Plants For The People with Herbalist Erin Lovell Verinder (podcast #67)

May 19, 2020 63 mins read

erin-lovell-verinder-podcast

Tahnee is joined by Erin Lovell Verinder on the podcast today. Erin is a fully qualified Herbalist, Nutritionist and Energetic Healer who has worked in the healing realms for twenty-one years. Erin is deeply passionate about individualised treatment approaches, empowering others to reconnect to their innate ability to heal and rediscover their primal foundations of thriving health.Working deeply in one on one sessions, Erin enables her clients to unfold profound change in their health and wellbeing by bridging together herbal medicine, nutritional medicine, energetics and lifestyle change. We're thrilled to have Erin on the show today, sharing her experience as an intuitive Western Herbalist.



“There's medicine everywhere.. There really is” - Erin Lovell Verinder

Tahnee and Erin discuss:

  • Erin's journey into energetics and herbalism.
  • Embodied healing, physical, mental, spiritual.
  • The medicinal powers of culinary herbs.
  • The beauty and strength of medicinal weeds.
  • Wildcrafting and plant identification.
  • The restorative powers of time in nature and adequate nutrition.
  • Herbalism as activism.
  • Herbalism in Australia -  how the institutionalised regulation of the craft has stolen some of the magic.
  • The lack of knowledge and understanding that surrounds our native Australian herbal medicine.
  • Folk medicine in America.

 

Who is Erin Lovell Verinder ?

Erin is a fully qualified Herbalist, Nutritionist and Energetic Healer who has worked in the healing realms for twenty-one years. Erin holds a Bachelor of Western Herbal Medicine, an Advanced Diploma of Nutritional Medicine and a Diploma of Energetic Healing and is a member of the (ATMS) Australian Traditional Medicine Society.

Walking the plant path, Erin is a woman in tune with the natural world. On a full hearted mission to educate, assist and up-level how we can all heal with the rhythms of nature, through the bounty of plant medicine and gentle innate interventions to unearth thriving health and wellbeing. 

Marrying the wisdom and philosophy of naturopathic medicine as the golden compass, to treat the whole- not just the symptom is the pure guiding force in Erin’s practice. Getting to the roots of ill health is the solid intention and directive, addressing the drivers and encouraging the body gently to return to balance and harmony with food as medicine, medicinal plants, lifestyle changes, functional testing and energetic medicine to deliver a wholesome high vibrational experience and to ultimately promote healing.
 

Resources:

Erin's 
Website

Erin's Instagram

Erin's Book - Plants For The People

 

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Check Out The Transcript Here:

 

Tahnee:   (00:00)

Hi everybody, and welcome to the SuperFeast Podcast. Today I am here with Erin Lovell Verinder, I hope I'm saying that correctly.

 

Erin: (00:09)

That was very fancy.

 

Tahnee: (00:12)

She's a beautiful herbalist and naturopath that I was fortunate to meet a little while ago, and she does Western Herbalism, so I'm really excited to have her perspective on the podcast today. She also has a really great and interesting background as an energetic healer as well, so I'm really excited to weave that into our conversation today, because I think your journey, Erin, from coming from energetics to herbalism is a really exciting one. She is just kind of an all-around, on the ground, herbal earth lady wise woman. She lives out here in Byron. She has a really beautiful hubby and puppies and lives in a church, which is kind of my dream. I'm really excited to have you here today, thanks for joining us.

 

Erin:   (01:02)

Thanks so much for having me. I'm so stoked to be here.

 

Tahnee: (01:05)

Yeah, and I have a copy of your book here. Plants for the People. I really want to talk about that today, because I think, given what's going on in the world, it's such an empowering read, and it makes herbalism seem really easy and kind of accessible, but I really wanted to get back to your roots, because you say, in the book, that you had an uncle who gardened and fostered a love of plants in you, so I was wondering if you could kind of tell us about your childhood and your special uncle, and any other little seeds that might have been planted at that early stage for you, as to why you are now the wise woman that you are.

 

Erin: (01:41)

Thank you, yeah. Definitely, he was such a beautiful force in my life. He was really like my adopted grandfather. Both my grandfathers passed when I was quite young, so I didn't have that sort of figure in my life when I was growing up. He was our neighbour, actually, started as our neighbour, and just like dear friends over the fence, and as it all evolved, he ended up moving in with us when his wife passed away. We lived with him for years, he just became a part of the family so I call him, he was my Uncle Les, but he really was like my grandfather and I just adored him.

 

Erin: (02:21)

My parents, there was not a green thumb in the household, really. My dad's a structural engineer, very very, super cerebral, dad particularly. Earthy mum, but not in the way of translation into connection to nature. Uncle Les just, he was an old Englishman and he just adored his garden and had this kind of relationship and magic with his garden that really inspired me. His roses were always the best in the neighbourhood. He had so much fruit growing on his trees, his veggies were always bumping. I was so impressed that he could plant something and it would just take off. That seemed magical to me, because the only place we got roses was at the corner store. You know what I mean? Get your veggies at the veggie shop.

 

Erin: (03:10)

I learnt a lot from him, and he introduced me to growing and getting my hands in the dirt, and just all these really simple tips that totally inspired me as a child. I really was just so drawn to that. That definitely was early-day seeds of how I thought plants were magical. My mum reminded me the other day of also my connections to nature, but my entrepreneurial side, of I used to go around, it's so funny. I used to go around the neighbourhood cutting people's flowers from their garden, making arrangements, like making them beautiful, and then I would literally knock on their doors and sell them back to them.

 

Tahnee: (03:52)

That's hilarious.

 

Erin: (03:58)

[Crosstalk 00:03:58] though. I would come home with gold coins, which is major when you're little, gold coins, and she would just be like, "How did you do that?" I think I just thought it was cute. I just noticed, even when I went and picked their flowers, I just was really enamoured by nature, and in the suburbs in the '80s and '90s, growing up in the suburbs of Western Sydney, everybody had gardens. It was very tame though, but I was still deeply connected to the gardens, and I was always seeking as much wildness as I could. There was a reserve up the road with lots of eucalyptus and kookaburras laughing, and I was just so deeply in love with being outside always.

 

Tahnee: (04:41)

I think we're super blessed in Australia, because even if you do grow up in a city, you typically have access to more nature. Like I've been in Sydney and seen lorikeets flying around and parks and trees, so I think it breeds a little bit of, I don't know, that kind of connection to the natural world. Even if we do grow up around white picket fences.

 

Erin: (05:05)

Totally, yeah.

 

Tahnee: (05:08)

But also what I think people probably don't appreciate in their suburban area, and I'm sure you probably do now, but as a little girl, you weren't aware, maybe, of how many of those kind of things that we might have once piled Roundup onto, and hopefully people aren't doing that anymore, are actually really useful medicinals.

 

Erin: (05:28)

Surely.

 

Tahnee: (05:30)

This time right now where we're all kind of at home more, and kind of in our natural suburban habitats, there are so many accessible plants for us to get to.

 

Erin: (05:41)

Absolutely.

 

Tahnee: (05:41)

At what point did you kind of realise, "I can actually start to create medicine from this natural world," as opposed to just being kind of obsessed with it?

 

Erin: (05:52)

A novice. A young, obsessed novice. Even when I was small, with Uncle Les, he would point out things that were medicinal. Although he didn't, he wouldn't really make remedies or things like that, but he would sort of point out what he knew about them. So I think that definitely planted seeds to me. He would point out something about dandelion, and how dandelion had lots of nutrition in it. It's very nutritious. He would say things like, "When spring springs, spring awakens, and the dandelions really wake up." He'd say, "The medicine, or the nutrition of the leaf is at its highest." He'd say things like that. Even though I wouldn't really see him eat any dandelions, I think this is just knowledge that were passed down through his family as well.

 

Erin: (06:53)

Little seeds like that. My grandmas also used herbs to heal, so I think, for me, it wasn't like someone was actively teaching me herbalism back in the day, but there were these real little nuggets that were planted that I was quite enamoured with and it just stayed with me.

 

Tahnee: (07:12)

So you actually started more in the esoteric realm, which is kind of, I feel like normally people would go for the more tangible things and then end up [crosstalk 00:07:24] certainly that's my experience, so it's interesting to me that you went kind of backwards in some ways. Can you explain how a 16 year old from Western Sydney gets into the woowoo... [Inaudible 00:07:37]?

 

Erin: (07:37)

Totally. Especially with, again, coming from my family, where it wasn't really, it was so foreign to where they were at, but really inherent in me. My grandma's, both of them were really intuitive in different ways. One of my grandma's, who I was closest with, her lineage was Russian, Romanian, gypsy. It was kind of known in the family that there was this alarmingly psychic line that had gone through the family, aunt's and even her half sister. She had a lot of skills, my nan. I only got to spend three, four years with her. I was tiny when she passed away, but she really imprinted on me. My mum always says to me it's just insane how similar you are to her, even though you really didn't get to spend that much time with her. So I do feel like that was inherent in my cells, in my blood and my bones, and in my lineage.

 

Erin: (08:42)

I just was always fascinated with anything mystical, from a really young age. And my Uncle Les's wife, who I always named Auntie Maureen, so cute, she was the first person to introduce me to crystals. I was probably like 10, very little. She had a little bowl of crystals, and she would always talk me through them. Even then I was like, "Wow, what are those?" When I was 16 I was really into tarot, and I was really into runes, those Celtic runes. Anything divination-based, I loved it. Palm reading, I'd have all these books on palmistry, and I got a few books on aromatherapy and herbalism, so I was just starting to read about all these kind of things and learn about them myself.

 

Erin: (09:31)

I actually came up north here when I was around 16, 17. I was visiting a friend in the hills out here, who'd moved up here, and it was, she was living with this beautiful woman who was just so intuitive and was absolutely a medicine woman, is a medicine woman in her own right, and they introduced me to reiki, and they introduced me to sitting in circles, and sitting in circles with women, and healing circles and holding space, and I was 16, 17, and that's just where it all began for me, in a deeper sense. That's when I went and learnt reiki. That's when I sort of did all the levels. I started just doing different courses and learning things outside of my schooling, and that's when I was about 18, I went and did the two year energetic healing, just solid two year energetic healing diploma as an 18 year old.

 

Tahnee: (10:28)

Good times.

 

Erin: (10:30)

Totally, so kooky, but it was great.

