Passionate about promoting natural health and well-being, Emma Barker is now hoping to share her expertise with others with the launch of her own herbal medicine practice in Spalding.
Emma (37), of Gosberton Risegate, achieved her BSc in Herbal Medicine this summer after completing a three-year course at Lincoln University, which included 500 hours in the teaching clinic as part of her training.
She is now delighted to be joining the team at Tonic Health, in Broadgate House, Westlode Street, and will be opening her doors to patients every Thursday, from October 6.
Emma, who has always been interested in horticulture and the power of plants, turned to herbal medicine after suffering post-natal depression when she found the orthodox treatment prescribed too overpowering.
“The doctor gave me the usual anti-depressants, but I just couldn’t deal with them, they were too much.
“I only took one and just felt like my head wasn’t connected to my body anymore,” Emma recalls.
“I thought there has got to be an alternative – I had a three-month-old baby to look after. I wanted to get back to my old self but I just didn’t know how.
“It was my husband who suggested I retrain – doing something I was passionate about so I looked into becoming a herbalist so I could help improve others health and well-being using natural solutions.”
Emma has successfully been assessed in the same diagnostic skills as a GP and has studied orthodox medications as well as herbal treatments to ensure any prescriptions she dispenses will not interact with those prescribed by a doctor.
She is a practising member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH), fully insured and governed by a strict code of ethics under which she is obliged to take part in a robust professional development programme.
Emma describes herself as a community herbalist and as part of her work volunteers for Home Start – a charity advising and supporting families with young children. She has also completed a suicide intervention course.
Through her clinical training Emma has already worked with patients with Psoriasis, eczema, fibromyalgia, ME, MS, anxiety and cancer.
“I want to turn my own negative experiences into positive ones and help other people overcome the difficulties they are going through, whether that’s by finding a cure or helping to manage a condition.
“If I can help make a difference to just one person then that will be amazing.”
Once her practice is up and running Emma hopes to run workshops and herbal walks, to show people which plants they can find and use and also plans to launch a range of homemade natural products.
An initial consultation with Emma – costing £40 – will last between one and one-and-a-half hours, during which a full medical history will be taken.
• To find out more visit Emma’s Facebook page Emma Barker Community Herbalist or contact Tonic Health on 01775 725059 or visit www.tonic-health.co.uk
Holistic approach to medicine
Herbal medicine is a holistic approach combing the wisdom and traditions of the past with knowledge gained from modern scientific advances – but one which Emma says sadly being lost.
“Herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years but it’s something we don’t turn to so much anymore.
“Two or three generations ago our great grandmothers were making elderberry and rosehip syrups to ward off winter coughs and colds – and I want to show people how to make these remedies at my workshops.
“Few people know the power of the things growing in their own back garden. Take nettles for instance – nettle tea is so nutritional.
“Then there’s mint, which is great for calming the digestive system, while dandelions are a good liver herb.”
Emma has also joined forces with herbal students Ghislaine Headland-Vanni and Lois Campbell and qualified herbalist and tutor Katie Dobiesz, to form South Lincolnshire Natural Health (SLNH).
The project aims to share skills and knowledge as well as promote a healthy lifestyle supported by nutrition, herbal medicine and other complementary and holistic practices.
SLNH is hosting its first monthly meeting at Sutterton Village Hall from 7.30pm on Thursday, when there will be a herbal teas demonstration with tastings and discussion. Entry is £3. For more information follow South Lincolnshire Natural Health on Facebook.
• SLNH is also hosting a Macmillan Coffee Morning at Tonic Health, Westlode Street, Spalding, from 10am to 1pm on Saturday, October 8.