Today only a patch of ground remains where it once was.

The three main sections of the website are in A-Zs. The first is an A-Z of herbs that goes into their history, science and practical use, found here. The second is an A-Z of conditions from experience with real-life patients found here. The third A-Z is a collection of health-related articles found here

Some general ideas about herbal medicine and guidelines on how to find a good herbalist in your area are here. Details about my own work are found in the 'about the clinic' page here

On September 21st, 2017, the International Day of Peace, some very special colleagues and I launched the Southern Institute of Medical Herbalism (SIMH). We offer an in-depth Certificate course for anyone who wants to learn a lot about herbal medicine for themselves and their close people and an advanced Diploma of Medical Herbalism for the person who has a calling to work with Nature to help others in their wider communities.

The response to SIMH has been excellent. Our courses provide immersive learning journeys that give great knowledge and real-life skills. To find out more, go to the SIMH website here

other occupations include, clockwise from bottom; Ben, Oliver, James, Alex, Danielle (2014)

I'm sorry that I can't treat you or advise you unless I see you at least once in person but,
wherever you are, I am wishing you peace and good health!

heartfelt wishes for peace and happiness from me and mine to you and yours (Jan 1, 2020)








© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd