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"Going au naturel" from The Prime Times

Canstar Community News (online edition)
By: Janine LeGal
Posted: 10/29/2010 3:09 PM

Master herbalist Chad Cornell (Photo by NICK FRIESEN)I make no secret of my aversion to all things pharmaceutical — or, more precisely, the prevalent societal eagerness to prescribe and pop a pill for everything that ails us. Indeed, conventional medicine improves quality of life, advances research, finds cures, performs miracles and saves lives — but I worry about the lack of mindfulness in so many who ingest drugs with little questioning. 

When I was diagnosed with hypertension two years ago at the age of 45, every doctor I saw told me I needed to be medicated. I was prescribed a series of medications, which I agreed to take only because I was told I’d be a time bomb without them. Two of the drugs landed me in the hospital with awful side effects and the one that didn’t make me sick didn’t do any good for my blood pressure.

So I threw myself into learning more about natural medicine. I started with a visit to Hollow Reed Holistic Centre.

Owner Chad Cornell is a master herbalist, graduate of Wild Rose College of Natural Healing in Alberta and has been practicing natural healing methods full-time since 2003.  He understands my frustration with the medical system, and cites World Health Organization statistics that claim 80% of the planet uses herbs as the primary form of healthcare; yet herbs still remain kind of new age to many.

"There is so much opposition to herbs, yet they feed us, give us air, heal us, and clothe us," he says. "Plant medicine has been with us from the beginning. We in the natural healing industry believe in integrated medicine models, not in battling each other. Other places in the world are using both, that is mature, holistic and fair."

Hollow Reed Holistic Centre offers a variety of services including consultations, which involve looking at your personal medical history, main symptoms, diet and lifestyle. Cornell uses this information along with the assessment of the pulse, tongue, iris and other physiological characteristics to determine a uniquely personal holistic program.

"As an herbalist, I guide people in lifestyle, diet, and natural remedies to support their well-being. We emphasize that well-being and healing is more than taking a pill. There’s responsibility and learning involved. Healing is not just a physical thing, we use primarily herbs, diet, suggesting personal foods based on the physiology you have. Everyone is unique.  There’s no one size fits all. We seek to get to the root of the problem," says Cornell, who runs the business with his aromatherapist wife, Nancy.

For the past three years, Cornell has been invited to lecture as part of the Integrative Medicine Program at the University of Manitoba Health Sciences Center Campus. Success stories about natural remedies and concerns around unnecessary pharmaceuticals have inspired people to explore more, which has resulted in an increase in business. Cornell says his customers include students, nurses, doctors, moms, children and athletes, among others. 

The Centre recently expanded to accommodate the increasing interest in the educational component. It offers workshops and classes and serves as a meeting place for film showings and guest speakers. A number of natural medicine professionals are collaborating to make the Centre an affordable place to visit.

Oh yes, and I managed to get myself off the hypertension meds by making lifestyle changes and consulting several professionals in the field of natural medicine including Cornell. I quit smoking, cut out salt, increased certain supplements, started doing more physical activity and taking some herbs. I’ve never felt better and those dreaded side effects from prescription drugs? Well, there are none.

Janine LeGal is a writer and activist whose life is enriched by honest conversation, passionate people and her beloved cats. She can be reached at janineyvette@hotmail.com.

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