Maggie Pope
is a Medical Herbalist

Practising in
Bridgwater, Somerset

Get in Touch Maggie Pope

The School of Herbal Medicine

I love these old books….

     I love these old books:

All of them describe a way of living and looking at plants, that is, for the most part,  disappearing from our  modern way of life.

It is very, very rare that the ordinary housewife would go out into the country-side or even her own garden, and pick greenery [that other people may term as weeds] and use them to either add to her family’s diet, or use as a simple medicine when someone is ill….

 When I was younger I always wondered what a mother would do before the advent of free health care and the NHS, if her children were sick. I used to read English social history books and I unearthed some very interesting folk lore about self-help cures, how to make blackberry syrups for coughs and colds and nettle vinegar as a spring tonic. I was even more surprised to learn that in the modern world there were places that taught students how to use plants as a proper system of medicine. So I signed up. I spent years getting a degree in herbal medicine, learning about scientific studies, research, systems of examination, microbiology, botany, immunology, biochemistry, pharmacology, ethnobotany, evidence-based medicine, pathology, differential diagnosis and more… and yet, there is still something to be learnt from these old books. It’s a way of looking at plants that treats them as an integral part of human existence, something that we need to keep us in good health, and to steer us back to health when we have lost it. We mustn’t forget these old books, and the knowledge that they contain. They are part of what keeps the wisdom and practicality of herbal medicine alive…

If you are interested in training to be a professional medical herbalist, using plants as medicine, then visit our website and blog for more details:














Ending the year…

It’s cold –  it’s very cold and I don’t want to go to the allotment. The wind is icy and it cuts right through me, and the hail stings sharply every time I walk from my office to the house. No, I’m not going to my allotment today – I have harvested everything and all I need to do there now is tidy up, and I can do that when the weather is better. The strawberry compost is well laid as a mulch covering the whole plot like a soft heavy duvet.

My work this weekend is office based. Last weekend I was teaching Pharmacy and Herbal Therapeutics and I take a lot of stuff with me when I teach. A lot of stuff. I have been so busy that I haven’t put it all away yet, apart from the books. My text books always get treated better than the rest of the stuff. Which is? Saucepans and inserts for making infused oils and decoctions, two electric hobs for the same purpose, dried herbs and roots for the same purpose, handouts, lesson plans, food for breaks, dinner for Saturday…

If anybody had told me I would be teaching herbal medicine ten years ago I would have locked myself in my bedroom and asked for a restorative cup of builder’s tea. But it’s not so bad when you are actually doing it, once the lesson starts and I get into the swing the lesson seems to take care of itself.

However, if I am not careful it can take me away to long from my own patients and the growing, harvesting or wildcrafting of herbs, and the time-consuming art of making medicine with the herbs I grow or collect.

If you have any interest in studying herbal medicine then take a look at our school. We have a Facebook page, and a website:

If you are suffering from a medical condition that orthodox treatment has not helped, you may want to try herbal medicine. Just drop me an email to make an appointment:



That went well….

L-R: Jonas Brab, Lisa Poynton, Julie Bruggemann, Susan Vassar, Tim Carter, Maggie Pope, Joe Nasr.

Easter School went well. The second residential study week at the School of Herbal Medicine was busy, informative and fun. All the students were in the same place at the same time, and we enjoyed teaching them Pharmacy, Herbal Therapeutics, Materia Medica, Anatomy & Physiology and Botany all through the week. It was capped off with a fun weekend with Joe Nasr from Avicenna who stayed with us for two days teaching us all his unique approach to Pharmacy which involved historic stories of drainpipes screwed to walls in the interest of pursuing excellence in herbal percolation.

If you are interested in studying with us to become a professional Medical Herbalist please visit our website at

I’m calm. Really calm…


After the weekend I will be teaching in our school’s second residential Easter School. Four days of seminars when the different year groups are in the building at the same time and we teach back to back. Usually we keep the year groups separate and teach them on different days just because it’s easier to organise. When we start the new academic year this coming September we will have three year groups and our community will really start to grow.

I have nearly finished my lesson plans. I am adding in a lot more Clinical Medicine for the second years so they get to understand the pathophysiology of the different disease processes. As they say, if you really want to understand something well, then teach it.

We have got a treat in store for our student when they finish the four days of seminars. A very special guest is coming to give them some professional and intensive training. I just hope we remember to take photos to mark the occasion as he is a very busy man, travelling the globe, and we were lucky to get him…

If you would be interested in studying to become a professional Medical Herbalist, then email  for information.

Back to work at The School of Herbal Medicine



After the Christmas break we have started the new year with seminars in Materia Medica and Pharmacy. I teach the Pharmacy and Herbal Therapeutics modules. Our herbal monographs in the Materia Medica module are not cut and pasted from other people’s work, but each herb is thoroughly researched from several sources, from practical experience and observation and written up an original piece with reference to action, phytochemistry, therapeutic range, dosage and historical context – giving an extremely high standard of work expected from an ex-Oxford scholar.

In Pharmacy we discussed the therapeutic differences between hot infusions with a short steep time [10 mins], cold nourishing infusions with very long steep time [4 hours or overnight] and decoctions [simmer 10 mins], and what herbs and parts of herbs we would use in each instance. Then we got to work trying them all out and making notes along the way as to taste and texture and feel and properties etc etc.

You can find our website at

and Twitter @TSHM


Year Over!

We’ve done it! The School of Herbal Medicine [] has successfully completed our first full year with students, with seminars every month and end-of-year exams just finished….

Exam papers


The exams were tough, but the standard has been good. Some of the subjects taught were completely new to the students – not many people even know what Pharmacognosy is! In addition, they completed exams in Pharmacy, Herbal Therapeutics, Botany, Materia Medica, and Anatomy & Physiology.

We look forward to welcoming the students back to level 2, and also to our new intake coming for the first time in September.



Teaching Herbal Therapeutics

Teaching Herbal Therapeutics


So, I’m half way through my teaching diploma at Bridgwater College; and it’s fun. I did think that if you had a degree in a subject and practical experience then you could just teach it. But no. There is so much more to teaching than getting up the front and telling students what they need to know. Without going into Bloom’s taxonomy, or discussing Humanism v Cognitivism, let’s just say there are methods to employ that enable different ‘types’ of learners to get the most out of the experience. If you want to teach adults, I can recommend doing the 2 year diploma [or 1 year certificate if you don’t have much time]. I’m attending lessons one evening a week, and the lessons are 3 hours long – but I think there is a day time option if you prefer.

For the School of Herbal Medicine I teach Herbal Therapeutics and Pharmacy in year 1; colleagues are taking Materia Medica, Anatomy & Physiology, Botany, and Pharmacognosy. We have lots of interest for next September’s intake for the seminars held in Bridgwater rather than out-of-the-way Porlock.

Although I don’t teach Anatomy & Physiology, I can’t help but want to show you our new Flexible Friend. We have named him Eric, and he is a lot of fun….

Eric 2 Eric 1 Eric 6


If you, or anyone you know, would like to train as a Medical Herbalist, then send them to our website




December 2018
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