What does natural health mean? Is it concerned with treating the cause rather than the symptoms of disease? Does it mean taking more responsibility for our own health and wellbeing?

My special guest on Voices from the North last night was natural health practitioner and educator Rixt Botello. It was one those interviews that didn’t follow the script of questions I had prepared in advance. The complete interview is found below:

We spoke first of vaccinations. In the courses that Rixt teaches she takes students through the pros and cons of vaccines and leaves it to them to make their own decisions on whether to have their children immunised or not. When I asked Rixt what she had chosen with her family, her response leaves little confusion as to her own preerences: “I have five children and none of them have been vaccinated. In the 22 years of child-rearing we’ve been to see a doctor perhaps six times, usually due to an accident.” She also encouraged people to read The Medical Mafia by Canadian doctor Ghislaine Lanctôt.

Rixt loves working with plant-based remedies, whether these be the herbs themselves, tinctures, salves or Bach Flower Remedies. She pointed out that psychoneuroimmunological (P.N.I.) research shows that upwards of 70% of all illnesses are caused by stress. She loves to begin (and sometimes end) using Bach Flower Remedies because they work on the emotional and mental bodies of clients. Dr. Edward Bach observed in the 1930s that the rates of recovery for his patients varied hugely. As a homeopath he was already familiar with the subtle but powerful healing ability of minute (non-physical) quantities of substances. He eventually developed the flower essences identified with his name that continue to be used around the world. Rixt indicates that indigenous peoples (Australian Aboriginals, for example) have long used flower essences. They are simple to make by allowing the flowers to float in water contacted by the sun, thereby distilling their essence into the water. And they are simple and safe for anyone – lay people included – to use. If you choose a wrong remedy no harm is done. By choosing the correct remedy huge and eerily and extremely satisfyingly rapid shifts can be made.

Rixt emigrated from the Netherlands to New Zealand with her family when she was eleven. She has lived, taught and worked in a number of locations around this fair land. She and her family have homesteaded on 100 acres of rural property here in the Far North for close to three years. They attempt to be as self-sufficient as possible and grow much of their own food. They also grow many of the herbs that Rixt uses in her practice and from which she makes her various herbal potions.. She has noticed that each geographical area seems to have its own set of diseases. Here in this northernmost part of New Zealand she’s seen a lot of diabetes,  kidney dialysis and skin conditions including vitiligo (the chronic depigmentation disease that saw Michael Jackson’s skin turn white). Her advice regarding diabetes: watch your diet, obviously minimizing processed sugar (stevia is an option), fast food and other processed foods. She suggests pursuing the natural diets of your ancestors. For people of this area that could include known mineral-dense foods such as watercress, puha, kumara and seaweed.

Four years ago Rixt was a very sick woman. She puts this down to unresolved issues from her past; issues she had avoided dealing with to that point. Her long list of maladies at the time included a stomach ulcer and the onset of cervical cancer. She was in extreme pain and even considered surgery; anything to eliminate the debilitating pain. Then, after speaking with a surgeon, she came to the realisation that anything was possible. If she could create this state of un-wellness, surely she could un-create it. This she did and it began with addressing the mental states and expectations she had. To make a long story short, she regained supreme health without medical intervention. I’m sure she’s a better natural health practitioner and teacher today for the experience. Her parting words for listeners to our interview: “Drink nettle tea.”

The Nomadic School:

Rixt and her husband, Leon Botello (a neuromuscular therapist and lecturer) teach all over New Zealand. To find out more about their work visit their website at:



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