Herbalista (er?ali'sta) n. Spanish for herbalist or phytotherapist; a person who grows or specializes in the use of medicinal herbs. Phyto is from the Greek meaning plant or vegetation.

Whilst on holiday in Spain I was inspired by a visit to 'Herboristeria del Rei', an old herbal apothecary in the Barrí Gòtic district of Barcelona. Designed by a theatre set designer in the 1860s, this atmospheric shop is full of intricate wooden shelving and is stocked with a full range of herbs and preparations for health.

My primary motivation to become a herbalist originates in my love of plants - I have a kitchen and herb garden - and from a desire to promote 'wellness'. I was brought up eating fresh fish, fruit and vegetables and think that good health can be available to everybody in an easily accessible way. I have been involved with complimentary medicine in Edinburgh since I began my studies; I managed a chiropractic and massage clinic and, as part of my course, I was responsible for dispensing herbal medicine and giving personal health advice at an established herbalists.

I studied phytotherapy at Napier University gaining an Honours Degree in Herbal Medicine. I am a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH), the leading professional body representing qualified herbalists worldwide.