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The Christopher Hedley Memorial Award for significant contribution to herbal medicine

About Christopher Hedley

‘If this plant were a person, would you take it home for tea?’

This award was set up to celebrate the life and work of Christopher Hedley, herbalist extraordinaire. In the vast and fertile borderland where herbs, medicine and magic meet, Christopher was entirely at home. Herbalism today demands the ability to deconstruct a plant into its pharmacological constituents, but we also need to remember that plants are whole beings with their own place in the world, and they have much more to offer than their component parts. Christopher was endlessly inventive in finding ways to bring plants and people together, and always ready to sample the lesser known and out of fashion herbs that grow all around us. In his years of teaching, he inspired thousands of ‘baby herbalists’ to think and feel outside and beyond the curriculum, and to think of herbs as friends and allies, rather than as tools. Often called a wizard by students and patients alike – he was well over six feet tall, with a full beard and a dandelion clock of white hair (though it used to be fiery red) – he brought endless compassion and humour to his work.

The award honours the memory of Christopher Hedley, FNIMH, and is awarded annually, with the support of Christopher’s family.

We are thrilled that the 2021 Award was sponsored by Avicenna, who generously offered the winner an extensive collection of Avicenna products. Christopher’s family felt that he would have welcomed the support of a manufacturer who demonstrated ‘the craft of making herbal medicines’.


The award recognises an individual herbalist who has made a significant contribution to herbal medicine. Examples of this contribution might be through practice, education, community work, research, or  environmental work. Any herbalist, whether practising or retired, anywhere in the world can be nominated to receive the award.

Nominations are not restricted to members of any particular professional association. Nominations can be made by any person.

Each nomination should have a proposer and a seconder and should explain how this nominee’s activities have contributed to herbal medicine.

Previous winners:

2022 – Calder Bendle

2021 – Mel Hornby

2020 – Jules Beaumont

2019 – Ruth Sharkey

2018 – jim mcdonald 


What the judges are looking for:

Each nomination should have a proposer and seconder, with contact details for both.

This is an international award, so please include the name of the country or countries that the nominee practises in.

The nomination should demonstrate, with examples, the following:


  • Inventive ways that the nominee brings people and plants together
  • How the nominee is using lesser known or out-of-fashion herbs
  • Ways that the nominee has been inspirational in their practise
  • The nominee’s significant contribution to the world of herbal medicine

(This may cover any aspect of herbal medicine)


The judges will score nominations across each of these four areas