My name is Omanisa Ross, and I am an Australian Naturopath who specialises in phytomedicine. I love encouraging the use of a mostly whole-food plant-based diet as a form of medicine, and using herbal medicine to treat specific ailments and strengthen inherent weaknesses.
My grandmother was a doctor, and when I was little, she would always explain what was happening in my body when I was sick by drawing little diagrams for me. With Granma nurturing my curiosity about how the body works, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the wonder of anatomy and physiology.
Having Granma in my life also meant growing up on a steady diet of National Geographic and David Attenborough, so my passion for biology naturally extends outwards beyond the human form, to embrace plants, animals, the natural environment as a whole. I am particularly fascinated by ecosystems, or the interdependency of individual parts within whole natural systems, which may explain, in part, my deep respect for a more holistic approach to medicine, science and food.
Thanks to my parents ecological ‘hippy’ values, I spent most of my early childhood living in a tent in a rainforest in Tasmania, where I developed a deep love for nature, especially the trees we we surrounded with. My family’s love for plants was also influenced by my great uncle, an arid zone botanist. After Granma retired from medicine, she decided to study botany like her brother, and eventually wrote and published a plant identification book about the plants in our area, called Wildflowers and Plants of Inland Australia.
While Granma’s ‘what’s-happening-in-your-body’ pictures definitely seeded my fascination with human biology and health, my food-as-medicine tradition comes from my mother. Australian naturopath Dorothy Hall’s Natural Health book was mum’s bible. Mum taught us how to recognise basic nutritional deficiency signs and symptoms and how to treat these deficiencies with food.
When it came time to choose my career path, naturopathy seemed like the perfect choice for me: the biochemistry and botany of plants, nutritional food-as-medicine research, and the joy of studying anatomy and physiology without being forced to dissect animals!
For me, health isn’t just about the physical body, and it isn’t just about the individual. I help people see the connections between mind, body, emotions and spirit. I help them understand that our personal health is interconnected with the health of our family, our community and our planet.
When thinking in an holistic manner, our sense of self and health always extends outwards to include others; we aren’t in isolation from our environment, so our environment must be considered and taken into account when assessing and addressing health issues.