 

Tahnee: (10:32)

Did you actually do that as a career, then, until-

 

Erin: (10:36)

Yeah. Yeah, no I didn't go solid into practise. I dabbled, and went and really cultivated and studied other things as well, over the years, and then went and retrained as a herbalist and nutritionist, so I did dabble, but I got out, Tahnee and I was like, "Oh my God, I'm like literally," I think I was 20 when I got out, and I was like, "This is nuts. I need to go live. I don't really know what to do with this." All this auric healing and kinesiology and sound healing, I didn't really feel ready to hold space for people in that way as a permanent thing, and also I was trying to figure out how you even do that. Back then-

 

Tahnee: (11:19)

I know, it wasn't an option.

 

Erin: (11:20)

That was so different.

 

Tahnee: (11:22)

Yeah.

 

Erin: (11:22)

No. That was like 18 years ago, guys. It was really weird back then.

 

Tahnee: (11:27)

I remember wanting to be a yoga teacher when I was 16 and being like, "There isn't such a thing." Like seriously, there were two yoga places in the entire city I lived in, and I was like, "Well." And now it's like-

 

Erin: (11:37)

Everywhere.

 

Tahnee: (11:41)

You can throw a rock and hit a yoga teacher. That's a pretty huge jump in such a short period of time. How did you get drawn to a career in herbalism, though, if you're kind of in this more esoteric realm and still finding out who you are as a 20 year old you know?

 

Erin: (12:00)

Yeah, totally. A few things happened. Lots of big things happened to me around the age of 20, 21, 22, those few early, formative years. I met my husband when I was 21, so we've been together for 17 years, which is a long time. Growing together through those years. I met him, I lived in the States, I lost my partner before him, he passed away from cancer. I just learnt so much in those few years. It was huge. When my ex-partner passed away from cancer, and it was really an aggressive cancer, and within five months he was gone. It was so intense, really. I watched him do all of these things to help his spiritual bodies, because at that point, his physical body was, he was really advised to not do treatment. There was really nothing they could do at that point, because it was a reoccurrence and super aggressive. I watched him do all of these things to shift his spiritual body.

 

Erin: (13:13)

Now, here I am sitting there, an energetic healer. Young, novice energetic healer, but still, having studied for years, three years, let's say. Watching him go through this, do all of these things to shift his body spiritually, to try to shift his body on the spiritual levels to try to make a physical effect, and he died.

 

Erin: (13:34)

I understand now that the work that he did was absolutely healing, and he was able to let go of his life by doing that work. He was just so brave, truly. Such a brave person, so courageous. I look back and I'm so impressed that a 21-year-old could do all of those things to let go of his life like that, but he didn't heal his body, and I was just broken man. I was so broken about it, because I was like, "Why didn't those things help him heal his body?" Because he was doing all the things, and when we work on ourselves, on those more etheric, energetic emotional levels, in my brain, at that time in my training, I understood that technically should actually impact your physical body, and that didn't happen. I was just broken about it.

 

Erin: (14:30)

Fast forward some years later, where I had processed a lot more, I realised that I just wanted to know so much more about the body, and I wanted to know how to heal the body, because we're these spiritual beings having this physical experience. How can I impact and support people having the physical experience, not just supporting them on a spiritual, etheric level, because we're here, you know? In that way in our bodies.

 

Tahnee: (14:54)

What's actually changed for you. This is a tricky question. I have thoughts around this, I'm curious to hear yours. If you're trying to affect change that way, spirit-down, what are your thoughts now on the effectiveness of that process to shift a physical, especially a really deep physical, let's say, process that's maybe negative for the body. Do you have-

 

Erin: (15:27)

I think now my understanding of the body and the being is that all parts of the being need to come onboard. I actually believe that that can be so powerful as working on the spiritual level, but of course coming at it, as well, from a physical level, is just as important. That's my understanding of it now. People absolutely might have different opinions, and I respect all of them and honour all of them, but my understanding is that we need to come from both sides and all parts to come on board to really heal a physical issue.

 

Tahnee: (16:01)

Yeah. My experience is also it's such a subtle form of energy and the energy required to transform that kind of, I see it as more dispersed, subtle. To actually concentrate it and bring it into a physical expression requires a lot more, we would say Jing, a lot more of your strength to really be able to kind of do that, and if someone's really suffering, I think it can ease their transitions, obviously. I think that's probably the gift that your ex got out of that process, but yeah, I think often the more gross effects can be easier for people to then cultivate that spiritual awareness, and that spiritual kind of healing, but you kind of need to have a bit of capacity in the physical body, sometimes, I think, for those things to all integrate. I guess my teacher talks about it as they all knit together through the chakra system-

 

Erin: (17:04)

Yeah, totally.

 

Tahnee: (17:06)

So if we're weak in, let's say we have a stomach cancer and we can't fully integrate on that level, it's just going to be tricky for us to do that. It's definitely something I think is interesting and worth talking about more, because, especially in this area, I'm sure, we have so many people proposing their way as "the way", and I think we have to be really conscious. We are physical beings having a physical experience, and we have to treat the physical body. It's such an essential part of our healing journey, I think, is to integrate and fully land here.

 

Erin: (17:43)

It really is.

 

Tahnee: (17:45)

Was that kind of what you feel like happened in your 20s? You became more at home in your physical and in the physical?

 

Erin: (17:51)

Totally. I think journeying through so much in my early 20s, I realised I had gone so far out of my body to learn about healing that I was almost a little uncomfortable in just being in my body. I think I'm actually a naturally very grounded person, so being out of my body actually felt more challenging for me. I'm not very sort of Vata, I'm quite like Pitta/Kalpha, kind of more in my body in that way, and I think just coming more into it, I found my power more as I grounded more into my body, not out of my body.

