Herbal remedies have played an important part of my life before I even fully understood how or why - from carminative herbs such as caraway in curries to help with digestion, to the various benefits of the traditional ginger, lemon and honey blend for colds.
From childhood I periodically suffered from asthma, hay fever and eczema (a triad known as atopic conditions). These conditions are particularly annoying because they affect your whole lifestyle and restrict you doing simple everyday tasks. In primary school, when the other children were enjoying a summer trail through the forest, me and one other boy were lagging behind with red puffy eyes, runny noses, itchy throats and wheezing - it was not fun.
In my early teens, bouts of eczema made the minefield that is puberty even more difficult as time was spent in a cycle of itching, applying cream, trying to hide skin, sore skin, itching, sore skin, trying to hide skin, applying cream…
After years of orthodox medications that didn't seem to heal anything and actually made me feel weaker, I started to look into herbal remedies to treat my symptoms and the underlying causes of these conditions. As well as taking herbal remedies, I had to start eliminating certain foods and products from my lifestyle and for the first time felt there was a healing process taking place.
As time went on, the more I researched and spoke to other people, the more I discovered, not just about herbal medicine, but other complementary therapies and I felt like a kid in an organic candy store.
I studied and worked with a natural health company to gain a better understanding of health and complementary therapies A few years later I completed a BSc degree in Herbal Medicine at the University of Westminster.
My dissertation was on Examining the Prevalence of Hypertension in the African and Caribbean Populations in the United Kingdom - A Critical Review. Before I started the research, I was aware that there were significantly high rates of hypertension (high blood pressure) in people of African descent across the diaspora. However, when I started the research I was surprised to find that these figures were most notable in women of African descent in the UK, USA and the Caribbean. Alarm bells started to ring as I could see it being another condition that would be labelled a “Black disease” like fibroids and strokes and any attempt at establishing awareness and treatment plans specific to African women would be masked by medication or simply ignored.
I continue to enjoy finding new ways for people to incorporate herbal medicine into their daily lives, especially how young children can use herbal medicine to help with their development.