Member profile details
I am a forager, research herbalist and ethnobotanist. I have a Masters degree in Herbal Medicine, am a Fellow of the Linnean Society, a Member of the Association of Foragers, and a Member of the British Mycological Society. I served on the Association of Foragers Committee from its foundation in 2015 until 2021 when I stepped down but remain as Treasurer.
I teach foraging courses all over the country and current courses can be found on my website.
In past years, I have run private courses and walks and workshops for the Forestry Commission, Scottish Natural Heritage, National Trust Scotland and many companies and community groups. I also teach on the Herbology Diploma course for the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. I love to encourage those of you living in our cities to visit the green spaces, parks and countryside and reconnect with nature!
I have co-published a paper on British foraging:
Łuczaj, Ł., Wilde, M., & Townsend, L. (2021). The Ethnobiology of Contemporary British Foragers: Foods They Teach, Their Sources of Inspiration and Impact. Sustainability, 13(6), 3478.
The link is here:
My passion for plants and fungi extends to their use in medicine and I run a specialist clinic for people suffering from Lyme and other tick borne infections through Napiers the Herbalists. My research degree informs my understanding of plant and fungi pharmacology which is why one of my pet hates is all the poor quality erroneous information provided online about plants and their 'dangers'!
I have been fascinated by herbs and plants since childhood. My original interest was sparked by a wild childhood in Kenya, where I was introduced to herbal medicine by a local Kikuyu herbalist at the age of six. We were outdoors most of the time and I remember with joy the freedom of those early years. I love foraging for wild food as well as wild medicine and would happily never visit a supermarket again. I have a keen interest in the different ways that people live and I collect stories and fables from traditional peoples across the world. I have also had the good fortune to have run talks and workshops in many different countries.
I live in West Lothian in a self-built wooden house on 4 organic acres where I am encouraging medicinal and foraging species to create a wild, teaching garden. I am lucky to be surrounded by countryside - albeit being quickly swallowed up by 'progress' - and can feed myself from the hedgerows and woodland around me.
I am currently following a strictly wild food only diet since Black Friday in November 2020. This has been an interesting challenge. I am a lot lighter and following the changes in my gut microbiome with great interest. It has also made me rethink some of the beliefs that I held about diet and ancestral diets even though I have been teaching foraging some 14 years. I am documenting this in a book that will be published in Spring 2022.
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