 

Erin: (18:33)

Really, with my ex-partner, it really inspired me to want to understand more about health, and that's actually, that was a long answer to how I got to herbalism, but it really kind of brought me to I know that plants have powers, and I know they impact the body. I really just want to know all about their mysteries and really learn more about them, and I became a nutritionist as well, really learning about food as medicine and how to heal the body with food.

 

Tahnee: (19:01)

Yeah. I think when we talk about these things that we ingest, that we transform and alchemize through our internal processes, we are talking about physical, energetic, it's on both levels. Herbs don't just work on the physical body. They work on the energetic body and the subtle body, and they give us that strength, I think, for these spiritual processes and practises. That's what I love so much about your work, I think, is there's that intersection where there's still a really intuitive kind of feminine knowing and relationship with the plants. It's not just, oh, they're full of, I'm looking at a reishi right now, triterpenes.

 

Erin: (19:42)

Right, right.

 

Tahnee: (19:43)

You know? To me, to look at that and think of, I'm holding up a red reishi right now, if you're listening, to think of that as a triterpene pod has no romance for me, but if I think of that as a Heart tonic or a Liver tonic, and on the energetic level, a Shen tonic and a Blood tonic, then I'm starting to get a little bit more in romance with the kind of relationship I'm going to have with that plant when I ingest it. I think that's what you've done so beautifully in the book, Plants For The People. There's stuff in there to appease the western mind, and I read that, you were like, "We're all educated, we need that little bit of reassurance that these things are actually researched and safe," and all that stuff.

 

Tahnee: (20:27)

But on another level, there's this kind of relationship that we develop with herbs when we take them and when we work with them and when we harvest them and forage them and when we learn to see them. I think it's actually a really fun line to walk, so I wondered if you could talk a little bit about that, in practise and in clinic, like how you, I read in your book that you were saying you learned all the western herbal stuff when you were studying at uni, but when you're actually in clinics, you had to develop that more intuitive relationship with the herbs. How did that work for you? What was that process like?

 

Erin: (21:05)

It is interesting, because herbalism now, particularly in Australia, naturopathic studies and herbal medicine studies, western herbal medicine studies, it's very clinical. It's gotten more and more clinical, so it's heavy sciences. You get a, I remember back in the day, I don't even know if they do it now, but you get a tiny portion of making medicines and also identifying medicines. I remember we went, for one, a weed walk, into the botanical gardens or something, into the herb garden in Sydney. It was like, "That's it." Which is to me, totally, my whole degree. It was incredibly cerebral, all through books. Through books, through clinical studies, through sort of evidence-based, clinical-based knowledge, and a lot of the teachers were great.

 

Erin: (22:09)

I think what actually got me through something like that was the inspiration of these amazing herbalists and naturopaths giving you all their experiences of having relationships with the plants over the years, and working with them and seeing them work their magic and alchemy. It was still very inspiring, but gosh, it could be dry. It was so dry, some of the studies, and I know people listening are probably going through that right now. It's a lot. It's a lot to go through.

 

Erin: (22:38)

Also, you get all the knowledge and then you've got to figure out how you want to then actually take that knowledge and mix it with your unique offering, and offer it out. So whether you are going to be a practitioner, you're going to write, you're going to research, you're going to create products, whatever it might be, it's a huge learning curve and commitment. For me, I just felt like there was a lot lacking. I did feel I'd got a great education, but for my individual spirit and what I know I have to offer and what I am drawn to, it was much more about really bringing the plants to life in a deeper way, so I had to do a lot more study outside of my studies to actually get to know the plants, to be able to identify, to be able to learn how they like to grow. What is the energy of them? How do they feel? And sit with them and get to know them, and I've done that for years and continue to do that.

 

Erin: (23:42)

A lot of it actually has been self-taught, self-directed, or learning from older herbalists who I've been lucky enough to cross paths with, but a lot of it is you actually have to step outside of that traditional training now, because it's so clinical.

 

Tahnee: (23:59)

Yeah. I speak to a lot of my acupuncturist friends about this, because you go through this degree and then you come out and you actually don't know how to take pulse properly, and that's the foundation of Chinese Medicine. Things like that.

 

Erin: (24:13)

Totally.

 

Tahnee: (24:16)

I mean I even know, with naturopathy friends, you don't learn, often, a lot of the more subtle aspects of the herbs and how to treat the energetics and all that kind of stuff I don't believe is really covered. I think they talk about it, but they don't really teach it. So it is a tricky, we did the, and I know you're a big fan of Tierra, Michael Tierra's program.

 

Erin: (24:37)

Yeah.

 

Tahnee: (24:39)

I found he was really big on the practical stuff, and I really felt, for people who were kind of learning, it's like to really do it and touch it with your hands and make mistakes and have everything go mouldy and do all of those dumb things.

 

Erin: (24:57)

Totally.. Just learn, really experience.

 

Tahnee: (25:01)

It's part of the process. It's like learning to cook. Some of the cakes just flop.

 

Erin: (25:05)

Don't rise. Totally.

 

Tahnee: (25:06)

It's like I've got a brick. But yeah, I think that's part of it. People are so afraid, we have this fear around plants and weeds and that they're dangerous or poisonous. We went to an event you hosted with Kate and Jasmine at the Church Farm, and you were talking about how so many of our culinary herbs are medicinal and we don't even think about that. What are some herbs people would regularly encounter in their daily lives that they might not realise are actually medicinal allies?

