Have you ever wondered what people think you do for a living ? They might know your job title but do they actually know what you do from day to day at work?

As a medical herbalist I frequently meet people who don’t know what I do or how herbal medicine might help them. This blog is a description of a typical day in my life as Mansfield Herbalist!

After the dog walk, the day starts at the Lotus Therapy Centre at The Limes in Mansfield. This is a multidisciplinary clinic I share with psychotherapists and counsellors and other holistic therapists. The clinic is well equipped, and large enough for me to have a dispensing room on site. This means I have a couple of large cupboards full of everything I need to dispense herbal medicines in various forms to my patients. I use around 70 herbal tinctures, mostly made from native or naturalised UK plants such as lemon balm, hawthorn and nettle but also some Indian and Chinese herbs such as turmeric, ginseng and shatavari (a herb I frequently use for women at all stages of life but particularly in menopause)

As well as tinctures, I use dried herbs as teas, and powdered herbs in capsules. There are also a variety of herbal creams and oils. Herbs often used in teas are chamomile and passion flower at bedtime, and a popular capsule is turmeric and Boswellia (frankincense) which people use for joint pain and inflammation.

So usually in the morning before my first patient I do a stock check and see if anything needs ordering. We are very fortunate to have a herbal medicine manufacturing company in Mansfield Woodhouse, Phyto Products, so I can access good quality herbs at short notice.

Patients are booked in on Tuesday mornings and evenings though I can offer appointments at different times by arrangement. Typically, I can see 3-4 patients in a morning and 2 in the evening. During a consultation we discuss all aspects of health and wellbeing including past medical history and prescription medications. Some regular medicines can interact with herbs so it is important to be aware of this. We will talk about diet, lifestyle and general health as well as the reason why the person has come to see me. The people I see most frequently are experiencing problems with menopause, mood or anxiety related difficulties and skin issues. However, my patients will have a wide range of reasons for consulting me.

After clinic I might make up some repeat prescriptions and post them out to people before going home for the afternoon to prepare for some lecturing next weekend. I am a lecturer on the Herbal Medicine BSc degree at Lincoln College and next week we are teaching the 2nd years how to carry out a nervous system examination.

My sprocker spaniel needs another walk in the woods and if the light is still good I’ll take some photos for my social media sites. Not much is growing at the moment of course, but the snowdrops are starting to make an appearance and there is a good selection of fungi to look at! Several mushrooms have medicinal actions but I am not trained to recognise and identify them properly so any medicinal mushrooms I prescribe are bought in from reputable companies.

Evening clinic runs between 5pm and 8pm. The clinic is open until 8pm most weekday evenings and several of the practitioners have a late clinic.

A busy day is rounded off nicely when I check my emails to discover a message from the editor of the Royal College of Nursing monthly bulletin. A few weeks ago I wrote a letter suggesting it was time for nurses and herbalists to work together and learn from one another. In difficult times, it is a valuable skill to know how to make medicines from local herbs! The RCN are printing my letter next month.

Check into my blog again in February to read it!