Ian Breakspear photo (large)Herbal medicine has been in my bloodstream for most of my life. The first lecture I attended at 17 years of age, delivered by Nick Burgess, really ignited a fascination in the complexity of herbal medicine.

In hindsight though, the passion had been developing for a few years. As a young teenager I was amazed by an article in the Science section of the newspaper, about chimpanzees in Africa self-medicating with carefully selected leaves from specific plants, to treat parasitic infections.

Around the same time, whilst on a school field trip to a national park during torrential rain, I noticed a particular tree which had masses of foam at the base of its trunk. Thinking this may have been pollution from runoff, I asked our Guide about it. He pointed out that there were no other plants growing around that tree for some meters, and then explained the foam was a chemical produced by the tree to inhibit the growth of competing flora. Normally invisible, it was stirred up by the massive rains to a large foam.

Chimps and herbs newspaper article thumbnailSince those early years I have trained formally in herbal medicine and naturopathy, and completed a Masters Degree in Herbal Medicines at the University of Sydney, specialising in herbal pharmacology and quality analysis. I have practiced clinically for more than 17 years, worked for a number of herbal medicine companies as a technical consultant, and taught herbal medicine and medical sciences at private colleges and universities. I spent 8 years on the Board of Directors of the National Herbalists Association of Australia (NHAA), culminating in the position of Vice-President. In 2006 I was awarded Fellowship of the NHAA for “meritorious work in the profession of herbalism”.

Currently I practice in the heart of the Sydney CBD, helping patients with a range of complex health problems especially in the areas of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases. I teach at Endeavour College of Natural Health and Australasian College of Natural Therapies in Sydney, Australia*. I also write for professional publications, am a peer reviewer for the Australian Journal of Herbal Medicine, and deliver lectures to professional audiences both nationally and internationally.

But that’s enough about my CV – if you want to read more my LinkedIn profile has the details.

My mission is to ensure herbal medicine is once again recognised as an essential component of quality health care. Not an alternative, but a legitimate health care option for the people, offering the individualised, holistic, and complete pharmacology that only plant medicine can provide.

For me, that leads to clinical practice – helping people with herbs – and education – helping people by training better herbalists.

My second mission is to seek out and indulge in the ultimate chocolate. Chocolate is an amazing food and medicine, and I love learning about the complex chemistry, the history and mythology, the agriculture and economics, and the creation of chocolate from Theobroma cacao. And it’s not just a theoretical exercise – you’ll find some of my most “spiritual” chocolate experiences on these pages. Enjoy! 😉


* The views expressed on this website are my own and do not necessarily represent the official views of the THINK: Education Group or Endeavour College of Natural Health.

Copyright Ian Breakspear, 2014