 

Erin: (25:36)

Medicinal. Just the most basic ones come to mind. Oregano, thyme, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger. All of these herbs that you cook with most days, or you have them in some food in your life, in your cupboard, they're all highly medicinal. They've so smart, because they've masked themselves as these culinary herbs and worked their path into your everyday life, but they're actually really potent medicinals. Also most of those are super easy to grow, especially your weed herbs, like your oregano, your thyme, your rosemary, your sage, so easy to grow, and can actually be used for so many different medicines, and I use them a lot in the book. You'll see them repeated a lot, because they're just very easy to come by and accessible and approachable for people as well.

 

Tahnee: (26:27)

Yeah, and even if people don't have fresh ones, right, they can use dried herbs.

 

Erin: (26:31)

Dried, totally. To be fair, a lot of medicines are actually easier to make from dried herbs, because again, you won't get that mouldy spoilage as much you mentioned as well. In the book, I use a lot of dried herbs, and it's also easy for people to find them or order them online, access them without having to cultivate a whole garden or wildcraft...

 

Tahnee: (26:53)

Yeah, buy expensive weird herbs.

 

Erin: (26:56)

Exactly. Totally.

 

Tahnee: (26:57)

That's what I think, we do, obviously, the Taoist Tonic herbs, and some of them are expensive, but I think you don't have to take fancy herbs. Really a lot of herbs are super cheap. We just harvested a whole bunch of dandi from our yard, and the roots were huge, and it's like, you know, dry those up, eat the leaves. We've got a great Liver herb there now, to sit in the cupboard and boil up whenever we want it. Yeah, but that took all of two seconds. My toddler loved it, because she was, you know, destroying the lawn.

 

Erin: (27:28)

Digging them up. Yep, totally.

 

Tahnee: (27:31)

It's like, yeah, that's great. There's lots of beautiful, potent medicine around that's free or very accessible. So people are kind of, if they are interested and feel the call to plants, but they're not really confident, and obviously get the book everybody. It's called Plants for the People. Is it teas that you recommend people starting with, or just learning to identify edible leaves? What are your favourite starting points for people?

 

Erin: (27:59)

Teas are so great because they are just such an accessible way to take your medicine. Again, all cultures are really, all of our ancestors, that's the way that they utilised their medicines. They were boiling them, infusing them. I think getting the added hydration is really positive for your health as well. Tea is super easy. You seriously can't go wrong with making a tea, you know what I mean? Even if you forget about it and brew it for a long time, then you've just got a strong tea.

 

Tahnee: (28:28)

Dilute it and drink it.

 

Erin: (28:30)

Exactly. Dilute it and drink it. It's just an easy way, and also it gives people the chance to play with dried herbs or fresh herbs, but understand flavour combinations and what feels good and what works for their body. I do think tea is a great place to start. I am encouraging people to really go out and look at what's in their yard, and it's something that I say in the book a lot. I give some little golden tips on wildcrafting which, first and foremost, is about identification, because we all want to be safe, right? So you need to practise identification and really be sure. But there are many things growing in your yard, like my yard, you mentioned we live in a church, it's an old, flat churchyard. We've lived here for a year and a half, but it's interesting for me because it's such a different landscape than I'm used to, because I lived in the Blue Mountains for 12 years, and I had all these English gardens that were just so grandiose and beautiful, and this is a flat churchyard.

 

Erin: (29:35)

But we've been growing a lot on this land. It's very fertile land. We've got a great medicinal herb garden growing now, but because I never planted proper grass, I think, on this block, it's just full of weeds, really. I've watched them over the seasons, and what I have on my block is I've got a lot of gotu kola, I've got plantago, I've got dandelion, and I've got chickweed coming up now, because it's cooler. We eat a lot of our chickweed, we eat our dandelion leaves. I'll eat a few gotu kola a day as well. A bunch of those are edible, super nutritious. They're free. They're weeds, so the energy and the might of weeds, they persist, you know? They're strong. They're such good tonics for our bodies, so nutritive, and also you can make medicines from them, and that's just growing in my backyard.

 

Erin: (30:37)

I know some people will be living in the city, so we've got to be mindful of sprays and, for sure, pesticides. You've got to find some wildness where you don't think it's sprayed, so a park where you don't think it's sprayed, do a bit of research. Even in parks around cities, there's medicine everywhere. There really is.

 

Tahnee: (30:57)

[inaudible 00:30:57].

 

Erin: (30:57)

I just encourage people that, yeah.

 

Tahnee: (31:02)

I often, I have personal rules about thievery. I won't go into someone's property, but if it's over the fence it's fair [crosstalk 00:31:11]. Mason's mum used to live in Gladesville, which is kind of inner west of Sydney, and I would go for walks with a green bag and come home with kumquats and lemons and rosemary and sage and thyme and we'd brew up things. There's actually quite a lot of medicine out there if you [inaudible 00:31:28].

 

Erin: (31:28)

There seriously is.

 

Tahnee: (31:31)

Just obviously don't steal from inside people's yards.

 

Erin: (31:34)

Don't do what I used to do as a child and go and trespass and pick from someone's garden. You can get away with it when you're like eight.

 

Tahnee: (31:44)

Oh yeah [crosstalk 00:31:44] story. It's a great story.

