Seeds of Change: Caroline Evans’s Journey from Herbal Gardens to Global Wellbeing Advocate
In a healthcare landscape dominated by pharmaceutical titans, Caroline shines as a paragon of holistic health and empowerment. Her clinic is a refuge where botanical healing flourishes, epitomized by life-changing patient recoveries through her mastery of iridology and natural remedies. Caroline’s holistic approach, which mirrors the delicate balance she maintains between her nurturing family life and her vibrant practice, offers a compelling alternative to conventional treatment, spotlighting the root causes of illness. Her Cypriot herb garden and involvement in the “Wellbeing Frome” initiative underscore her resilience and commitment to community wellness. Emphasizing education, Caroline inspires the younger generation through sensory-rich teaching methods and her insightful foraging literature, paving the way for a future where integrated health practices are revered, and natural wellness is paramount in the conscious collective. This article unfolds the story of a true Medicine Woman, whose vision and teachings are a clarion call to reclaim our inherent right to holistic health.
Caroline, your work revolves around educating people to take control of their health. Can you share your most fulfilling experience during one of your 1:1 consultations, and how it impacted your approach towards health education?
One of my most fulfilling experiences to date in my clinic was working with a patient who literally crawled into the clinic room, she was so depleted she could not even lift her head, so she lay on the couch during the entire consultation. On that first consultation, I observed something in her iris when performing my analysis using iridology, this then prompted a discussion, and we worked out that there had been some serious poisoning in her body. We then started her on a program of herbs, supplements and dietary/lifestyle changes and wow, we managed to totally turn things around. Within 3 months, she was upright, walking, and healthy again, a life totally transformed. As her testimonial states, “Caroline gave me my life back!” This is one of many experiences in my clinic which confirmed to me the importance and lack of real health education. I have always been surprised that most people simply don’t know what constitutes true and lasting health. It brings me such joy when a patient truly ‘gets it’, when the penny drops. You know that they’ve had that quantum shift in thinking in their brain and now leading a healthy life is a tangible experience for them. I always aim for those quantum shifts in my work.
As a mother of three and a professional in the medicinal field, how do you balance family life and your passionate work, and how does it influence what you teach?
Having 3 small children, a busy practice and herbal business I love, does make for a massive amount of juggling, that is for sure. With my husband we do manage to support each other in our work whilst being present for our children. However as there are so many aspects to my work, I am often incorporating my children into my work, such as foraging, herb identification, remedy making, and making healthy food choices, these are such important life skills for them. My son recently came along to a school teaching session with me as my assistant and absolutely loved it. Another example is when we were on a family camp in the summer, some people were really suffering with hayfever and my 3 year old turns to me and says, “Mummy, we have to take them plantain!” The knowledge that I am fortunate to have, I want to teach my own and other children. I feel that it is our God given right to know about ourselves, about the Nature that surrounds us and how we can heal ourselves with the plants around us. My children and the next generation fuel my passion to empower people to know themselves and know Nature.
You’ve been referred to as a Medicine Woman due to your integrative approach to healthcare. Can you explain this approach in more detail and how it benefits your students and patients?
The title of Medicine Woman I inherited when in Cyprus as people would come far and wide to see this woman in the hills who helped heal people with herbs. They would say, “The herbs help but she does the work!” I believe that they also refer to my holistic approach in my work and in my life. We are multifaceted, having many layers to us. I am always looking for the cause to someones issues. Whereas so many medical models simply look at the symptoms and ‘treat’ those, I believe that unless you get to the root causes of the issue, it will keep arising and come up in different forms. For example, oftentimes it is what someone is doing or not doing that is actually causing the issues in their body and until that is changed, true health cannot be achieved. After all the body just wants to heal and it does a very good of it given the right environment. It is my job to help the patient to find these best conditions for their body to heal themselves naturally.
Could you share some of the challenges and triumphs you faced when setting up your herbal garden in Cyprus? How did these experiences shape your understanding of medicinal plants and their interaction with human physiology?
In my early 20’s I set up a herbal garden in the hills in Cyprus. The climate was hot and the land hard for growing as was the emotional climate very masculine and incredibly sexist. My biggest battle there was dealing with the local council and Mukari or mayor of the village who would for one chase me around the tables to get a grope and then hinder my progress by pocketing the grants received from Europe. This was very tough, but I had been given a vision and a calling to go to Cyprus to do this work so kept on manifesting my dream. The village asked me to run a coffee shop alongside the herb garden in order to use the old school building which came with its own challenges along with the traditional Cyprus coffee (of which my old neighbours taught me to read the cups) and frappe making. I made the most of it with popular vegan and gluten free cakes and herbal drinks which was a fundamental part of the herb garden experience. Later with my husband we set up island wide acclaimed farmers markets. I gained support from some amazing people along the way such as the governmental department of the environment, the Cyprus Sustainable Tourist Initiative who gave me awards for my commitment to environmental protection, conservation and local culture. The elders of the village too were incredibly giving in their knowledge of local herbs and taught me the ways of alchemy, to distil essential oils and make rose water.
