Ironically, though I grew up on a dairy farm, surrounded by crops, animals, and nature, I was never exposed to natural health or healing during all that time. Farmers are not necessarily naturalists, and my parents showed little interest in herbal medicine. I never even tried whole wheat bread until I was a teenager and one of my aunts gave me some!

My first exposure to natural medicine came after marrying my husband and moving to the big city of Toronto, where my husband’s mother owned a natural health business. She was from Taiwan and used a combination of Asian ancestral teachings and a western degree in organic chemistry to advise customers on how to use herbs to cleanse their systems. Suffering for years from endometriosis herself, she had been let down by Western medicine. It was only by reverting to the traditional teachings of her past that she was able to heal herself.

I began to work with her, and became excited to learn about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a system of natural healing that I found both mysterious, yet practical all at the same time. I even began to attend a TCM school, so I could provide the same services. Unfortunately, I pushed myself too hard: at the time, I was working full-time, going to school, and raising two children, and fell victim to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). It was then that I experienced the limitations of Western medicine first-hand.

I was forced to drop out of school and stop working, bringing my life to a complete standstill, or so I thought. Yet, as I recuperated, I began to use herbs to treat myself just as my mother-in-law once had, gaining an invaluable understanding of the condition along the way. While there is no overnight cure for CFS, I was able to regain enough strength to go back to work, raise my kids, start cycling again, and finally, resume my education at the East West School of Planetary Herbology. It has been a long journey back from CFS, but a very rewarding one, and through my lessons at East West, I look forward to learning even more.

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