Early Spring, Collaborative Process and an ABC of Herbal Medicine

The bees arrived in the much earlier than usual apricot blossoming this week. The first of the petticoat daffodils are out and an early plum opened its first flower to the world today. I am excited to see a robust Black Cohosh and Monkshood emerging and the first of the Paeonia shoots appear as though they are unfolding from the Earth itself.

There is a lot happening at ‘Viriditas’ on ground and on the website.

***Free Downloads***

I hear from people that they are enjoying the Superweeds, Superfoods and the ABC of Grassroots Herbal Medicine available on International College of Herbal Medicine – Resources www.islaburgess.com 

This week I have loaded A Treasure Chest of Herbal Recipes Volume 1 for External Preparations. The Volume 2 will follow.

This treasure chest includes a range of innovative and unique ways of using plants as medicines. They were ideas from creative Herbal Medicine students over 10 years at the Waikato Centre for Herbal Studies, Cambridge, New Zealand. It is an invaluable resource.

Another invaluable offering is a workshop at ‘Viriditas’ on;

Collaborative process – Changing the healing relationship


What defines us as Natural health Practitioners? How can we work differently? Is it more ‘holistic’?

A Collaborative Process does change the relationship where the patient plays a more pro-active role. Currently most practitioners work across the ‘Paternalistic, Autonomous and/or Shared decision making ’ models. (See Chart below). The collaborative decision making model allows for a shift in both process and context.

Roland Playle and I have been co-facilitators of workshops in both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. We are now combining our skills and experience to apply this different way of working as a health practitioner.

Roland is a facilitator specializing in promoting whole-system approaches. His work focuses on stimulating ways of perceiving and thinking that combine detailed observation, intuition and imagination. He has a background in research into wild flowers and their relationship to humans (such as medicinal uses and folklore) and to their intricate participation in their landscapes.

This workshop will reconsider the role and practice of a ‘holistic’ practitioner and the patient-healer relationship. Participants will work to recognise the limitations of the standard diagnostic consultation approach of causality, and to consider how consultations can be organized to value the subtleties that honour the whole-person as well as the relationship between patient and healer.

If interested, participants could stay through Monday for wild gathering of the Central Otago Thyme for their own use. 

Clinical decision making models.

Model for Patient / Practitioner interaction

Practitioner’s Role

Patient’s Role

Knowledge flow





One-way knowledge transfer (practitioner to patient)

Compliance of patient to practitioner




One-way knowledge transfer (patient to practitioner)

Compliance of practitioner to patient

Shared decision making



Two-way knowledge exchange

Collaborative decision making



Knowledge building that goes beyond clinical issues (shared learning by information exchange)

A participatory process centred on patent’s health’ (involving patient and physician).

Cost to include lunches will be $460.00 incl GST.

Location; Viriditas Herbal Resource Centre and Gardens. (Central Otago)

For more information or to register for this workshop, Please contact;

Isla Burgess
Viriditas, Centre for Plant Directed Learning and Herbal Resource Centre
128A Willowbank Rd
Rd3 Cromwell 9383, New Zealand, 0210552400, isla.burgess@gmail.com

About Roland Playle MSc.

Roland Playle is a practitioner of Holistic Science. He has spent many years researching and working with participatory processes that aim to broaden perception.  Alan Kaplan  (Reading the nature of process from a process of nature- South Africa), and the late Dr Margaret Colquhoun, Scotland)  and Dr Craig Holdrege of the Nature Institute (US) have been some of his teachers. He is a tutor on the Schumacher College (UK) Holistic Science programme and currently lives and works in Scotland.

About Isla Burgess MSc Dip Tchg, Dip HM. FNZAMH. (Viriditas, Centre for Plant Directed Learning and Resource Centre)

I have been working on the idea of Collaborative Process in clinical practice for a while now. Roland is more skilled with the application of this process that is now finding its way through project development and even into mainstream medicine.
It is more than 40 years since I began my life long journey into the complex world of medicinal plants and an unopened packet of seeds stills thrills me with delight.
I also delight creating situations where others can experience this world.
Presentations include Conferences NZ, Australia, US, Canada
Documentaries: ‘Earth Whisperers Paptuanuku’ (New Zealand) and Numen (USA).

Books: ‘Weeds Heal. A Working Herbal’. ‘The Biophilic Garden. Connecting People, Plants and Inscape’.

Websites www.HerbCollege.com  Blog www.islasite.wordpress.com






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