The School of Herbal Medicine

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Just a peek…

I am just posting up a few pics of a little class during our last seminar before the Open Day. Most of the time our students are listening in class, making medicines, practising physical examination techniques or going out finding and picking medicinal plants. There is only so many photos of a classroom you will want to see.

Just to say, the school is going along just fine and we are looking forward to welcoming some prospective students to our Open Day on June 15th, talking to them, showing them what we do, giving some demonstrations and letting them look through our microscopes.



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Guest Speaker: Katherine Bellchambers-Wilson


As always, at the end of our Easter School, we like to give our students a treat and to introduce a bit of extra-curricular material. We do this by inviting a guest speaker for the last day to speak on their speciality. We have had Joe Nasr to wax lyrical about the blossoms he collects from Lebanon and give demonstrations and tasters in a 2-day practical Pharmacy seminar; we have had Stuart FitzSimons describing the habitat, life cycle and healing properties of medicinal mushrooms; and this year we invited Katherine Bellchambers-Wilson [The Nottingham Herbalist] to talk to the school about her speciality which is Infertility.

Katherine spent some time going over the hormones involved, their cycles and how they interplay, and the complex effect they have on the body. Then she took us through some anonymised case histories so the students could see the presenting complaint, follow the treatment plan and hear about the outcome. We also discussed specific herbs in details, and how they can be combined to good effect for various presentations of infertility.

The only complaint that we received about her seminar from the students was, ‘It wasn’t long enough…

The day Katherine came to us was also a reunion of sorts, as several of the tutors and staff at the school studied together at the College of Phytotherapy and UEL…

Reunion: Halina Przydatek, Maggie Pope, Sara Hills, Susan Vassar, Katherine Bellchambers-Wilson

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Visiting Aymeric

During Easter School, Years 1 & 2 visited Cannington Walled gardens to see how our friend Aymeric was getting on with our baby Buchu. We were very happy to see that our baby has now become a toddler. The one we are interested in is the one on the left. We are keeping our fingers crossed that Aymeric can coax this little plant into becoming a bush that we can harvest periodically.


Aymeric was very generous with his time and although he is a busy man, he gave us a guided tour of the glasshouses, with the humid tropical gardens, and the Mediterranean area, plus where they plant seeds and bring on cuttings. Then we had a tour of the Bishop’s Garden and the Australasian Garden and the herb garden. Plus much more.

He explained the different growing conditions for many plants and encouraged us to taste and smell the leaves. The students were also allowed to dig up some invasive Valerian plants and take them home. Aymeric called it weeding, we called it harvesting…

Hope you enjoy the pics.

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Playing with Pharmacy


I took some photos of one of our last Pharmacy sessions in Selworthy with our Year 2 students before we move to our new premises. We were making suppositories [useful for local treatment of haemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel diseases and inflamed prostate, and for delivery of medicaments to the systemic circulation avoiding the stomach and liver] and pessaries [the same idea but for insertion into the vagina to relieve local inflammation and infection].


We also made a range of capsules with the school’s Nukraft 100 capsule machines, and I let them play with my own personal Profiller 1100 which bangs out capsules really fast because you don’t have to separate the two halves manually. I never could understand how the machine separated the two halves and let them drop down to the frame below all facing the same way until a [male] student inspected the apparatus and told me… Our capsules were to treat patients complaining of insomnia, elevated cholesterol and acute infection. [See pic at beginning].


We also messed about a bit trying to create professional pills with a vintage pill roller which looked easy on the video but the students were not impressed…

This is how it should be done….

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Our Proposed New Site from September 2019

The school has outgrown the premises that we are currently using for seminars, in addition we were constantly alternating between classrooms at Fyne Court in Bridgwater and Piles Mill in Selworthy.  After much searching we are really pleased that from September 2019 we will be moving to The Devon Business and Education Centre located in Rural East Devon.  Here is their link
These facilities are fresh, warm and comfortable which allow us all to be under the same roof.
Here is some information about how we will use the facilities, with a few pictures to give you an idea of how it looks.

The Devon Business and Education Centre (DBEC)

A unique award winning venue in the Heart of East Devon, DBEC is an inspiring space, a converted barn built to the highest sustainability standards.  The centre is a passive building and aims to maintain a minimum carbon footprint with features such as a heat pump, green roof and electric car charging point.

Only 20 minutes from Exeter, 10 minutes from junction 28 on the M5, and approximately 3 miles from Feniton Station (South West Trains).

Although accessible DBEC is a sanctuary where you can escape all distractions. Beautiful views and the highest quality facilities provide a wonderful backdrop to an exceptional co-working, meeting and training space.

Chris and Mary Lorimer completed the Centre 1 year ago – with the aim of supporting ethical / sustainable enterprises with a special emphasis on education, and have opened their doors to us.

The facilities include:

  • 5 flexible teaching rooms one with a log burner (yes it’s warm and toasty)
  • Kitchen
  • A shower room
  • Ample parking on site
  • A veranda
  • Excellent WIFI
  • The centre will be available for students to use/relax in throughout the weekend as a base / common-room
  • Camping will be available on site
  • Pretty setting & views.



 The View!



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Some of what we do…

I have been collecting some of the photos the students take while enjoying the days we have together. Whether it’s studying, walking, talking or eating the days seem to fly by.

We have settled in nicely to our temporary site at Broomfield Village Hall, with extra classrooms at Fyne Court; a National Trust property in the Quantock Hills – a beautiful area. The Hall is where we are teaching our first years, and it is just a 5-minute walk away from the rest of the students who have their seminars at Fyne Court. The closeness of the two venues means that we can still enjoy a hot meal all together in the middle of the day.

Most of the seminars are still held in Selworthy at the other National Trust property that we use: Piles Mill.

The lovely dog is called Nettle. She belongs to one of the students, and when Nettle comes she gets a lot of attention…

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The Start of a New Academic Year

The school is entering its 5th year of existence, and its 4th year of delivering the Advanced Diploma. This is going to be a very busy and important year as we are progressing through our accreditation journey, and we hope to get external verification at Level 6. This will mean that we are officially judged to be degree standard. We also want to change our status from an LLP to an Educational Charity, and our accountant is working on that as we speak…

The students have had an intense examination period [we like to work them hard], but we also like to make sure they get plenty of social interaction and practical experience. We still eat a main meal together at lunchtimes where the different year groups can chat and ask each other questions. We get out in the fresh air on field trips and foraging expeditions. This year we have a special Lichen Day with Pat Wolesley.

Because we have more students we now outsource the food to a caterer rather than making it ourselves [although we do hope one of our students will continue to bring in his homemade sourdough bread.] We will be hiring more classrooms will probably see the end of hosting some classes in our homes. We have said from the beginning that we want to keep costs down and only hire rooms when necessary, and it is now becoming more necessary. We are nomads at the moment with no permanent home, but the school is where the students are and that’s fine.

These are just a few pics from the last 4 years…