Gleaning sustenance and healing from what grows around us is a skill which many are working to reconnect with as we start to notice the gap between ourselves and the natural world.
When Silvy approached us with her natural herbal tinctures we were excited to collaborate and welcome her to the family of brands which we offer at Glasshouse. Working just around the corner from us in her London Fields studio, The Herbal One, Silvy leads workshops in foraging and making herbal remedies as well as coaching her clients towards achieving their personal health goals.
We spoke to Silvy about working with plants to create a healthier self, and how she is able to practice herbalism within a cityscape.
At Glasshouse we appreciate the value and benefits of working with natural products and skincare. With The Herbal One you have harnessed the power of plants to create holistic medicines. We’d love to know more about your work as a Medical Herbalist and what led you to study for your BSc in Herbal Medicine.
Thank you for asking this question, It’s a story I love to share. I spent around 4-5years travelling and living in rural communities around the world, and I was often struck by the success which traditional healers would have by only working with plants and other local ingredients. This piqued my interest, particularly as each community worked with plants which were local to their immediate surroundings.
I spent a longer stretch of time living in a small village at the foot of the anti Atlas mountains in southern Morocco, and access to “normal” medicine was difficult. A local man, Hassan, took me under his wing and taught me a lot in terms of how to work with local plants and even argan oil, to heal ailments. I found that although the plants and ingredients were different, there were many shared principles across the way each folk healer would work.
Ultimately this curiosity turned into passion and that’s when I decided to pursue this professionally.
What is the core ethos behind what you do at The Herbal One?
The Herbal One is primarily committed to making herbal medicine accessible to everyone. Accessing alternative medicine can be difficult and costly for a number of people, people who also don’t see themselves represented by the image of these practices, and we are really trying to change that by creating a more inclusive space.
Our tinctures were born out of the knowledge that many people have difficulty reaching for herbal medicine; we have created simple and straight to the point tinctures which we believe can reach everyone. Ultimately we believe that plant medicine really is people’s medicine.
How do you source ingredients for your tinctures and ensure their quality and suitability for your medicines?
I work with a small family run business which is based in Wales. They produce ethically grown and Organic herbs and products at a very high standard. I’ve been lucky enough to visit their incredible space and see first hand their process from start to finish!
At The Herbal One you offer one to one consultations, what does a typical consultation involve and what do you work towards with your clients?
So I offer two types of consultations, a classic and an accessible type. Both aims achieve the same goal which is wellness - something which is defined by the needs of each patient.
If I’m working with a patient with a chronic illness, then wellness might be getting to a point where their symptoms are manageable and having a smaller impact on their day to life. For other patients, wellness could mean reaching their peak physical and mental health.
It’s important to understand that we are all different and have different perceptions of what it is to be ‘well’, and so those boundaries are the limits within which we can work.
Ultimately the goal for me is to empower each person with enough medicine, knowledge and guidance that they don’t have to keep coming to see me. I want my clients to move to a state where they feel confident in their own knowledge of their own health.
Being based in London Fields, how do you balance such a nature-based practice and lifestyle with living in one of the busiest parts of the city?
Ah, I do love this question, and it’s one I get asked often. The answer is fairly simple: once you begin to work with plants, it’s inevitable to notice them.
A big part of my journey with herbalism has been foraging, which is how I started working with plants. Noticing the change of seasons and every plant in my surroundings is now second nature, but it’s a habit which I have cultivated over many years. Being in a city doesn’t mean being disconnected from nature, firstly because we, as humans, are nature. We are also surrounded by parks, canals, and woodlands, all of which are abundant with medicinal herbs - something that people are always very surprised to hear! Some of the most abundant places are hedges on the side of the road, as not many plants grow in open fields and prefer disturbed ground. Taking regular walks, noticing what grows around me, and watching these plants shift and change with the seasons is pivotal to my wellbeing and my practice.
Where do you see The Herbal One heading? Do you have any new plans lined up for 2022?
I really love creating our products and I love the creative side of that too, so there will definitely be more in good time. Apart from that, most of my plans are centred around creating and growing a more inclusive and accessible space. As of November I’ll be launching a Monthly Missive, which people can sign up for through our website. This will be a monthly editorial newsletter rooted in plant and seasonal folk practices but viewed through a modern lens. Part of this offering will also be an online community for people who want to connect over plants, foraging and herbalism; a space where they can ask each other questions and opinions. And last but not least, at some point there will be The Herbal One courses, which will allow people to learn herbalism online!
The Herbal One will be hosting a workshop in collaboration with Glasshouse on the 25th October. at 6pm. Exploring the nervous system and how to make your own supportive teas and tinctures.
Where is My Mind? - Touching in to our nervous system Book your space here