 

Erin: (31:46)

You can get away with it when you're little, but maybe not now. This morning we just went for a big walk, and we just walked through the paddocks and just the edges, there's a school here, and just the edge of the school had this giant rosemary bush. It was insane, it was so huge. Then I also found a whole lot of lemon myrtle trees.

 

Tahnee: (32:05)

I love lemon myrtle.

 

Erin: (32:06)

Because I walked past and I was like, "Oh my God, the smell," and I touched the leaf and I was like, "It's lemon myrtle." So I picked a few leaves just to make up a cup of tea this morning. It was beautiful.

 

Tahnee: (32:15)

Yeah. Medicine is all around.

 

Erin: (32:17)

It really is.

 

Tahnee: (32:19)

And so, if people I guess if they're learning identification, I typically say if you're not sure, don't eat it.

 

Erin: (32:31)

Don't eat it.

 

Tahnee: (32:31)

If you have a friend who's better at identifying, share it with them. For a lot of the ones we're talking about now, like dandy and stuff, even the ones that look like they aren't toxic, and gotu kola, there's that violet that looks like gotu kola.

 

Erin: (32:46)

It is.

 

Tahnee: (32:47)

I've eaten that. It tastes bad, but it's fine. I've done that. If you eat, there's a native yellow-flowered plant that looks like dandy, it's the same thing. It's just like-

 

Erin: (32:58)

Like cats ears?

 

Tahnee: (32:59)

Yeah, cats ears.

 

Erin: (33:01)

Yeah, they're fuzzy. No, they don't taste good. The difference is dandy is smooth and it's more serrated on the edge, so there's no hairs on it. Cats ears are a little rounded on the edge, and they've got hairs all over them. If you're thinking what that is, is it hairy? If it's hairy, it's not dandelion.

 

Tahnee: (33:22)

Yeah, people can start to work that stuff out.

 

Erin: (33:24)

But totally, if you don't know what it is don't eat, yeah definitely don't eat it, there are actually a lot of great Facebook group identification, garden identification things that you can join as well, and you get a lot of expert gardeners coming on there and giving you tips or giving you a link to a YouTube video to watch for identification. It's very helpful, but yeah, you've got to practise. A lot of the things you can't, like rosemary and sage, you can't really get those too wrong. But they're cultivated, obviously, in someone's garden.

 

Erin: (34:01)

Just get to know them. That's why, in the book, when I taught the 40 plants, I really tried to teach 40 most common or relevant plants. A lot of them are super common kinds of kitchen herbs. We shot a beautiful photo of all of them.

 

Tahnee: (34:20)

They're gorgeous.

 

Erin: (34:22)

Thank you.

 

Tahnee: (34:22)

Just gorgeous. Oh, I've got chickweed.

 

Erin: (34:26)

Yeah, look at that.

 

Tahnee: (34:26)

They're just stunning. I was just going to ask, because I think, one of the things we try and help people kind of get their heads around, it's a tricky conversation because yes, these things are medicinal, but they're also, we consider herbs as part of our diet, and that's something Mason and I are really passionate about. We don't just take them when we're sick. We're not taking them even, always, for medicinal reasons. I love eating chickweed in a salad, and yeah, it's mucilaginous and high in vitamin C and great in all these, blah blah, but it's just a delicious salad green and same with dandy. Yes, it's cleansing for the Liver and the Blood, but it's also bitter and it stimulates your appetite, it's great to have before a pasta or something. It's a yummy herb.

 

Tahnee: (35:16)

When you work with people one on one and when you're talking about that, is that something you encourage and foster, relating to plants as more than that kind of, I think that's that allopathic, it's a chemical constituent that's good for this and good for that.

 

Erin: (35:32)

Yeah, totally.

 

Tahnee: (35:32)

Is that something you teach people and get them to think about?

 

Erin: (35:36)

For sure. It's funny, I think, for me, I work on lots of different levels with different people, and being a practitioner, it's so interesting, because as I've learned over the years, the art of being a practitioner is being a good shape shifter, and being able to shape shift to people's needs and to people's energies, because if I'm seeing six, ten people in a day, they're going to have completely different stories, completely different needs, and the way that I need to come at them is all really different. For some people, I will keep it more on a, I wouldn't say clinical, but there's a little bit more, I'll keep it on that level. For other people, so we'll do more diagnostics and testing and we'll get to the roots of things in those ways. With other people, I might be just using drop doses of herbs and totally tiny energetic doses, because they're very sensitive and I can feel that they just need very gentle interventions, and I'll be talking in that way as well.

 

Erin: (36:38)

And then for other people, I'll be talking more about nutrition and how to eat those wild foods, and how to change your nutrition to support what's going on. It just really changes, honestly, and that's working on all those different levels with different people. I would love, one day, to be able to have a place where people can come and experience with me how to heal with the plants in a more tangible sense. I think that's the next few chapters away, maybe, for us, which would be beautiful, but yeah, for now, I just merge all of those skills together of how to inspire people to connect back to plants and connect back to how simple it can be as well, because I think wellness and wellbeing has gotten really complicated for a lot of people.

 

Tahnee: (37:28)

Totally.

 

Erin: (37:29)

Yeah, and it's intimidating for a lot of people, so my job is to try to really demystify that, support people through very complex health issues and help them shift and get better. So I really just try to meet them wherever they need me to meet them.

