Vera Martins, a student at CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine), explains why she chose to study Herbal Medicine.
My love affair with herbs started many years ago back in Portugal, my homeland. I grew up surrounded by the scent of freshly cut thyme and mint, by the taste of home grown oregano sprinkled on my mother’s salads and by the comfort of lemongrass and verbena infusions from my grandmother’s courtyard. Herbal remedies, often garlic and lemon, were nature’s treats to heal colds and pains.
Being passionate and curious about both nature and science I decided to study biology and ended up following an academic research career, firstly with a Masters Degree in Plant Biology. Later, wanting to do something more health orientated, I moved to the UK to do a PhD in Skin Cancer Biology and I continued my research for several years afterwards.
I have a stimulating career but I started wondering whether I could make even more of a difference to people’s health if I had the chance to have direct contact with patients whom I could help on a day-to-day basis. And that’s when the herbs from my childhood started ‘to talk’ to me again and remind me how much they had to offer and how much fun we had together back then. I listened carefully and went straight into finding a way to learn more about them and how they could help me to help others. And that’s how I came across CNM and enrolled straight away on their Short Course in Herbs for Everyday Living. I and my fellow classmates from all walks of life had a brilliant and fun teacher with an incredible knowledge of herbal medicine. We were able to learn the basic properties of herbs frequently used in the kitchen and how to use these in common medical conditions. I started to apply my knowledge straight away at home on family, friends and myself, and the results were amazing. And so I got deeper and deeper into the subject.
What I find so enthralling about Herbal Medicine is that there is more and more new scientific evidence supporting what has already been known and applied successfully for thousands of years. Did you know that rosemary can improve memory, or that turmeric can reduce pain in osteoarthritis? Check out the latest research!
Having had the Short Course rekindle my love affair with herbs, I ended up enrolling on CNM’s full Diploma Course in Herbal Medicine and Naturopathy. I chose CNM’s course because of its naturopathic approach which gives you the chance to learn and incorporate several different modalities into your practice, from Nutrition and Iridology to Bach flower remedies. Also, you get to learn not only about western Herbal Medicine, but other traditions such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. There is a strong practical clinical component in the course, which I love because you get to be in contact with patients from an early stage, gradually developing your consultation skills and confidence. I am now in my final year of study at CNM and I’m planning to start practicing as a professional Herbalist soon after graduating. Looking back at this journey, I think it allowed me to finally “marry” my two passions, plants and health, creating the rewarding formula of working with natural medicine.
Find out more about CNM courses at www.naturopathy-uk.com
What I find so enthralling about Herbal Medicine is that there is more and more new scientific evidence supporting what has already been known for centuries.