Work & Wellbeing with Natasha Richardson of Forage Botanicals
Professional herbalist Natasha Richardson, founder of Forage Botanicals, is fanatical about helping women to transform their period woes into period pros. We’re thrilled to have just added our favourite mood-boosting products from Forage Botanicals to our wellbeing shop – take a look here. We’re also welcoming Natasha to Gazelli House, our wellbeing space in South Kensington, on Saturday 26 October for a masterclass in Herbs and Hormones. We caught up with Natasha to find out more…
What does having a peaceful period mean to you?
A peaceful period is a stress-free one. It’s becoming popular to stop periods altogether using medications like the contraceptive pill because they are seen as nothing but an inconvenience. I think we should aspire to turn this attitude on its head. Periods should be celebrated, not viewed as a curse.
What are your three essentials for a more peaceful period?
It’s essential that we reduce our refined sugar intake, prioritise self-care by whatever means possible, and keep records of the symptoms we experience.
If you need help with balancing your hormones, where is a good place to start?
Always start with recording what you’re currently experiencing. If you start taking remedies without knowing what the problem was like to begin with you won’t really know if the remedy or dietary change is helping. I have a free chart you can use for this, or just keep a diary. Then I’d use a resource like Thomas Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, or my upcoming book Your Period Handbook, due out in late 2019.
Menstrual wellbeing is being added to the national curriculum in 2020 – what is the key thing you hope students will learn?
I hope that young menstruators will be taught what is normal and not normal when it comes to menstruation so they are more likely to seek medical help when their period is uncomfortable.
How did Forage Botanicals come about?
I created the company because I saw so many women’s health problems falling through the gaps of the NHS. Having trained as a medical herbalist at university I knew there was so much that could be done to help these women with their PMS, pain, and more.
What question do you get asked most frequently?
“What’s that?” I work with traditional British herbs, in ways that are familiar to herbalists but to no one else. The products I make seem unique and mystical but they are actually part of a herbal medicine tradition that is thousands of years old.
Tell us more about the Herbs and Hormones workshop you’re giving at Gazelli House this October,
This workshop is a beginners’ guide to balancing your hormones with herbs. You will learn to trust your instincts, to chart your symptoms, and will discover the incredible medicine chest on our doorsteps in England. You’ll also leave with a goody bag to get you started, including a bottle of my Goddess Drops, a blend I made to help women to tune into their womb wisdom.
How do you look after your own wellbeing?
I ask for help. Now that I have a son I don’t have time to 1) work, 2) care for him and 3) cook. I can only do two of those things. I am lucky to have childcare some days and the capacity to buy ready-made wholefood meals on the other days. I believe that relaxation and diet are the ways to prevent illness. If you can’t get enough of those two things, then herbs can help. But I try to avoid getting to that point.
Tell us about your typical day before 9am.
I wake up next to my husband and baby and ask the husband to take baby to his play room. Then I lie on my back (a luxury after co-sleeping on your side all night) for a while before getting up to play with my son. I’ll make myself a brew of my Strengthen + Soothe Latte and mill about the house doing chores and playing with my son until he falls asleep for a nap around 9/10am. That’s when I sit down to see what I want to get done during my work day and with him.
What mantra do you live by?
I have tattooed on me: This is it, pay attention.
You can shop Forage Botanicals here and find out more and book your place at Natasha’s Herbs and Hormones workshop here.