Victoria Kearns is a Western Medical Herbalist and Arvigo® Therapy practitioner at Kearns & Meiring herbalists. She spent her 20s & 30s running busy marketing & PR teams in London theatres but changed career when herbal medicine helped her recover from ill health after having her first child, Here, she talks about her inspirations, challenges and where she sees her business in five years’ time.

What inspired you to set up your business?

My parents were hippies. And yet, they had incongruently post-war ideas about life. Food comes out of a tin or, more latterly, a microwave and all ills can be cured with a pill from your doctor. In order to find love a woman must be pretty and slim. I grew up confused and ashamedly bulimic and anorexic for many years. I fell pregnant in my late twenties, by accident, imagining that I’d done so much damage to my body it wasn’t possible. The problems started a couple of years later whilst I was working full time and looking after my one year old son, my body started to break down on me.

After many doctors’ pills hadn’t worked a friend recommended I see a Medical Herbalist and my life and my outlook on health was changed forever. What was most shocking to me was that whilst I had been well educated, academically, with a degree in Psychology I had never linked how I treated my body with how I felt – physically, mentally or emotionally. What I realise now, is that this isn’t uncommon.

It was my desire to help other people understand that health and happiness come from how they take care of their body – what they put into it and how they connect with it – that inspired me to set up my business.

What makes your you/your business special and where are you based?

My business helps people to find effective long-term, natural solutions to their health crises – be it debilitating menstrual pain, chronic infections, difficulty conceiving, fatigue and depression or insomnia – that empower them to take control of their health and lead as rich a life as possible.

The natural solutions include teaching abdominal self-massage techniques (Arvigo® Therapy), botanical medicines (plants that contain biologically therapeutic compounds), support on the best foods to eat, and advice on other self-care techniques that can reduce stress and increase health and happiness.

My aim is to keep my strategies as evidenced based as possible, from clinical trial research, and where this does not exist (as clinical trials are very expensive) from a significant body of historical use.

My business is based in Watford and Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire (kmherbalists.co.uk).

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?

Listen to understand and not to respond.

What has been your greatest challenge?

Letting my heart play a role in the direction of my life, not just my head.

Where do you see yourself / your company in five years’ time

Busy clinic for all with a public herb garden; bunting on the fence, herbal teas on the lawn, fragrances from heaven, people sharing stories, learning from each other.

How do you switch off?

Running and reading – usually nonfiction.

Where do you go on holiday?

Anywhere, where it’s an adventure.

What lesson do you wish you had learnt at school?

That doing a job that engages your hands is not second rate to one that primarily engages your head.

What app/website/twitter account (other than your own!) would you recommend?

The Herbarium by Stephen & Carol Church; a treasure trove of, otherwise lost, traditional methods for making medicines from plants for all types of health conditions. https://theherbarium.wordpress.com/