About Southern Institute of Medical Herbalism

The team at the Southern Institute of Medical Herbalism are dedicated, long-term medical herbalist practitioners and educators who have a lifelong passion for the art and science of herbal medicine.

With immersive, diverse streams of learning, starting at the Certificate level and going throughout our courses, we want to support and stimulate anyone who is ready to study herbal medicine. With the personalised mentoring that then comes in for our Diploma students, we want to help those who are ready to dedicate to this work to become safe and effective medical herbalists and natural health practitioners.

Ultimately we want all our students, whatever level they train to, to become skilled and confident with these old ways of medicine, so that they can help remove suffering and bring more peace, love, health and healing into the world.

Our Medical Herbalist Team

Richard Whelan
Richard WhelanDirector
Richard has been in full-time practice as a medical herbalist in Christchurch since 1989. He has taught and written a great deal on herbs and health and in the process has developed a clinically relevant constitutional system for practitioners of Western Medical Herbalism.

As the Director of the Southern Institute of Medical Herbalism, Richard is responsible for the overall structure and development of the courses.

He will be extensively involved in teaching the students throughout the courses via a series of educational videos and, as students progress through the work, Richard will play a key role in providing mentoring and personalised guidance from a highly experienced clinician.

Mary Allan
Mary AllanCourse Coordinator
Mary has studied and practiced natural medicine for over 25 years and currently practices in Browns Bay, Auckland. She was the editor of Avena, the professional journal of the New Zealand Association of Medical Herbalists (NZAMH) for 10 years and also spent 12 years in a variety of other roles including President, Secretary and PR & Conference Coordinator.

Mary has a Bachelor of Natural Medicine, a Diploma in Yoga Therapy and a Diploma in Clinical Herbal Medicine. She has taught a number of subjects including Herbal Materia Medica and Herbal Therapeutics to degree-level naturopathy students.

Along with instructing and mentoring, Mary is responsible for coordinating the course and ensuring the students get all the materials they need to be well equipped for their great learning journey!

Paul Bergner
Paul BergnerSenior Lecturer
Paul has studied and practiced natural medicine since 1973, he has written seven books on the subject of Natural Health and has been the editor of the professional journal of the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism (NAIMH) since its founding in 1989.

Paul directed the clinical herbalism programs at Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies for 18 years, training more than 230 certified clinical herbalists. In addition to directing the NAIMH, he teaches herbal materia medica and therapeutics, clinical nutrition, clinical skills and medical history and philosophy.

Paul will be active on our faculty and in our forum and his world-class audio lectures and distance-learning materials form a core part of our course.

Anya Valenty
Anya ValentyInstructor
Anya trained as a medical doctor in her home city of Pyatigorsk, Russia and began working in hospitals in 1995, where she specialised in emergency care and pathology.

Pyatigorsk means ‘five mountains’ and, from early childhood, Anya frequently travelled with her Grandmother, a woman deeply immersed in folk medicine, into the surrounding hills and valleys of the Caucasus region to gather and learn about medicinal herbs. Anya will be actively involved in the immersive workshops and will help our Diploma students with personal mentoring.

Danielle Whelan
Danielle WhelanStudent Liaison
Danielle has been working for over 5 years as an apprentice herbalist with her father, Richard Whelan.

Danielle is a warm-hearted, kind and passionate person who will work hard to help our students feel well supported from the very beginning of their journey.

Danielle will be actively liaising with students on various administrative matters throughout the course and will also play a key role in immersive workshop field-trips and in helping to teach herbal medicine manufacturing.

Mother Nature
Mother Nature
“I who am the beauty of the green earth
and the white moon among stars
and the mysteries of the waters,
I call upon your soul to arise
and come unto me”


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