About Helen

Helen McCormack

My journey with plants began more than 25 years ago when I was fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time in the west of Ireland, especially in the Burren, Co. Clare. I became intrigued by the wonderful Burren landscape and its flora, and began to learn about the wide range of plants that grow naturally there and their traditional use in herbal medicine. This began a connection with plants which was to deepen and grow. Shortly afterwards I started a small herb growing project in Dublin in the mid 1980's, and began to meet more people with a similar interest. I read extensively on the subject of herbs but at that time there were no courses in herbal medicine in Ireland.

Qualifications and experience

In 1989 I enrolled in the four-year diploma at The College of Phytotherapy (Herbal Medicine) which was located in Sussex, England. This course offered a high level of training for those who wished to practice herbal medicine, and was accredited by the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, the oldest representative body of herbalists in the world. I graduated in 1994 and have been practising at my clinic in Marino, Dublin 3, since that time.

In 2000 I graduated with BSc in Social Studies (specialising in Health and Wellbeing, and Health Promotion) from the Open University.

More recently I completed a Masters in Primary Health Care at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

In 2001, I was appointed as an herbal advisor to the Irish Medicines Board's Herbal Sub-Committee and I continued as advisor on subsequent committees until 2011.

I have also trained in stress management and relaxation training, working on relaxation techniques with people on a one-to-one basis or in a small group setting.  It forms a very useful addition to my clinical work.

Other interests

I have studied Tai-chi and Aikido for many years. Such practices provide me with the balance I need in my own life and deepen the practitioner's understanding of life force or Chi (Qi), a principle at the heart of many healing traditions. This is particularly true of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which gives an integrated framework for diagnosis and treatment and adds an extra dimension to my work.

I very much enjoy walking in the countryside, being in nature whenever I can and collecting herbs as the seasons unfold. From time to time I run short courses in herbal medicine so that the public can learn more about the traditional usage of our plants and how to use them for treating minor ailments. These courses also include workshops in making your own simple remedies. Click here to view any upcoming events.

I am continuously learning about plants and the possibilities they offer for healing, and am currently working with colleagues on a number of shared projects.

Design: Alan Davis