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We are delighted to share the results of the ‘Biophilia – Nature in Herbal Practice’ survey! Read on for more…

During June and July of last year, Institute Members, Helen Phillips MNIMH and Alice Johnston MNIMH conducted a survey asking practising herbalists to what extent, and how, they incorporated direct contact with nature as part of their clinical practices or self-care routine.

We are delighted to share the results of their survey! Read on for more…



The aim of the survey was to gather data to determine the extent to which practising medical herbalists use direct contact with outdoor nature as part of their clinical or self-care practice, the types of nature-based activities herbal practitioners engage in and the factors that might influence this.

The research project is endorsed by Heartwood Education, and anonymised data from this survey is being used to inform the teaching of Heartwood’s Biophilia module, specifically with regard to implications in practice.

The Institute is pleased to have been able to sponsor the survey platform.

The survey results were presented in three parts accompanied by 3 infographics. You can access each part using the following hyperlinks.


Survey Results – Part 1 – The Herbal Practitioner Profile

Part 1 presented the findings about the respondents i.e. their age, when they graduated and how herbal practitioners use different nature-based activities for their self-care and to promote their practice.

Survey Results – Part 2 – The Herbal Treatment

Part 2 presented the results regarding which nature-based activities herbalists use in their treatment plans and how they talk about herbs with their patients. Additionally, it looked at how practitioners encouraged their patients in nature-based activities but also which limitations their patients experienced in engaging with them.

Survey Results – Part 3 – Influencing Factors

Part 3 presented the results regarding practice setting, practice busyness and other therapies practised. It also looked across the survey into influencing factors for prescribing nature-based activities.

Included in the third part is a summary with a call to action to prescribe and engage with nature-based activities in the light of the current health and climate crisis.


Want To Find Out More?

If you would like to get involved or have further questions about the survey, you can contact Helen and Alice by e-mail at – they would love to hear from you!



Helen Phillips MSc, Dip Phyt, MNIMH MCPP graduated from the School of Phytotherapy in 1997 and has since practised in many different clinical settings. Her interest in the concept of biophilia began 10 years ago as she explored the therapeutic value of gardens as part of her MSc in Herbal Medicine from UCLAN.

Helen currently teaches on the Biophilia module at Heartwood Professional Course and is particularly interested in how we might use nature-contact as part of our clinical practice, treatment strategies and prescriptions, and whether this might synergistically enhance our therapeutic outcomes.

Alice Johnston DipHM, MNIMH, Dipl.-Inf.-Wirt (FH) graduated from Heartwood Education in 2021. The same year, she started practising as a consultant medical herbalist in Uphall, Scotland and runs her own herbal medicine practice and dispensary. She has been involved in the environmental movement for over 25 years and is interested in nature and plants with a special focus on Biophilia and its influence on pro-environmental behaviour. She offers herb walks and talks to connect local people with their natural environment.