Meet Chanchal

Photo of Chanchal CabreraChanchal lives with her husband Thierry Vrain in Courtenay on Vancouver Island in BC where they cultivate vegetables and herbs on 7 acres and are building a healing garden retreat center. Visit to read more about this.

Chanchal has been a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists since 1987 and obtained her MSc in herbal medicine at the University of Wales in 2003. She has an extensive background in orthomolecular nutrition and allergy therapy as well as clinical aromatherapy.

Chanchal has held the faculty chair in Botanical Medicine at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in New Westminster since 2004 and she serves on the board of advisors of Dominion Herbal College in Burnaby. She publishes widely in professional journals and lectures internationally on medical herbalism, nutrition and health.

Consulting Services

Chanchal Cabrera is available for consulting services in the following areas:

Natural Medicine News


New study reports Capsicum frutescens (cayenne) reduces pain more than placebo

A new study published in January 2016 in the prestigious international journal Spine reports that Capsicum frutescens (cayenne) reduces pain more than placebo. This is an especially interesting report as it comes from the Cochrane Collaboration who review many studies, assess them for robustness of methodology and compile the results. Read More

Chanchal's Blog


Baldwins Herb Map of Europe

Thanks to Baldwins Herbs in London for this lovely herb map of Europe – truly a work of art and also quite useful.

Classes, Workshops & Events

Botanical Medicine Student Training Clinic
Mar 11 – Dec 10 all-day

So excited to be offering an Advanced Clinical Practicum at Innisfree Farm. Take your learning out of the classroom and books and into clinic. See patients under supervision. Learn clinical assessments, formulating, toxicology, herb/drug interactions and much more. Starts March 2016. Contact me for details.


clinical training 2016 poster

Botanical Gardens – A Whole Wide World of Plants @ Filberg Hall
Mar 20 @ 7:00 pm

Comox Valley Naturalists Society

Botanic Gardens are more than just pretty parks for public enjoyment; so much more.
Botanic Gardens conduct seed saving; they hold herbarium samples for positive species identification and they promote conservation and habitat protection. The first known gardens date back to around 3000 years ago in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. However, the earliest botanic gardens, laid out deliberately for medicine, were the physic gardens of Italy in the 16th and 17th centuries. The very first of these physic gardens was the garden of the University of Pisa which was created by Luca Ghini in 1543. Today’s modern botanic garden is still a repository of knowledge, of seed stock and of expertise in medicinal and useful plants. In this illustrated lecture we will explore botanic gardens and their work around the world in plant conservation and in educating people about the value of plants.

There are 3,235 registered botanic gardens world wide, 17 in Canada, and Innisfree Farm in Royston is one of 7 in BC. In this illustrated lecture you see behind the scenes, see what works, and sometimes what doesn’t work in a garden, and visit some of finest gardens of England and learn about the conservation and education principles which Botanic Gardens follow.

Collaborative Oncology – A Phytotherapy Perspective
Apr 2 – Apr 3 all-day
Collaborative Oncology - A Phytotherapy Perspective

April 2 – 3  2015

Collaborative Oncology – A Phytotherapy Perspective

An advanced level workshop on botanical medicine and holistic oncology.

Pacific Rim College, Victoria , BC

Northwest Naturopathic Physicians convention
Apr 15 – Apr 17 all-day
Northwest Naturopathic Physicians convention

April 15-17, 2016,

Bitters are best    

The modern palate shies away from the bitter taste and yet our ancestors up until relatively recently ate bitter foods daily – leaves and other wild foraged foods which were not bred for plump, sweet, juicy features. Our guts evolved with certain chemical signals and triggers and the bitter flavor was one of them. The absence today has significant health implications. Many chronic digestive deficiencies are remedied by judicious use of bitters. The secondary or tertiary levels of use in each herb can help direct the medicine to organ specific effects.

Learning Outcomes – Students who attend this workshop will be able to:

  • Understand the concepts of cooling and contracting and purifying as applied to bitters
  • Understand the difference between choleretics and cholagogues
  •  Define the categories of bitter: anti-inflammatories, anti-depressants, sedative
  • Recognize when to use bitters and when not to, contra-indications and cautions

Portland Marriot Downtown Waterfront in Portland, Oregon.

Medicines from the Earth Herb Symposium – Integrating Traditional Healing Methods with Modern Medicine @ Blue Ridge Assembly
Jun 3 @ 2:00 pm – Jun 6 @ 5:30 pm

Medicines from the Earth Herb Symposium

15 instructors. Friday field study and pre-conference intensive, panel discussions, medicine-making classes and herb walks in a beautiful retreat setting.

Lectures by Chanchal:

  • Biophilia: Green Medicine for People and the Planet
  • Building Herbal Formulas – Principles of Treatment Planning and Prescribing
Botanicals at the Beach – The NorthWest Herbal Symposium @ Camp Casey Conference Center
Aug 25 @ 2:00 pm – Aug 28 @ 3:00 pm

Botanicals at the Beach – The NorthWest Herbal Symposium

14 instructors. Pre-conference intensives on Thursday, classes, panel discussions, seaweed walks.

Lectures by Chanchal:

  • Horticulture Therapy – Healing by Gardening
  • Managing Surgery with Botanicals and Nutrition