I was incredibly lucky to have been given a blank state of land to work with where I planted 20,000 herbs using biodynamic methods, which meant that chamomile seeds planted on a descending flower day came up on an ascending flower day, it was pure magic. Being with the herbs encouraged me to start and complete my training in herbal medicine, so I travelled to London to train every month for 5 years, that was a huge challenge balancing travelling, building the herb garden and studying all at the same time. However it was all part of the journey of which I am extremely grateful as everything I learned I was able to put directly into practice. It also meant I gained a deeper respect and friendship with my teachers of which I still have today. What was amazing about growing the herbs was that I was able to use the herbs I had grown and nurtured from seed and then when I qualified as a herbalist to make them into a tea, distilled oil or tincture for my patients. To see that process from start to finish gave me a depth of understanding of Nature and how it interacts with us humans. This also taught me a great lesson in how the quality of the herbs along with their intentional use when growing affects the efficacy of the herbal medicines.
Your involvement in community projects is commendable. Can you share more about the “Wellbeing Frome” project and its impact on the Somerset community?
Having a history of community projects in Cyprus from free healthcare for the villagers, to organic farmers markets and local children and educational events, meant that when we did move to the UK with our young family in tow, I was very keen to get involved in local community projects. It was here that I was involved in the start-up of Wellbeing Frome which was community group of health practitioners including herbalist, chiropractors, shiatsu practitioners, massage therapists and psychotherapists. We managed to get some funding from the local council and set about giving highly discounted treatments to locals in Frome. This great project unfortunately succumbed to lockdown measures however it and similar projects are making a come back in Frome again. I do still offer discounted shorter sessions myself to people with limited income. After all, people need choice and access to natural health practitioners and natural healthcare practices.
You have an interesting approach toward teaching children about herbal medicine. What inspired you to include children in your educational scope and what methods do you use to make the subject engaging for them?
Over the years I have come to realise how much I enjoy teaching children. I find most children to be so receptive to anything involving Nature, they are wise and have well thought through questions and are keen to learn without judgement of getting the answer’s wrong. I have taught children of all ages and have found that using organoleptic testing methods i.e use of the senses of touch, smell, taste, observation and intuition makes learning very tangible to children. In the herb garden in Cyprus, I used to love digging up fresh liquorice roots and getting the children to taste how sweet these were straight from the ground. Another quality to my teaching style is to incorporate all our senses but also to practically make medicines from the herbs. The children love this approach as it really solidifies their learning.
Your book series, “Discovering the Herbs of The Seasons”, has been a source of knowledge for many. What was your inspiration behind writing these foraging books?
My books are so incredibly useful for teaching and many parents have told me they have bought these for their children who have thoroughly enjoyed foraging and medicine making with them. I was inspired to write and self-publish three books in a year as I felt that although there are many foraging books out here, there was not one that incorporated the medicinal properties and herbal remedies from the point of view of an experienced herbalist. I felt this was a necessary and valuable addition to the market. My books are colourful and allow for a handy reference book with ease of identification when out on a walk and an inspiring recipe book when back in the kitchen.
Your yearly membership, “Build Your Herbal Medicine Chest”, introduces members to the world of herbs. Can you share a success story from this program that highlights the benefits of understanding and utilizing herbs?
Build your herbal medicine chest is my current membership program which is an expansion of and based on the work in my books. The monthly membership takes people on an in-depth journey through the hedgerows to build your own medicine chest for all their ails. The course has been thoroughly enjoyed by its members who excitedly report back to me what they have been making. What is more, is that they have fundamentally changed the way they think and work with the seasons and look ahead to supporting their healthcare over time using their own remedies. It is so rewarding to see people becoming confident using herbal remedies for their home use.
Your upcoming courses focus on specific body systems and mental health. What triggered the need for such focused courses and how do you believe they will help people manage their health better?
The shorter term, weekly courses I have include Boost Your Immune System in 5 days; Boost your Infant and Child’s Immunity; Perimenopause, finding the way through the symptoms using food and herbs and Keeping Calm Amidst The Chaos that looks at the effects of stress, burnout and chronic fatigue. I have tailored these in a very focused manner literally getting to the roots of that disorder or system within the body. I’ve asked what people actually wanted from my courses, the answers that came back was specificity. I am passionate about empowering people to be able to help themselves using natural remedies and ancient healing method. For me, being specific in an otherwise overly generalised and unnecessarily complicated world, was a good use of my time and a great way top share my expertise. I believe if people understand their condition and know what to do about it, they can then start to change their health outcomes in life.
Finally, you aim to empower people to take their health into their own hands. Can you share your vision for the future and how you plan to reach more people worldwide with your message that “health is your greatest wealth”?
My vision for the future has many layers, partly in integrated healthcare practices where we can get tested, scanned, examined but then receive treatment in the form of natural medicine and ancient healthcare practices. I have more memberships and courses up my sleeve to incorporate these teachings as I endeavour to be part of these types of advanced medical models of the future. Ancient practices coupled with modern testing methods are the way forwards. Teaching people to ‘know thyself’ is paramount to health.
One thing I know too, is that people crave connection, with each other, with the land and with themselves; that no matter the advancement of technology it doesn’t truly and deeply fulfill those basic needs. Part of my mission is teaching people how to find that connection within themselves and within nature and to understand the interconnectedness of everything.
The final part of my mission and I believe the most important is passing all that knowledge onto children, empowering the next generation and the ones after them to understand themselves, to know and to understand Nature and the healing offered to us all, as our birthright. Your health really is your greatest wealth and nothing matters quite as much as knowing how to be and stay healthy. I always say that your health is in your own hands if you know what you are looking for. There is much work to do to build a healthier future for all, one where our choices are recognised as affecting another; where we realise we are not separate but integral to the whole of existence. What I have found from working with the land is that with the right conditions and pure intentions, healing grows. For more information and to keep in touch with my mission, www.heavenonearthherbals.com