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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 the New Zealand Association of Medical Herbalists, the NZAMH, and have now been in full-time practice since the beginning of 1989.

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

In 1990, though sorely 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 so when Paul Mitchell approached me in 1991 to talk about opening a bigger shop the natural result was a collaboration between us that bought about the locally famous ' Herbal Dispensary'.

I left the business several years later to concentrate solely on my clinic but it continued to flourish until its untimely demise in the awful earthquakes of 2011.

My own practice has always been entirely based on word-of-mouth referrals. Christchurch is a conservative city 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, a family member, or another practitioner recommends them to me.

I don't belong to any groups or organisations other than my herbalist's association but 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 something truly urgent. Most people only need to be seen 2 or 3 times so we have a lot of new patients coming through all the time, so the learning never ends...

not only practice keeping me busy, clockwise from bottom; Ben, Oliver, James, Alex, Danielle

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. In many ways, I am an intensely private person but for anyone interested I share some poems here, and my music here

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!








© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd