With her grandmother Anke Bialas explored the fields and forests of Germany and climbed the foothills of the Austrian Alps where women hand down from mother to daughter the secrets of herb lore.
Now a mum of 3 boys, she continues the family tradition of educating others on the health giving benefits of herbs. Anke lives in Brisbane, Australia from where she runs her Herbology website.
“Herbal medicine has been around almost as long as people have. It was a knowledge that was passed through the family, at times it was taught as was the case with priests but it was certainly always the first port of call for people who needed to treat their everyday ills. This knowledge has slowly been lost over the years. Be it that modern medicine persuaded us that there was another, better way or just that modern life and with it the separation of the generations was just not conducive to passing family secrets on to the kids.
I was very lucky. My paternal grandmother was familiar with the old ways. When I was a young girl she would take me with her to pick wild herbs, berries and fungi on the foothills of the Alps. She would always treat us with herbal teas when we stayed with her, and my father learned from her. He was interested in the old ways too and like her had the greenest thumbs. Unfortunately my mother wasn’t so much interested but even she had learned some very basic remedies from her own family. Everyone knows you can calm the nerves and the digestive system with a cup of Chamomile tea, right? Unlike my father and his mother, I did not inherit their green thumb. Actually I think I have the blackest thumbs in the world. I dream of the perfect herbal garden, modelled on some of the medieval medicinal garden designs, but alas, it will never happen if I am the one who has to do the gardening.
As you have probably figured out by now, I am from Europe originally – Germany to be specific. Germany is one of the few western countries where herbs are readily used by the medical profession. A lot of the official and respected research into herbal medicine originates from Germany as well. I have been in Australia sine the early 80’s. Since then I have witnessed a slow, but steady increase in interest regarding herbs. The establishment of farmer’s markets which are now so popular, the increasing varieties stocked by supermarkets and the surge of upmarket cooking programs have contributed to the use of herbs in the culinary repertoire of people like you and I Australia wide.
All of the above, my heritage, my passion and the evolution of herb usage in Australia added to the fact that my family is growing and I use herbal remedies to treat my partner, myself and my children has led to the conception of Herbology in 2008 and now also Herbology At Home.“