My name’s Kamaldeep Sidhu and I’m a Medical Herbalist based in Stroud, Gloucestershire.
I wanted to be a doctor when I was younger. Well, actually my parents wanted me to study Medicine, so naturally I rebelled and studied French and Spanish at Bristol University. I was, however always fascinated by the Ayurvedic remedies my grandmothers used to use on us as we were growing up. I enjoyed learning about herbs and spices from my mother and grandmother – I wondered how they knew all this stuff, like putting turmeric paste on my sprained ankle one day after school.
I still had my mind on healthcare during and after I finished my degree in French and Spanish and finally applied to a few medical schools. In the meantime, I worked as a Healthcare Assistant on an acute respiratory ward at a major hospital. I loved it. I enjoyed chatting with patients and the hands-on efforts of all of us in the NHS. I felt part of a vital team. Something didn’t sit right with me, though. It was the food. I realised how important food had been to me growing up. Food was to eat, but it was also medicine for me.
I couldn’t see how anyone could be expected to get better eating that stuff. Post-op mashed potato with radioactive peas? I don’t think so. I knew food budgets weren’t massive, but I also watched patients come in who were sick already, being prescribed a cocktail of drugs – many to counteract the unpleasant side effects of another drug. I watched the staff doing their best but it felt like there weren’t any answers for a lot of the diseases we were seeing. It was always crisis management and I had some serious doubts about whether me being a doctor would actually achieve anything or fulfil me.
My doubts about doing medicine were confirmed when I did a short course on Western Herbal Medicine that summer. I suddenly found a discipline that sat more with my own core values about health and medicine. Medicine based on clinical skills, scientific observation and evidence, but also one with a strong tradition and one that focused on treating the underlying cause of disease.
I decided to take this study further that very September and spent seven years at the University of East London studying a degree in Herbal Medicine. I gained my clinical experience at the Stratford Centre for Herbal Medicine, and then worked at the Urban Fringe Dispensary in Bristol before setting up my practice at the Nailsworth Natural Health Centre in Gloucestershire, which is where I currently work.
Whilst completing my degree in Herbal Medicine, I studied for my teaching qualification and more recently gained my Diploma in Special Educational Needs. I have a particular interest in the role that nutrition can play in the management of certain physiological manifestations associated with Special Educational Needs.
Since graduating, I developed a keen interest in nutrition and evolutionary medicine. I believe that a lot of the chronic diseases we are seeing today are a result of mismatch with our environment. We work long hours and have little exposure to the sunlight. We live with high levels of stress and we eat a lot of processed foods. We have lost our sense of community, and with it our connection with ourselves and our environments and it has made us sick and depressed.
As well as using carefully prescribed plant compounds in my practice, I am passionate about discussing and integrating the roles of nutrition, sleep, stress reduction and short-term supplementation. In my consultations, I will do an in-depth analysis of the different body systems and work with you to make a holistic plan to bring you back to health.
I believe in creating health. You may not be sick, but you may want to feel better, have better cognition and performance, and live longer without chronic disease. I can give you the information you need to help you work towards this.
As well seeing patients at the Nailsworth Natural Health Centre, I do regular talks and workshops about herbal medicine, health and wellbeing for the community, various groups and organisations.
I think orthodox medicine is a fantastic thing that we are very privileged to enjoy in the Western world. I also believe, however, that our medical system is better equipped to respond to acute and emergency clinical situations. If you need a hip replacement – you are lucky to have the best doctors and surgeons at your fingertips. However, if you have an autoimmune disorder such as psoriasis or Crohn's disease, your options are a bit more limited and it’s more a case of managing your symptoms. In this situation, a more integrated and holistic approach may be more beneficial. I believe Herbal Medicine, in combination with good nutrition, stress management and exercise can provide a unique and more sustainable solution - one where the patient can make an informed decision about how they can better manage their health and wellbeing.
According to the World Health Organisation, traditional and/or herbal medicine is the main source of healthcare for millions of people around the world. For some, it is their only healthcare. I share in the vision described in the WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023 to better integrate traditional medicine in to mainstream medical systems, offering more choice and better outcomes for patients who suffer with chronic disease.
Ready to find out more?
Do you have a question? For general enquiries, just send me a message and I will get back to you.