My pharmacist atypical path is full of passionate and inspiring encounters. I have received so much from everybody I have crossed. The roots of my passion for medicinal and aromatic plants started in Montpellier, France.
After 5 years of pharmacy studies, I realized that I would never be able to limit myself to conventional pharmacy, to the synthetic molecules and the delivery of chemical drugs.
So, in order to obtain my Doctorate degree in Pharmacy, I choose to complete a thesis on plants from traditional healers of the Reunion island.
I explored the world of medicinal plants and the knowledge of traditional herbalists. It was a revelation!
In 1984, aromatherapy was not well known to the public and it was not prescribed by naturopaths and herbalists. I still decided to complete my studies with a university diploma in aromatherapy along with Professor Jacques Pellecuer at the Faculty of Montpellier.
Afterward, it was an introduction to tropical ethnobotany with Professor Francis Hallé, author of several botanical publications. A true specialist of trees and the forest.
I got a DEA (Diploma of Advanced Study) in tropical botany, and I discovered the richness and beauty of the biodiversity of the primary tropical rainforest.
Subsequently, I had the opportunity to participate in various scientific missions in Madagascar, Vanuatu, Cameroon and South America.
The discovery of the canopy of the rainforest with the mission « Treetop Raft ».
It was pure fascination to see the forest from that angle.
Sharing my knowledge acquired during these years of study, began in 1989. I started giving ethnobotany courses for the Mediterranean gardens and Grasse landscape school with Mentor ethnobotany Professor Jacques Barrau. What an experience! I will never forget his kindness, his humor and his indulgence to the young teacher I was at the time.
I multiplied exciting encounters at the botanical gardens on the French Riviera.
First, working as a botanist at the Nice Phoenix Floral Park with the Scientific Director Anne Gely. Our mission was to enrich the collections of the tropical greenhouse and outdoor gardens. What a program!
I cannot forget Catherine Ducatillon,Director of the Villa Thuret garden in Antibes, Pierre Lieutagui at Salagon garden in Mane, Mrs Marnier Lapostolle in « les cèdres » in St Jean Cap Ferrat. They all made me discover the treasures of their tropical and medicinal plant collections.
It was the beginning of a garden association on the Riviera.
** In 1992, Ecuador **
For me it was the turning point of my scientific career and the springboard to another initiatory experience! It was with Pharmacists without boarders that the adventure began.
I participated in the setup of a medical unit in Macas in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
I realized ethnobotanical surveys and harvest of medicinal plants in the province of Morona Santiago and Pastaza.
This contribution to the development of traditional medicine for Shuar Indians opened my eyes to the world of plants and especially helped me to better understand the importance of its relationship with mankind.
For 5 years, within the Omaere Fundacion, I participated in the creation of one of the first ethnobotanical gardens in Latin America. omaere.wordpress.com
« The Ethnobotanical Omaere Garden », is a 15 hectares park in which ethnobotany is considered a science and helps in the understanding of traditional cultures of Native Americans. »
Perfect harmony between the spiritual and the scientific …
This authentic sharing, awakened in me a vibrant spiritual force of energy that never left me since, and now cohabits in me along with a Cartesian and scientific side of me.
The Omaere project was also for my Shuar Zaparos, Waorani friends an experience, a real turning point for their future life. Today in 2015, they are leaders in their community and I am very proud of their path.
Tersa Shiki, a Shuar woman , Co founder, current president of the Foundation and director of Omaere garden. This is an herbalist who has over 30 years of experience in traditional medicine she learned from her mother and her grandparents.
Bartolo Ushigua or Manari is the spokesman for the Zapara association in the nation, Pastaza Province in Ecuador. He is the son of the last shaman of a community of 115 people. Since 2011, he is vice president of CONAIE (Confederación de La Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador)
Gloria, Ushingua, a Zapara woman, engaged who will stop at nothing and no one to help women and children in need. She is president of the Asociación de Mujeres Zaparo. She is currently fighting for the rights of his people against the oil companies.
Manuela Omari Ima, President of the Association of Huaorani Women of the Ecuadorian Amazon (AMWAE). Association which deals with the empowerment of women in and out of communities, giving craft classes for women in the communities so that they can sell their products in their store.
**In 2000, Quebec**
I discovered natural cosmetics with Alain Renaud and Druid laboratory in 2001. He is the first organic cosmetics manufacturer in North America: http://www.druide.ca
I crossed paths with Danièle Laberge, a pioneer in traditional herbalism on her biodynamic farm « Armoire aux Herbes. She opened my eyes to the traditional North American herbalism and I decided to follow her training with The Herbothèque family herbalism. Valuables exchanges took place and I also teached botany at their school : http://www.herbotheque.com.
To find out more about the world of Quebec herbalism, I became a member of the Board Herbalists Guild, an organization that brings together professionals, students and amateurs to communicate about herbalism in Quebec. http://www.guildedesherboristes.org
My meeting with Marie Provost, Master Herbalist, visionary, pioneer of traditional herbalism in Quebec, founder and director of Clef des champs in Val David is graved forever in my mind.
Working for Clef des Champs www.clefdeschamps.net I participated to the beginnings of their regulatory affair with Health Canada. It was a real challenge to create links between herbalists, scientists and officials.
**In 2011, back in France*
I chose to settle in an area rich in organic medicinal and aromatic plants: the Diois, the Drôme valley.
I have returned to France where I have made my first aromatic discoveries in aromatherapy.
Today, I continue to share my expertise and experience as a Quality Manager and Research and Development at Drôme Provençale, specialized for 15 years in food supplements, aromatherapy and organic cosmetics. www.drome-provencale.com
* In 2015… *
I created this blog to share my experience and expertise with you my dear friends, avid regular readers and internet users.
I invite you to discover my advices, my tricks, my heart blows over articles: My phyto-aromatic beads.