Erin Lovell Verinder: Everyday Plant Champion
Erin Lovell Verinder's work is with the people and the plants! She is a herbalist, nutritionist and energetic healer who bridges the gaps between these modalities working and creating as a clinician, teacher, mentor and author. Her first book Plants for the People- A modern guide to plant medicine came out this year, and she is working on her second plant medicine book for release in 2021. She lives up in the wilds of the Byron Bay hinterland of Australia in a quaint country town in a big old converted church. For her, life feels sweet, spacious and slow in her part of the world.
PP: How did you first discover plant-based medicine?
ELV: The very first memory I can recall of meeting plant medicine was my mum taking me to a herbalist as a child. I recall sitting in his clinic, it smelled sour, pungent and earthy with all the herbal goods permeating the air- smells that were totally unfamiliar to me. We came away with a big brown bottle of the most gnarly tasting herbal liquid! I was intrigued! When I was little, I learnt that different plants growing nearby held medicinal power and I was totally fascinated. My uncle was a keen gardener, and the concept that you could grow food and medicine kind of blew my mind as a child.
PP: What is one of your key plant-based medicine rituals?
ELV: Herbal overnight infusions, always. Every night I prep my slow infusion, and leave it to brew overnight, strain in the morning and sip on it throughout the day. I find the potency of the slow brew is a profound plant preparation, alongside the added bonus of hydration. I rotate out the herbs I infuse, but most commonly it is a blend of Nettle and Oat straw- the most perfect pair.
PP: Do you have a cultural or ancestral connection to any plants?
ELV: This has been and continues to be a deep remembering for me, I am a blend of so many parts. Russian, Romanian, English, Italian and Middle Eastern. Growing up here in Australia and living here- I have always felt a sense of myself just visiting. I hold great reverence for this beautiful land I currently call home, but there is an undeniable connection with the plants of my ancestors that grow in Europe with ease, or even in North America with ease. Here in Australia many of the wild weeds of these places grow, and they feel deeply familiar- the dandelions, the ribwort! Australia holds many plant medicines unique and native to this wild land, yet at this point it holds mystery to me. My calling and training has been returning back to the traditional western European folk medicine language. So in that sense, yes my connection is deep with these plants and my people who have long been with them!
PP: What is the one plant/herb you can’t live without and why?
ELV: Oh goodness that is such a hard one to answer!! I am torn between two, Nettle because she is so deeply restorative and nutritive and my body sings when I work with her magic. And then Ashwagandha because this beautiful plant has been a huge part of my health story and has ushered me back to my centre many times over!
PP: Can you share your favorite self-care practice?
ELV: I would have answered this very differently in the past, with a more complex answer. But truly practicing these pillars keeps me well and nourished. Getting sound sleep and allowing myself to rest, drinking water and eating nourishing food and moving my body. Connecting to nature and spending time in my garden fills me up!
PP: What is one organization you think people should know about and support?
ELV: I am super passionate about the conservation of plant medicine and admire the work of the United Plant Savers I feel as herbalists we need to be deeply conscious of the impacts our practices have on the land.