The Scottish School of Herbal Medicine


Many years ago, Keith Robertson, MSc  FNIMH, took a vow of non-violence and this has led him to help preserve “the medical practice without violence” which is Traditional Herbal Medicine and from the same impulse, adopt a vegan diet and lifestyle. Our new name for the diet alone is ‘plantarian’ – which does what it says on the skin – you just eat from plants; and of course the word spills out to encompass the planet also.

A drive to preserve Traditional Herbal Medicine from being squeezed into a scientific pharmacological based rationale was the motivation for Keith to establish The Scottish School of Herbal Medicine in 1992. Externally validated by the University of Wales to maintain autonomy, the School’s reputation is further enhanced by our insisting that all our teachers have to be practitioners in their own field to bring direct relevance to experiential practice. We also place an emphasis on energetic Traditional systems such as Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Humoral medicine as well as the Traditional shamanic worldview. Our commitment to the Goethean Contemplative approach to plant and person study along with our unique teaching approach using the pharmacology of taste for direct experiential learning means that our professional training and post graduate herbal programmes are rated as the best in the country and indeed, further a field judging from the number of international students we have worked with over the years.

Having established a firm base for the Herb School in Glasgow,  Keith moved to the Isle of Arran in 2000 to bring up his children in an environment more connected to the Natural world and to grow more of their own herbs and veg without the limitations of having to avoid all ‘weeds’ as was our experience in city based allotments.

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Drimlabarra Herb Farm - ArranWhat have we hoped to achieve at Drimlabarra?

  • Through practical action and useful ceremony we are committed to rejoining our self-inflicted wounds with our environment.
  • We want to spread the word further about stockfree growing, while increasing our fruit and veg production.
  • We want to explore Celtic Spirituality through tentative reawakening of seasonal ceremonies, where both the female and male energies are celebrated together and gratefulness to the Earth expressed.

As modern people, we are too easily fooled into accepting that the world is a garden divided. In our thinking, there are huge splits between people and plants, people and animals, people and planet. With this attitude, it is easy to see how quickly the Earth becomes over ‘peopled’. Then from an outsiders view, the same insane dividing continues between the people themselves. Women and men, old and young, rich and poor, extreme right and left, short haired and long haired, crucifix and no crucifix ad nauseum.

At Drimlabarra we are committed to embracing the world as a whole again and through patient and fun exploring, celebrate our interconnection with the natural world with the aim of learning to “read the book of Nature” and thereby enhance our understanding of the healing power of herbs.