“The closer you look, the more magical and magnificent and mysterious something is…it is our problem that we don’t look close enough”.

Bill Mitchell in the film “Numen, The Healing Power of Plants“.

The film Numen is astonishing and I recommend you at least watch the trailer. I found Bill particularly inspirational because he spoke from the heart about his experiences as a natural healer, and how grateful he was that nature had provided us with a medicine chest that is perhaps not as much considered as it should be in the world of science today.

As scientists we look closely at things. In medical science, often we get caught up in the fun of experiments, the precision and the detail, rather than taking a step back and thinking about the whole. In this blog I hope to explore both as they are equally important and we have much to learn from different perspectives on how the human body works, and how it evolved in close connection with the natural world.

Cool and funky

I’m sure I’ll put something cool and funky here at some stage.


I’m Dr Viv Rolfe and I’ve worked in gut physiology and nutrition research for most of my career. I’ve a BSc (Honours) in Physiology and a PhD in Gut Physiology, and am studying for a Foundation qualification in Herbalism with the National Institute of Medical Herbalists. I’ve always been interested in nature and spent my childhood in the Alkham Valley in Kent helping to save ancient woodlands from destruction. I’m passionate about the natural world whether I’m exploring it scientifically or through photography, crafts and writing.

The purpose of this website is to explore herbal research from all perspectives – be they philosophical or methodological. Modern medicine has not been about wholeness, it has been about parts. How do you capture the wisdom of thousands of years of herbal use with modern-day scientific methods? What can I learn as a scientist by understanding traditional herbal approaches from around the world? Who are the people and communities in this space? This is what herbsearching is all about.

In my spare time I’m a member of TreeSisters.org and play saxophone in the all female Sisters of Swing Big Band in Bristol, UK. All the sisters! I also play in the Matthew Kirby Band based in Cam Gloucestershire where I now live, and Belvoir Academy based in Leicestershire where I used to live.

Here is a recent piece of music that I wrote to celebrate TreeSisters.org planting 10 million trees. Here on SoundCloud.


Different types of research article and where to find them

Aim of the article – learning about different types of research article and where to find them. For anyone interested in finding out more about herbs or natural medicines, looking for research articles can be one place to start. When I speak to people about herbs, they are often surprised to find that there is …


Please contact me at vivien.rolfe ‘at’ gmail.com or come and find me on Twitter @VivienRolfe.