Florence LeFranc, Certified Medicinal Herbalist, M.S.
An herbalist makes recommendations for using plants and other natural substances to improve health and promote healing and overall well-being. Herbal medicine, also called herbalism, botanical medicine or phytomedicine has been used for thousands of years.
Many of the pharmaceuticals currently available to physicians have a long history of use as herbal remedies, including opium, aspirin, digitalis, and quinine. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 25% of modern drugs used in the United States have been derived from plants. At least 7,000 medical compounds in the modern pharmacopeia are derived from plants. Among the 120 active compounds currently isolated from the higher plants and widely used in modern medicine today, 80% show a positive correlation between their modern therapeutic use and the traditional use of the plants from which they are derived.
Herbal remedies are very common in Europe. In Germany, herbal medications are dispensed by apothecaries. Prescription drugs are sold alongside essential oils, herbal extracts, or herbal teas. Herbal remedies are seen by some as a treatment to be preferred to pure medical compounds that have been industrially-produced. In India, herbal remedies are so popular that the government of India has created a separate department called “AYUSH” under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. The National Medicinal Plants Board was also established in 2000 by the Indian government in order to regulate the herbal medical system in that country.
Florence grew up in a beautiful region of northern France called Normandy. For centuries, its local citizens considered the herbs, fruits, and vegetables they grew outside of their farmhouses as an absolute necessity to raising a healthy family. Her grandparents, who had survived the hardships of Occupied France during World War II, taught Florence how to plant and care for a garden as well as use common herbs as medicinal remedies. Due to her grandparents’ positive influence, Florence, too, became passionate about growing her own healthy produce and herbs.
Her attention and interest were focused upon learning more about the body and how to keep it free from disease. After her schooling, Florence was presented with the opportunity to move to California which she knew as the land of sunshine, greenery and temperate climates. She soon fell in love with her new country, delighting in the fact that on the West Coast, she could maintain a lovely and thriving garden all year round.