MSc with distinction in Herbal Medicine
BSc (1st class) in Herbal Medicine
BA Fine Art (specialising in painting)
PTTLS - Teaching Qualification
A-levels: Maths, Biology, Chemisty, Art and General Studies
Publications: West, V. & Denham, A. (2017). The clinical reasoning of Western herbal practitioners: A qualitative feasibility study. The Journal of Herbal Medicine, 8, pp. 52-61
I was awarded The Phyto Products Award for Pharmacology for the year 2008-9 by the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (N.I.M.H.). I won my award for work in which I analysed the role and mechanisms of action of phytoestrogens (plant oestrogens found in plants such as Red Clover and Soya) in breast cancer.
My interest in herbal medicine
My interest in herbal medicine stemmed from a young age. I remember my mother using comfrey root ointment on us when we were kids to heal bumps and bruises (I was a clumsy child!). I was unfortunate enough to lose my father to cancer at a young age. It was then that I decided I wanted to take charge of mine and my family's health using alternative medicine. Using natural medicine to nurture the body and to heal holistically resonated with me, so I read a lot about nutrition and herbal medicine. On gaining my A-Levels I decided to pursue art - a subject I am still deeply passionate about. However, soon after gaining my degree I felt drawn back to herbal medicine. Now I am fortunate to have gained the skills and experience to help others. I wholeheartedly believe that optimum health means looking after the mind, body and soul.
My experience and training
I am experienced medical herbalist holding an MSc with distinction, and a first class BSc(hons) degree in herbal medicine. I have experience supporting people with a wide range of health conditions. I teach Research Methods for Heartwood (training herbal students) and I am a writer for the Advanced Herbal Medicine Course (aimed at educating herbal practitioners and healthcare practitioners) - Herbal Academy of New England.
I am an experienced lecturer and course developer. I am a registered Member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (founded in 1864, the oldest professional organisation in the U.K. representing medical herbalists).
As a Medical Herbalist, I am trained in the same diagnostic skills as orthodox doctors, but take a more holistic approach to illness. My degree training involved the study of anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, clinical diagnosis, pathology, physiology, nutrition and clinical training.
My clinical training involved 500 hours in which I conducted consultations under the supervision of a clinical tutor (an experienced herbalist). To achieve my degree I needed to demonstrate to a medical doctor and a herbalist (the President of N.I.M.H.) that I could diagnose illnesses, perform clinical examinations, create a prescription protocol, and use herbal medicines both effectively and safely.