Vivienne Campbell BSc (Hons)
“I am passionate about the wonderful therapeutic plants that surround us.
I love teaching people how to use herbs simply, effectively and joyfully.
I put my heart and soul into everything that I do.”
I grew up on the west coast of Scotland (I am still stuck with my accent but it has certainly mellowed). I always had an interest in natural medicine because during the Second World War two of my relatives attended a naturopath who helped them both a great deal with very serious medical conditions. The naturopath even successfully treated diphtheria when one of my relatives contracted it for a second time (she’d had the orthodox hospital treatment for it the year before but the diphtheria returned). My relatives had their ration books in the health food shop in Glasgow (at least 50 years before health foods became main-stream!) As a consequence of this, I grew up with a respect for natural methods of treating illnesses. I also ate a whole food diet at a time in Scotland when few people did (the Scottish diet is not renowned for its health benefits!) so I have always understood the link between food and health.
After attending an herbalist in Edinburgh, I found my calling and knew that I had to become one too. It took me a couple of years to find a course on herbal medicine because this was before the days of typing things in to the internet and getting back pages of answers! By chance I came across a leaflet produced by the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH), the oldest professional body of herbalists in the world. I wrote to them asking for a list of where they ran their courses. I trained to be a Medical Herbalist on a degree course run by NIMH at the University of Central Lancashire (UK). I qualified in 2003 and moved to Ireland where I have been based ever since.
I see clients in my herbal medicine clinic in County Clare, Ireland where I treat a wide-range of medical conditions. I work closely with local doctors, consultants, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals.
In 2004 I started to teach classes on herbal medicine-making and these became very popular. I now teach classes on herbal medicine, making herbal remedies, natural cosmetic-making and foraging & wild food cookery at various locations as well as taking guided herb & foraging walks. My walks and classes are all about introducing people to the abundance of edible and therapeutic plants that grow all around that people usually barely even notice are there. I am passionate about showing people simple remedies and dishes that can be made at home from common plants. My enthusiasm for herbalism is contagious and people regularly return to my walks and classes. I believe that everyone has the right to know which local plants are edible and therapeutic in order to eat well and help to maintain good health. In order to bring this knowledge to more people and to teach people in more depth, in 2015 I filmed and produced my first series of on-line courses and I now teach these skills to people around the world.
My enthusiasm, clear communication skills and extensive knowledge have led to me appearing on national television many times and being a popular guest speaker. I am often contacted by the media to comment on topical issues concerning herbal medicine. I presented a prime-time television series with the celebrity chef Richard Corrigan and have given many high profile lectures and talks at conferences and public health events.
Television & Documentary Credits
- I co-presented this prime-time television show on RTE1 (the major national television station in Ireland) with celebrity chef Richard Corrigan and organic gardener Kitty Scully. In each episode I foraged for a wild plant and made a food, an herbal remedy or a natural cosmetic from it. Click this link to see the homepage for this television series
• I featured in several episodes of this series on TG4 (another television station in Ireland) identifying medicinal plants and demonstrating how to make herbal remedies from them. Click this link to see the TG4 homepage for series information
• Documentary on the Book of the O’Lees: I was interviewed explaining the history of medicine and some of the herbal and mineral extracts used in this centuries-old medical document (a translation of an Arabian medical treatise dating back to the Golden Age of Islam). Documentary produced for TG4.
- Uncommon Scents: The Movie: This documentary is currently in production and features interviews with key world leaders in research and use of essential oils in clinical aromatherapy e.g. Robert Tisserand, Jeanne Rose etc. I was honoured to be interviewed speaking about the importance of valuing the plants that oils come from. The crew also filmed a recent medicinal herb and wild food foraging walk that I took in Sussex, UK. To see more about this film, click here.
Key Printed Press Credits (National Newspapers)
• Irish Examiner: Review of my on-line courses. Click here to read article.
• Irish Times: Feature about my Land Survey Service Click here to read article.
• Irish Times: Interview and feature about my work and as key-note speaker at Botanica 2012 conference at Trinity College, Dublin. Click here to read article.
• Numerous other features in national and local press over the years.
Key Public Speaking Credits
• Botanica Conferences. I was the key-note speaker on the opening day of the inaugural Botanica conference in 2012 at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. This is a bi-annual conference about professional plant-based medicines (i.e. herbal medicine and clinical aromatherapy) featuring expert speakers from around the world. I am immensely proud to have been involved in Botanica every year (2012, 2014, 2016). Click here to see info from the most recent Botanica conference.
• I was one of the main speakers at the Rude Health Show and the Your Health Show (the main annual health shows in Ireland), at the RDS, Dublin, Ireland. Click this link to see speakers at the Rude Health Show. Click this link to see speakers at the Your Health Show. Some of the talks I gave were on using herbal medicine in pregnancy and the medicinal properties of common wild herbs. As well as giving public lectures at these shows I also gave demos of how to make herbal remedies and natural cosmetics in the demo area of the RDS.
• How to make your own Herbal Remedies: Talk for Cork Free Choice Consumers Group run by Myrtle Allen founder of Ballymaloe (the internationally-renowned restaurant, hotel and cookery school and home of celebrity chefs Darina and Rachel Allen). I spoke about the nutritional and therapeutic properties of many local plants. This event was packed: there was standing room only!
• Wild Flowers: History, Uses, Science & Ecology: Talk for local heritage group.
• Other topics that Vivienne has given talks on over the years include: History of medicine, Herbs for conception and a healthy pregnancy, Herbs for the Menopause, Historical uses of the plants in the Burren and many, many more!
I have contributed specialist articles on the herbs of the Burren and have given talks and tours as part of National Heritage Week. My work features in the Irish craft book ‘Hands On’ by Sylvia Thompson.
I am passionate about protecting the environment and I actively support organisations that treasure the earth. I regularly work with the organic garden and heritage seed bank The Irish Seed Savers Association and The Organic Centre: both organisations that specialise in the conservation of and education about plants and eco-systems in Ireland. I do not work with organisations that use weed-killers and other harmful substances that damage the health of the soil, water, wild-life and humans. Following the WHO report that classed glyphosate as cancer-causing, I am actively trying to get this weed-killer banned (as it has been in various other places around the world).
My website www.theherbalhub.com is designed to be a resource for anyone wanting to learn more about medicinal and edible herbs. I am fascinated by the wide range of uses that plants have and am convinced that I will still be learning new things about them when I am in my nineties! I like to learn from historical sources, modern research and the experience of people working with herbs. I really value the input of all three of these areas because without evidence from each of them things can get out of balance and misleading assumptions can be made (like many things in life, the truth is usually somewhere in the middle).
I am currently writing my first book.