 

Tahnee: (37:43)

Yeah. So which herbs do you work, I imagine you're fairly intuitive with what you work with for yourself, but are you working with anything in particular, any herbs you're really drawn to at the moment? What's your process for selecting and working with them?

 

Erin: (38:01)

Totally, yeah. What am I doing right now? It changes everyday, because I am just like, like probably you guys too, it's kind of like, "What do I feel like? How am I? Where am I at today?"

 

Tahnee: (38:13)

[inaudible 00:38:13]. I don't even know what I'm taking.

 

Erin: (38:14)

Mase just makes them for you?

 

Tahnee: (38:17)

Right.

 

Erin: (38:18)

I'm sure. So it changes with what I'm feeling, but just also, I know we're in the time of corona, but for me, knowing that the autumn shift is coming, we're starting to go into that cooler inward cycle, so I will support my immunity more. I've just been doing a lot of nice hydration and mucous membrane support for my throat as well. I do long days where I talk and talk and talk, so I'll do a thyme, lemon and manuka, just tea, yesterday, that I was sipping all day with clients, that felt really nice. A little elecampane sometimes in there as well, but I actually am using a lot of medicinal mushrooms right now, and that's really going into all my tonics and smoothies. I don't really drink a lot of smoothies, but into my warming tonics more. I make a really nice dandy root cinnamon tonic base, with coconut, almond milk, or whatever milk we make, and then I will put in some mushrooms with that, so right now, very much so doing my Reishi, my little bitter Reishi, my Chaga, sometimes I do Mason's Mushrooms as well, just as the combo, or I've got a seven shrooms mix that I use as well from Orchard Street. I just mix up what I feel like, all the different things.

 

Tahnee: (39:45)

That's what I think I so [inaudible 00:39:47] about having an abundant apothecary. You get to be able to really feel into what you need.

 

Erin: (39:52)

Play.

 

Tahnee: (39:52)

Yeah.

 

Erin: (39:54)

Yeah, totally. For me, I do work with a bunch of adaptogens, because historically I have a sensitive adrenal system, though I'm in such a better place than a few years ago, when I was quite burnt out, I really do need to lean into the medicine of the adaptogens and sort of pulse dose those. Some days I'll go a lot stronger on them. Other days, I'll feel like I really don't need to bring them into my body. I am quite intuitive with them. I'm not prescriptive with something being an everyday thing with herbs. I'm at a point where I'm not on an actual prescription with anything. I just kind of go in and out with them and dance with them a little.

 

Tahnee: (40:35)

When you had that healing crisis a while ago, when you were going through that whole adrenal thing. Was that when you lived in the mountains, as well? You kind of had to get out of that flow?

 

Erin: (40:46)

It was.

 

Tahnee: (40:47)

Yeah. You were just burning yourself out through work, right? Is that kind of-

 

Erin: (40:53)

Totally. Not so much, it was a lot of different elements. I think, for me, I had some really intense tender fertility interventions and just went through a lot of experiences there. One of my best relationships was breaking down, this whole life we'd cultivated in the mountains I was like, we were about to build a house, then we were like, "We don't want to do that. We want to leave. We're ready to go." So we worked so hard at something and then it was just telling us that it was complete, really. The next chapters of our lives, my husband and I, were not going to be there. We'd worked so hard, we were holding on really tight to this life that we thought we should be having, and this life that we cultivated all this space, even to have a baby, and there was no baby. Which was okay, and we're in a very different place about it now, but it was like, "This is meant to happen," and then I think I was holding on so tightly was causing me so much emotional stress.

 

Erin: (41:51)

I was also holding so much space for other people's healing process, and doing these huge long days in Sydney from the mountains. It was just a lot, and I think it became really a loud storm, and my body just told me I needed to rest, and it was really intense, the way it told me I needed to rest, and I just had to listen to that. Yeah, totally slammed me down on the ground.

 

Tahnee: (42:16)

Thanks body.

 

Erin: (42:18)

Like full on darkest days, in the bathroom crying, thinking, "Oh my God, is this ever going to get better," because I couldn't control my stress response, and I was just getting cortisol panic rashes all over my body constantly, yet my mind was totally calm.

 

Tahnee: (42:35)

Your body was really-

 

Erin: (42:36)

It was really scary. Wigged out.

 

Tahnee: (42:38)

Do you [crosstalk 00:42:39]. Do you pull up your bootstraps and sort it out yourself, or do you go and have someone you work with in times like that?

 

Erin: (42:47)

I actually went straight to my most wonderful naturopath. I did a bunch of things, actually. I did the herbs and the nutrition and testing to see what was going on a little bit more, and I went and saw, I actually could only do acupuncture right at the end when I was a little bit more robust, because I was almost too sensitive to even have needles in me. I was too sensitive. I did that, and I also did a lot of kinesiology, so a lot of energetic work from that, sort of more etheric, but coming into the body as well with kinesiology. I have to say, the food, for me, nutrition, my nutrition changes, and time in nature, so balancing my blood sugar with nutrition and the time that I spent under the oak trees swinging in my hammock, honestly, was the most healing thing for me, truly, because my blood sugar was so wigged out.

 

Tahnee: (43:47)

Yeah, and I don't think, that's probably, to me, the most poisonous aspect of this wellness thing, is how food has become demonised. Just people living on liquids. We need substance and it grounds us. It nourishes us, especially if we are stressed or we have things going on like what you're describing. You were doing all those drives from the mountains to Sydney, that's a long time in the car and your energy [crosstalk 00:44:15].

