Today I’m speaking with medical herbalist and author of “Root to Stem” Alex Laird. She runs one of the few NHS medical herbalism clinics at Whipps Cross hospital in London alongside a consultant dermatologist and has over 20 years of experience.
Trained in biomedicine and plant pharmacology, Alex is also a visiting lecturer, has published numerous research papers, and is the co-founder of the charity Living Medicine.
Alex is a firm believer in using food and foraged plants to help support wellbeing.
We’re going to be cooking a recipe from the book Root to Stem and I’m fascinated by her role as a medical herbalist in the NHS.
Some of the areas that Alex and I spoke about:
- Try growing some greenery on your windowsill & growing plants at home
- Kitchen herbs like Basil, Coriander, Parsley are a fantastic source of nutrition
- Try out a local foraging class in your area
(it’s very important that you go foraging with an expert as there are a lot of items which are inedible and may cause harm if consumed without experience advice)
- Seasonal eating* – which is really easy to do by following which fruits and vegetables are in season and readily available at your local supermarkets
- Including a variety of foods in your diet is key – and probably one of the most important concepts to include in the foods that you eat
- Try walking meetings and eating al fresco where possible
‘We co-evolved with plants, so we are complex and we need lots of complexity. So, while modern medicine became really good at dealing with acute conditions, and still does – don’t go and see a herbalist if you are knocked down on the street – so there’s lots of good things about modern drugs. But they’re not really designed for chronic disease – long term conditions that we tend to contribute to ourselves through lifestyle or food or such like. So in 1864, got this group of people together who said we want to support the professional use of plant medicine, inform it with the emerging science and that’s really where were are still today’.
What a wonderful conversation I had with the amazing Alex Laird – you can check out some of her tips for herbal medicine but a lot of what Alex talks about is actually very much lifestyle based too.
You will definitely find the book Root to Stem super interesting and so full of plant information but also lifestyle hints and tips too – it’s definitely one that you will want to read.
Don’t forget to check out the information here with some of the papers that Alex has published – I’m sure you will find these really interesting to read.