I am a forager, research herbalist and ethnobotanist. 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 teach foraging courses all over the country. I have a Masters degree in Herbal Medicine, am a Fellow of the Linnean Society, a Member of the Association of Foragers, a Member of the Institute for Outdoor Learning and a Member of the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine.
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. My childhood covered four continents and I also had a childhood fascination with the traditions and medicines of American Indians. When I was 9, I was sent to boarding school and fondly remember ‘Mima’ an ‘adopted’ grandmother who rescued me for weekends and taught me the herbs of the Sussex countryside, and my aunt who collected lichens and plants to dye sheep’s wool for spinning. For more about my early inspirations read this article.
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 West Africa, the Caribbean, Scandinavia as well as the UK.
I run Napiers the Herbalists, Scotland’s oldest and most trusted herbal medicine and complementary health company. Napiers has two clinics in Edinburgh and Glasgow and a herbal email helpline for people who need health advice and can’t get to see a medical herbalist. Since 2007, after a career in branding and marketing (not knowing at 18 that you could study to be a herbalist), from screen printing T shirts to inventing coloured flame candles – I became an owner and director of Napiers the Herbalists. This is a wonderful business that was started in 1860 and provides natural health care and skincare to people all over the world. I work alongside friend, Dee Atkinson, one of the UK’s leading medical herbalists who runs the Napiers Edinburgh clinic and Caitlin Keddie who runs the Napiers Glasgow clinic. Herbal medicine is, for both of us, not just a profession but a passion. I have just completed the MSc Herbal Medicine at the University of Central Lancashire with a special focus on beneficial drug, herb and micronutrient interactions.
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 love to encourage those of you living in our cities to visit the green spaces, parks and countryside and learn about the diversity of your natural surroundings. I have also trained community leaders to lead foraging / wild medicine walks and introduced the joys of the woods to people with a wide range of abilities. If anyone or any group, great or small, is interested in walks or workshops, just email me. It is a pleasure to inspire other people to enjoy nature around us, even hidden in the largest city and foraging can have huge health benefits as well.
Scotland has been my home since 1995. Now my children have left home, I find myself unsupervised and getting wilder day by day! Reverting to my ‘weed state’.
Life is a constant joy and discovery.
Mo Wilde x