The highly-qualified professionals at Zen Maitri work by the philosophy that kindness to oneself gives you the ability to be kind to others. Their holistic approach to health comes with years of training and their products are available with private consultations and workshops to suit.
Of course, I’d tried natural remedies before: I’m a stickler for essential oils like lavender to aid relaxation, a drop of tea tree in my moisturiser for breakouts and clary sage for periods. My cupboards are filled with Pukka Tea and natural supplements, and I swear that a couple of sessions from a properly trained acupuncturist cured my chronic back problems when I was in my mid-twenties (I recommend Judith Elliott). The one thing I had never thought to try was a consultation and treatment from a medical herbalist. Instead of you having to spend hours only going through countless supplements and cures on questionable websites (all of which seem to lead to certain death if taken incorrectly) a medical herbalist will be able to prescribe you the right selection of remedies after just one consultation.
Sara and I meet initially on Zoom, though she does offer Covid safe consultations in Zen Maitri’s beautiful shop in Chiswick, which I later visited for a follow-up appointment. Sara is the lead herbalist at Zen Maitri – a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) – and her methods are very thorough. She explains that what will follow will be a series of detailed questions, that will allow her to put together a plan and prescription for me.
The questions are… detailed. I’m pretty sure I went through my entire personal history as far back as I can remember, as well as all of my medical history. Sara explains that everything that happens to us, physical or not, affects our stress responses, so it is important to go through everything so that she can pinpoint the cause of physical problems such as stress or anxiety, which were plaguing me at the time.
After the consultation, Sara tells me that (surprise, surprise) my London lifestyle has made it hard for me to switch off and that she wants to focus on building strength in my nervous system to reduce my stress response. She says that she is also going to focus on female hormonal health, to try and get it ship-shape after an adolescence spent on the pill.
Two days later, I am sent a detailed list of the herbal medicines that she had prescribed for me, their ingredients and the uses of each. There is the option to take the prescription in a tincture, tea and powder, and I am sent all three to test. There is also a lifestyle and eating guide, a specific yoga practice that she thinks will help with my particular problems, and more information on the Ayurveda theory of the five elements, the sister science of yoga that Sara uses in her work. It’s a lot to take in, but I am very excited to try it.
The tea is delicious, the tincture is bearable, but the powder is rather bitter. Sara asks if I can stomach it and I tell her that I’d rather have it without any sweeteners or additives, so I’d like to keep it as it is.
After a couple of weeks, when I’ve just gone into a very busy period that would usually leave me waking in the middle of the night and struggling to get back to sleep, losing focus and having panicky moments, I’m functioning normally, even better than before.
By the 5th week, everything we’d discussed in our initial consultation was starting to slowly improve. In particular, my reaction to stress had diminished. It’s not an easy fix, you have to put as much work in as Sara does, and it’s hard to keep on top of all the little details, but it’s utterly worth it. It was the perfect solution to rebalance my physical and mental health as the world kick starts back into action.
Now here’s the thing, Sara is very generous with her energy and cares a lot about the well-being of her clients. Her approach adapts as your symptoms change. In our follow up I told Sara that I wasn’t sleeping, and it was impacting everything in my life. She immediately prescribed me a tea and night pills to add to my routine.
There’s something lovely about my new bedtime ritual. I run a bath and put the bath salts in a Muslin bag. I make myself a tea, which I brew for 15 minutes, during which I do my skincare routine (Sara also has an impressive selection of day and night creams). The ritualistic manner that has to accompany using such beautifully presented products makes me feel calm in itself.
The night pills, which contained valerian, worked better than anything I’ve ever tried in my entire life. I went from being wide awake to fast asleep in less than a chapter of an audiobook without fail.
Any scepticism left in me was obliterated when someone pointed out that my fingers (which I have unhealthily picked at since I was 16 years old) were now smooth and completely healed. This was an absolute 1st and there is nothing I can account it to other than Sara’s handy work.
And what’s more, the products work. They aren’t immediate or intense in their effects, but they help you on your journey to changing your mental and physical health through practice and patience.
39 Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, London W4 1RG