Medical herbalist Daniela Turley is well known in her field for treating issues such as sleep disorders, acne, anti-aging, headaches, infertility and high blood pressure. She tackles clients ailments from the inside out, recommending a personalized herbal and dietary regimen to feel more healthy, happy and balanced.
I was fortunate to meet Turley at her New York City office (she also treats in London) where she had me fill out an extensive questionnaire on my lifestyle and dietary habits and used a bioenergetic screening machine that detected food intolerances and hormone levels. After the testing, she sent me home with a bespoke high-potency herbal tincture, which consisted of a blend of six high-quality herbs sourced in Europe, to help increase my energy, help me feel less stressed and strengthen immunity, as well as suggestions on supplements and ways to modify my diet. Here, she shares her favorite herbs for winter, how she maintains her flawless complexion and her favorite places to travel.
1. What are you favorite herbs right now and why?
This is tough to answer as there are so many great herbs and each persons needs are so unique. As a medical herbalist, we are trained to recommend a bespoke blend for each client, which is often tweaked each month. But for the winter months, medicinal mushrooms are a good bet. They are high in immune-boosting beta glucans and certain ones like reishi have been shown to have adaptogenic, stress-reducing qualities. Another great winter month herb is St Johns Wort. Many people know of it for its serotonin-boosting effects, which make it great for the winter blues, but many don’t know of its potent antiviral effects.
2. You’ve been practicing for 14 years. Why do you love what you do?
I love to help people get well and feel better. Even if I weren’t a herbalist, I would be doing something along that line. I also love a challenge and often we have clients who have struggled to get the issues fixed with conventional medicine.
3. Do you feel that more people in recent years are looking for a holistic approach to health?
I don’t know if I have seen the change in the clinical setting as the number and variety of clients hasn’t changed for my practice, however in observing the growth of functional foods now available—from almond milk cappuccino to juice shops on every corner—shows there must be a shift. I remember the days when it was impossible to get dairy-free milk in a coffee shop so that to me shows there has been a general change, especially in big cities such as London, New York and Los Angeles.
4. You check hormone levels and food sensitivity on all your clients. Can you explain why this is so important?
Endocrine (hormone disruptors) are at such a high level in the food chain right now, which is having a larger impact on health than previous generations. Add on the chaotic New York lifestyle that often equals high stress, then hormone balance is a vital part of modern-day health issues. Food sensitivities affect many of my clients and pinpointing the trigger foods can be very helpful in alleviating symptoms.
5. You have great skin. Can you share the beauty products that you use and what else you do to keep it in great shape?
I believe that addressing the inside is really is the key. I used to suffer with severe eczema when I was a kid, which I cleared with the use of herbs and diet. So for me avoiding cow’s milk is vital to maintaining clear skin. I also add collagen powder in my smoothies and shakes to help with joint and gut health, but it also has the added benefit of supporting the skin. I am always on some sort of herbal support and if I forget them when I go on vacation, I do notice it in my skin. My Fresh Faced Tea has a variety of herbs to stimulate the lymphatic system, so it’s a great skin cleanse. In terms of skin care, I am extremely lucky to see Georgia Louise who I think is the best facialist in the world right now—and lucky for me a good friend—and also Marisa Anaya and Shellie Goldstein who do great AcuFacials.
Currently, I am using Environ’s AVST 5, a vitamin rich cream from South Africa. I then use lotions, serums, and sprays from Biologique Recherche such as the P50w toner, silk plus serum and sérum collagène natif, and instantly I noticed an amazing difference in my skin. I must admit I do have good genes, but having said that I do notice a difference when I stop this regime.
6. What is your favorite workout and why?
I am really not a big workout person, but I would probably have to say swimming in the ocean or walking up a hill for the same reason. The deeply relaxing effects of being surrounded by nature and the fact that you don’t feel like it is work makes it special. That said the trampoline workout at Bari studio I did recently was pretty fun.
7. We are juggling so many things these days that we can feel stressed and run-down. What are your recommendations on feeling more balanced?
In terms of herbal medicine, taking an adaptogen such as Siberian ginseng will help to normalize cortisol production as well as help with blood sugar balance and energy levels. You need to take it for six weeks to see the full effect. Also, making sure you are taking a multivitamin with B and C as well as a calcium and magnesium supplement is a good bet. Also at this time of year, vitamin D tends to be low, so taking that can boost mood, immunity and energy. Apart from all the internal support, making time to relax, switching off the phone after 9pm and making more time for friends and family are all vital for me to keep a sense of balance in my life.
8. Lastly, where are your favorite places to travel? And do you bring herbs to help with jet lag, stomach issues and other ailments?
I love Northern California in the redwood forests, the Pyrenees between Spain and France and the Himalayan foothills of Bhutan, basically anywhere remote and hilly! I do take herbs and supplements with me when I travel such as vitamins B and C and Siberian ginseng, which are great to take in the daytime to boost energy and ward off jet lag. I usually take a hefty dose of valerian and magnesium to get me to sleep, until my body gets used to the time change. For stomach issues taking a good probiotic has been shown to ward off stomach bugs as has bitter herbs (gentian) taken before each meals.
Daniela Turley, Medical Herbalist, 928 Broadway, New York, NY; tel. 212-388-0800; www.urbanhealing.com
Bottom two photos taken in NYC by Vix Walker