Meghan Rhodes, qualified herbalist in herb garden gathering herbs in basket for her herbalism school

Taking Ownership of Your Health

Written by our founder, Meghan Rhodes MCPP MAPA

In a former life, I had a chronic health issue (digestive, to be specific). You might know that person. You might be that person. The person who is constantly operating with an underlying level of anxiety in any social situation, no matter how enjoyable, because they’re never sure when their body will betray them, or rather, when the environment they’re in will leave them exposed and embarrassed. The person whose friends and family love them, but whom everyone invites to join in with a bit of hesitancy. The child who has to be barricaded behind walls of lists and instructions and ‘special’ accommodations given to school teachers and caregivers and birthday party-throwers. The inconvenient one. The making a mountain out of a molehill one. The always felt this way one. The ‘why aren’t I “normal'' like everyone else?’ one. The lonely one.

It’s exhausting. It’s endless. It’s always been that way, and it’s impossible to imagine a life that wouldn’t be that way in perpetuity.

I was that person. I am not that person anymore.

I grew up in a fairly typical household. We had a mix of home cooked food and processed food, usually on the same plate. If I felt a cold coming on or started developing a fever, I’d ask my mum for a swig of sugar syrup paracetamol so I could get to school and crack on with my day. It’s what everyone did and it never occurred to us to question it.

This continued until my mum came across the then innovative concept that food and nutrition had a specific impact on the wellbeing of children with autism like my brother. She started reading, exploring, and taking us to the ‘health food store’, as it was called back then. At the time, I thought of it as the shop that smelled funny and had some sort of odd tasting imposter chocolate. We learned very slowly as a family over many years.

When I went off to university and had to start taking responsibility for my own health on a daily basis, I started looking into whole food and natural health options myself. I was (incorrectly, it turned out years later) diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, and in an instant, my world shrank significantly. What I had experienced throughout childhood as constant discomfort, sensations from which I didn’t know any differently, suddenly became a diagnosis with very serious consequences looming over my head. 

I entered a life of ‘I can’t’.

I can’t eat that because of what’s in it. I can’t go there because there’s nothing I can have. I can’t wear that because it exacerbates my physical discomfort. I can’t go on that holiday unless I bring ‘special’ provisions with me. Perhaps you can relate.

It was all-encompassing. It was suffocating. And there was no way out.

And somehow, amidst all these restrictions, I didn’t feel better. Marginally less uncomfortable is probably the best rating I could give it. 

After I finished my studies and began working, despite my increasingly strict diet, things got worse. They reached a crescendo when I became so frequently and urgently poorly and was so exhausted, my manager sent me home from work and told me to get help from someone.

So I went to every specialist, both allopathic and a fair few holistic, had every test, and the results were always the same - ‘There’s nothing wrong with you. Go home and take a paracetamol.’

I was in my early 20s and had been sent home from work. I was not ok. No one was listening. No one was helping. Everyone seemed to be saying there was something fundamentally wrong with me.

It took a number of attempts with different holistic practitioners until I found what I had been looking for all along - herbal medicine. It took a lot of self-study and initiative alongside working with Anne McIntyre - one of the most widely published, highly skilled and globally respected herbalists, who has become my long-term teacher and mentor - until I started getting to grips with my gut health and how to support it naturally with herbs. 

Combined with implementing a few marked lifestyle changes and over a decade of accumulated knowledge, I began to climb out of that life of ‘I can’t’. One by one I got rid of all those barriers I’d had to put around myself and started creating a life of freedom. And finally living it.

I got better - genuinely and permanently.

That was nearly a decade ago. It may seem incomprehensible, but I’m so used to feeling good, I often forget I used to feel any other way. As I said, I am not that person anymore. 

I received three priceless gifts from living that life and having those experiences:

  • I built up decades of lived knowledge of seemingly small steps and shifts anyone can make that can transform life over time from one of accepting whatever you’re told to one of empowerment where creating what you really want to feel and experience becomes your reality.
  • I learned that in asking questions of things you take as givens, you can find your own power.
  • I found that knowledge brings autonomy and self-reliance in personal health, which means you never have to settle for not feeling better.

Having found a way out of a life of ‘I can’t’ myself through herbal medicine, I know no one should have to have that same experience - of never truly feeling better, of internalising the idea there’s something wrong with them, of not having the personal power to question what they’re being given and told whilst knowing it’s not good enough. 

I'm not just talking about chronic conditions,
I'm also talking about day to day personal and family health.

I’m not just talking about chronic conditions, although many of us have experience with them. I’m also talking about day to day personal and family health. I’m calling out the sugar syrup paracetamol we freely give children and the pill versions we pop as adults because we don’t know how to support a healthy fever or we’re under pressure from society to push ourselves when we need to rest, and we don’t understand the impacts those drugs have on our health. I’m calling out the fact that we're so heavily and constantly bombarded with the noise of advertising masquerading as information that we can't hear the messages our bodies are sending us on a daily basis, let alone understand and interpret them. I’m calling out the fact we’ve spent so long outsourcing our health, we have scant knowledge left ourselves, so everything feels like an emergency and sends us rushing to the healthcare systems and the drug counters, taking whatever we’re given and it never occurs to us to ask questions.

I spent half a decade retraining and qualifying in herbal medicine under the tuition of some of the most highly respected, skilled and experienced professionals to combine that expert training with my lifetime of personal experience and acquired knowledge to be able to support you in saying enough is enough.

I am here to share ways you can begin to ask questions and start making small changes that have a positive impact on how you experience your life.

I am here to walk that path with you, so you know you’re not alone on your journey and so you feel confident you always have someone you can lean on when you’re expanding your knowledge and skills.

I am here to save you time and energy sifting through the noise to get to the information you need and the skills you want to take back ownership of your health and the health of your family.

I am here to reach through that crack in the walls boxing you in your life of ‘I can’t’ so you know you can and together, we will.

This is why I teach courses and workshops, sharing my lifetime of knowledge and expert training in herbal medicine so you can begin to transform your life into one that is healthy, natural, and in your power without having to sift through the bottomless pit of information online and never being quite sure if it’s accurate or how to implement it. 

Together, we will increase your knowledge.
Together, we will build your power.
Together, we will develop your autonomy and resilience. 
Together, we will create a life where you can’t remember what it felt like to be that person.
Together, we will achieve a future where knowledge is second-nature.

That is the person I am now. Who will you be and where will your journey begin?
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