Recently, I sat down with Ayurvedic expert Kathryn Herbert to talk herbs, doshas, and real-life miracles. Herbert, who, was diagnosed with AS (Ankylosing Spondylitis), RS (Reiter Syndrome), FM (Fibromyalgia) and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), is a living example of the downright amazing health benefits of India’s ancient healing practice. She is excited to share her wisdom at YogaLean’s first Coaching Immersion in Austin, TX this September, where her personal history and profound education will shine brightly in her workshops and lectures. Here, she gives me a glimpse her fascinating story:
What was the state of your health before turning to Ayurvedic healing?
My good health today is completely dependent on my knowledge of Ayurveda. My numerous health conditions began to affect my life to a crippling extent. As a horse trainer and single mother, my life and my job were very physically demanding. I was extremely active, often up to 18 hours a day, and my health deteriorated to the point where I was barely able to lift a feed bucket, let alone brush my own hair. I saw countless doctors and specialists, underwent countless tests, and tried practically every medication and treatment under the sun. Nothing worked, and worse, many of the treatments I underwent caused allergic reactions that left me even weaker and endangered my life.
How did you decide to change to Ayurvedic and naturopathic treatment?
After almost two years of Western medical and pharmaceutical treatments, I decided it was the end of the line. It was a scary decision, but it was clear to me that a purely Western approach was not going to work.
What were the results?
As soon as I began following an Ayurvedic dietary and herbal regimen, my health immediately transformed. While in treatment, I began discovering all of the things I’m allergic to—not just medications, but foods that were making me sick. This was crucial. My doctors had doubts, but in the weeks and months following my transition to Ayurveda, the tests amazingly kept coming back improved. The new “miracle drugs” I was using made my doctors’ heads spin! In Ayurveda, we treat all foods and natural compounds as potential medicine or poison. With herbs and nutrition, I increased my medicine and eliminated my poison. This shift had enormous impact.
What kinds of changes did you make to your diet and herbal regimen?
I made a lot of changes. It’s important to remember is that in Ayurveda, each individual is treated uniquely. The things I need to add and take away may be different from yours. Examples can be as subtle as this: I spent most of my life drinking a glass of orange juice in the morning, but discovered that oranges create acidity and inflammation in my body because of my specific make up. Something as innocent-seeming as that was poisoning me. Lemons and limes, on the other hand, create alkalinity and put me in balance.
Which herb or supplement has made the biggest difference in your health?
So many, but tumeric was the thing I started adding that really changed everything. It is so powerful and beneficial. I put it in everything. In the classic Bible story, the three kings bring frankincense, myrrh and gold as their gifts. I think they brought frankincense, myrrh, and turmeric! It is nature’s great gift the world. Ashwaganada is another very powerful herb for protecting the nervous system. It had very positive effects on me and has proved to have amazing benefits for Alzheimer’s—but the big drug companies don’t want us knowing that!
After getting well, why did you decide to study Ayurvedic medicine?
I realized that Ayurveda makes real transformation possible. Its benefits are clear to me, and illuminated constantly in my work with cancer patients and others suffering from chronic illness.
What was your experience like studying Ayurveda?
I feel lucky to have studied Ayurveda in its classic form. My training was based on the ancient Indian texts, originally written in Sanskrit. I have a BA in biology and psychology, and coming from a science background, Ayurveda, to me, was the complete package of common sense. I got the opportunity to expand my studies in Pune, India at DPU. It was an incredible experience to study Ayurveda in its homeland at a state of the art facility. In India, an Ayurvedic doctor is a medical doctor; there is an Ayurvedic hospital right next door to the allopathic hospital. My work today is to translate this powerful ancient knowledge into modern times and uses.
What inspired you to participate in the YogaLean Coaching Immersion in Austin this fall?
I love my work! I love to share this wisdom with others. Given the miraculous transformation that Ayurveda has made in my life and health, I feel I have to share this knowledge! I feel gratitude for my illness every day because it led me to this practice. This information is a gift, and I am so excited to share it with the enlightened individuals attending the YogaLean Coaching Immersion so that they can carry it forth and benefit. Everyone should sign up and encourage your friends and families to come with you! My lectures and workshops are designed to make using Ayurveda in your daily life simple, easy, and hugely beneficial.Kathryn Herbert practices privately in Southern California and conducts national workshops to promote the benefits of Ayurvedic Lifestyle choices. She lives in Los Angeles with her two teenaged children, two dogs, a cat, three horses and hopes to welcome chickens to her home soon.