Colette O'Donnell, Medical Herbalist,
BSc (Hons) Herbal Medicine, MNIMH

Welcome to my site and I hope you find some useful information here regarding herbal medicine and health. I became interested in herbal medicine 20 years ago whilst owning and managing an organic farm in West Cork, where we grew vegetables and culinary herbs for the restaurant market which led on to an interest in medicinal herbs also.  As I began to use herbal medicine in the everyday health needs of my young family, I quickly realised the great effectiveness and reliability of this type of medicine, and went on to eventually study to become a qualified Medical Herbalist.

My Training

I spent 5 years studying at UEL (University of East London), and completed a BSc (Hons) in Herbal Medicine in 2013, which encompassed the study of the plants and the therapeutic uses of herbal medicines but also included the study of anatomy and physiology, pathology, clinical diagnosis, nutrition, pharmacology, differential diagnosis and herb-drug interactions.   500 clinical hours were also completed at UEL training clinic, Archway Herbal Medicine Clinic, Whipps Cross Hospital Dermatology Clinic and Dr Dilis Clare's Clinic in Galway.   

I am a current member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) and adhere to a strict code of ethics and practice, and complete further learning by regularly attending lectures and seminars (Continuous Professional Development - CPD).  Recent seminars attended include:

"Functional Phytotherapy for Good Digestive Health and Beyond" by Professor Kerry Bone

"The use of Herbal Medicines in Cancer Support:  An Integrated Approach" by Dr Christopher Etheridge

"Complex Trauma & Our Work with Plants" by Kirsten Hale

What is a Medical Herbalist?

Working as a Medical Herbalist, I believe that optimum health is achieved through the right balance of physical, mental and emotional well-being.  So exercising, decreasing stress triggers, mindfulness and a balanced plant based diet all play a part in achieving this state. 

Modern medicine is very effective in how it deals with all major health issues, but chronic disease is often outside its therapeutic ability.  So, it is in this area that medical herbalism particularly is effective in that it has a wide, multi-faceted range of therapeutic effects.  Also, a Medical Herbalist will address the issues from a different perspective in that the UNDERLYING health issues are addressed and treated, not just the obvious symptoms that are initially presented as the PROBLEM

EACH patient is treated as an individual - a Medical Herbalist recognises that no two patients are the same.

What Happens during a Consultation?

During your first consultation (60 to 90 mins), I try to build up a picture of you and your health by:

  • Taking your full case history
  • Asking about you and your family‚Äôs past and current medical history
  • Discussing your diet and lifestyle
  • Finding out about any medication or supplements you use

This allows me to assess the underlying causes of your illness and formulate a mixture of herbs tailored to your individual needs. It may also be necessary to take your blood pressure or arrange for other tests to be done. Your individual treatment plan will include herbal remedies and, where appropriate, dietary changes or nutritional supplements. Most herbal medicines are given in the form of a liquid tincture that is taken in 5ml doses of two or three times daily. You may also be prescribed a herbal tea, tablets, ointment, creams or lotions. After the initial consultation, three or four shorter consultations are usually necessary to assess your progress, followed by check-ups every three to six months, depending on the nature of your condition. During these shorter follow-up visits, the herbal mixture may be modified based on your presenting picture and how you are progressing. 

Because herbal medicines work in a gentle and subtle way, they can take longer to work than orthodox drugs, but their effects are long lasting and there should be no side effects.