The School of Herbal Medicine opened in Porlock, Somerset in September 2015. This was the completion of over a decade of hard work by Susan Vassar, Val Thomas and Maggie Pope who first had the vision of founding a new school together 12 years ago. The school was founded to provide a high level of training and we aim to ensure the continuation of the venerable tradition of herbal medicine by combining the knowledge gained over the centuries with the best in modern science.


The Team

Susan Vassar

DPhil (Oxon)

Susan obtained her first degree in Maths and Physics and then went on to study for an MSc in Astronomy at Sussex University followed by a Doctorate in Astrophysics at Oxford University. She has a PGCE and has taught Maths and Physics privately from junior school level to ‘A’ level and also taught for the Open University at degree level.She has a BSc (Hons) in Herbal Medicine which she began at the College of Phytotherapy and finished at UEL.

Christina Stapley

BSc (Hons)

Christina Stapley has been a historical herb consultant, tutoring workshops at Museums and other sites for 20 years. These cover from Celtic through to the Victorian period. Having qualified with a BSc in Phytotherapy in 2004, practising as a medical herbalist, she tutored a postgraduate course, Stillroom to Dispensary for NIMH in Reading in 2010. This involved making numerous historical recipes and discussing their suitability for use in modern Herbal Practice.
Christina has written three books on growing and using herbs, Herbwise Naturally, Herbcraft Naturally and Herb Sufficient. She has also edited a book of cookery and medicinal recipes from 1694 for the Blencowe family. The Receipt Book of Lady Anne Blencowe. Christina has written two courses on Ageing Successfully and is currently working on a book about Medicinal Trees.

Maggie Pope

BSc (Hons)

Maggie obtained her BSc (Hons) in Herbal Medicine with the College of Phytotherapy degree course through the University of East London. She runs a practice in Somerset www.growingmedicine.co.uk and grows and wildcrafts many of her own herbs which she prepares in her own pharmacy. To better understand the propagation and growing of herbs she qualified with the RHS. She runs workshops and gives talks, and has written for various magazines. Maggie has also obtained a Diploma in Education and Training.