Insight Herbalism

Nathaniel Hughes

At the core of our approach is the belief that each person’s body has the potential to heal itself given the right supportive conditions. This is fundamentally different from an orthodox medical approach, and leads to a equally different way of approaching illness.

One of the most important things to understand if considering starting working with natural medicine is that herbs are not often like drugs. Whereas in orthodox medicine, the most common model for therapy is Disease X + Drug Y = degree of resolution, naturopathy is very different.

Instead of Disease X, I am interested in the whole picture of you, of which the illness is just one part. This includes diet, lifestyle, habits of thinking, capacity for feeling, self awareness, relationship, use/abuse of body etc. Often people are surprised that when the whole picture comes more into balance, the ‘illness’ either is gone or often doesn’t inhibit your life so much any more. Furthermore, often the illness can itself be a guide and teacher towards greater self awareness, rather than a enemy to fight.

Instead of Drug Y, naturopathy works best with multiple gentle interventions. So instead of one intervention with a strong effect, there may be five or more, each offering a nudge in the direction of health. As an example this might be: Adjustments to diet, herbs, a programme of bodywork, short daily mindfulness exercise, increased and better quality water, deeper breathing practice. Whilst herbs alone can sometimes offer quite profound shifts, any work with natural medicine is many many times more effective when you are really ready and willing to engage with your body and your healing process yourself.

Over the past 15 years I’ve been developing the practice of Insight Herbalism, which is now a professional training with 20 students following the curriculum we have co-developed. The core of this practice is to introduce you to plants in a way that fosters your own relationship with the plant, such that the plant can continue to be an ally throughout your life.

Working in this way is generally not fast (although sometimes can be surprising!). Its benefits are in slow, sustainable health creation and the chance for you to understand your body and your health better. Though I may work with someone for 6 months based on an initial illness they come with, the skills and awareness gained inevitably have a far broader positive effect on health.

The skills I bring to this are not only a deep familiarity with naturopathic techniques, but more importantly the ability to help you see into the story of your body and the story of the illness. It is a daily experience for me to help remove the veils that blind us from seeing why and how our body is manifesting illness.

The following pages should help guide you through the work we do:

(1) What to expect on a first consultation

(2) Uncovering the stories within the body

(3) Overview of my skills and techniques used

(4) How long will it take?


Also: Link to page about me, my background and training.