Meet Sebastian, Pukka's herbsmith
23rd May 2014
My Pukka journey evolved over many years of soul-searching, of travelling and of falling in love with the wonder of plants. After finishing school I set off, backpack in hand, to India – little did I know this would become my spiritual home, where I’d witness for myself the true magic of nature; little did I know this remarkable country would also set me on the path to Pukka’s beginnings.
My Indian journey
After exploring the usual tourist hot-spots of Goa and Rajasthan, I headed to the world’s most incredible herbal wellspring, the Himalayas. Whilst travelling in these majestic mountains, I started learning about India’s native plants, about herbalism, and about yoga.
I walked for weeks surrounded by their beauty, slept under the stars, and became vegetarian – such a close connection with India’s natural splendour inspired me: was there some way I could work with nature and with people; to bring the magic of plants into their lives, like they were in mine?
An encounter with an Indian sage and healer was a turning point. After falling sick, I sought his help. The herbs he prescribed for me had an incredible effect, soothing me and restoring me to health; inspired by this man’s knowledge and wisdom – I was eager to understand more about the herbs, and about their remarkable healing powers.
Back to school in England
So I left India, returned to England, moved into a caravan (my home for the next two years), and went back to school (again!) to study Ayurvedic, Chinese and Western herbal medicine.
I fell head-over-heels in love with the poetry of traditional medicine and how this ancient wisdom works by healing the ‘whole’ person, not just their health problems – and relies on nature to do so, not just pharmaceutical drugs.
As I studied, I worked at Hambledon Herbs organic farm in Somerset, learning the essential skills for cultivating, caring for and recognising the finest quality herbs.
The seed of Pukka
For the next five years, once my studies had finished and before Pukka had been created, I taught yoga classes every week, as well as running my Ayurveda practice in Somerset.
Running my one-to-one herbal clinic was great, but I couldn’t reach as many people as I wanted – and the burning desire to connect more people with herbs, had never left my side: I wanted to reach millions. I wanted their lives to be touched with the wonder and magic of herbs, just like I had been all those years ago in India.
Then one day, I saw an advert in a local Bristol magazine, asking whether anyone wanted to grow a business in a ‘sustainable and healthy way’. It was placed by a certain Mr Tim Westwell – and mine was the only reply.
It was Pukka’s beginnings.