 

Erin: (44:15)

A long time.

 

Tahnee: (44:17)

-By that. It's a lot. There's a lot there [crosstalk 00:44:23] hearty meal and a lie-down.

 

Erin: (44:24)

Totally. And I just did that. I did that, and it really, really helped, and of course I did all the herbs, I did a lot of supplementation to support my body. I was in a crisis, so I needed to be supported in quite a major way. It wasn't a few things that came on board, it was a lot of things. Even coming back to the beginning of our conversation where I said I feel like all parts of the being need to come on board. That was truly one of the biggest experiences that for me, where I had to actually come on all levels to really work on healing my body, and I got better really quick. I know people struggle with this for years and years, and within a few months I was really able to turn around my picture of adrenal fatigue and dysfunction, which is amazing.

 

Tahnee: (45:12)

Did it change, for you, though, how you worked? Because I think, often, certainly some of the people we work with, they want us to help them find the solution that they can go back to how things are, and it's one of the hardest things to communicate, but it's the reason this is happening is unfortunately due to this kind of lack of resonance between the way you're living and what you need. Was that a big shift for you in how you did things?

 

Erin: (45:40)

Everything changed. Everything changed, yeah. My husband and I both acknowledged we were done with the mountains and we needed to let go of this concept of the house and everything we'd worked with. The mountains are beautiful, but it's also a very potent place, and traditionally, from an indigenous perspective, what I know of it, is that it was somewhere you'd come to do deep healing and then you'd leave. You really wouldn't need to, don't outstay your welcome, it's time to go. I think for years, actually, there were messages of we were complete, and we didn't really listen to that.

 

Erin: (46:15)

Yeah, so for me, in that time I knew that we needed to let go of that, and I also needed to totally transform the way I was working, for sure. Only maybe a year before that I had sold my multi-modality wellness space that I'd started, so I'd sold that in the mountains, and I was heading up the Orchard Street Clinic in Sydney, and loved it so much and had been there for nearly five, six years, I think, towards the end six years, from the beginnings of Orchard Street. I just knew I had to let it go. I knew that I needed to go digital and give myself a whole lot of room to breathe and really change the way I practised, and in that moment, we sort of realised, okay, well if I go digital, I've sold my business, we've let go of the land, my husband leaves his job, we don't actually need to be, like we can let go of being here.

 

Tahnee: (47:03)

Be wherever you want to be.

 

Erin: (47:03)

Yeah, be wherever we want to be. And then honestly, the next day, we talked about moving up here, and the next day a friend of mine posted that she was leaving this beautiful church house.

 

Tahnee: (47:14)

Ellie.

 

Erin: (47:15)

Yeah, Ellie posted, bless Ellie. She posted on Instagram and I saw it, and I was like, "That's it. Let's move to the church." We got it very quickly. We'd moved in about two, three weeks.

 

Tahnee: (47:27)

Wow.

 

Erin: (47:28)

And that changed everything.

 

Tahnee: (47:29)

Was Plants for the People born in the church or up in the Blue Mountains?

 

Erin: (47:33)

Plants for the People was born in the Blue Mountains. I signed the book deal in the church, so I suppose it was really anchored in the church and I wrote it in the church, but it came to me when I was in the peak of the adrenal dysfunction and I was just laying there, surrendering to the universe, and just going, "Oh my God, what am I meant to do now? I can't keep up my practise like this," and then boom. The book just dropped in. In the absolute breakdown of the space, I had the hugest breakthrough, which was amazing.

 

Tahnee: (48:07)

[inaudible 00:48:07].

 

Erin: (48:07)

As always.

 

Tahnee: (48:07)

Yeah, such a classic story, isn't it? But you have to create space for those things to be born. It's a lot like the process of birth. There's that moment where you're like, don't know if this is going to happen.

 

Erin: (48:21)

Really.

 

Tahnee: (48:22)

That's the strength. You dig deep and find the strength to transcend it.

 

Erin: (48:27)

To bring it through, totally. Yeah, so I did change. I changed to a completely digital platform. Over the last year and a half I've been seeing clients digitally, so kept a lot of my beautiful clients from Sydney, which was wonderful, but I've just expanded into different spaces, working with people worldwide, all over, and it's been so wonderful, from this beautiful place that I get to call home. It's just been so grounding and nourishing for me. In that way, then I can show up, and I can really hold that space for other people so much more, in a more fortified light for all of us, which feels really good.

 

Tahnee: (49:03)

Yeah, that's such a tricky line to walk as someone in a healing kind of industry, because it can drain you so much if you don't have a strong sense of what you need to stay supported and grounded. It's amazing that you've had that journey, because I think you can help other people then navigate it for themselves.

 

Erin: (49:24)

Yeah.

 

Tahnee: (49:25)

The final thing I really wanted to talk to you about, especially at the moment, it's just this idea of herbalism, this kind of activism. Something that, I've spoke to Sarah Wilson recently, and we were kind of discussing that activism doesn't have to be these grand, because I think a lot of us are devastated by what's going on in the world and we feel disempowered and kind of lost sometimes and it's often these grassroots traditions like gardening and herbalism and learning to build and cook, they kind of bring us back to what it means to be human, I think, in a lot of ways. I think especially what's going on in the world right now, there's this opportunity where people maybe do have a bit more time to jump online, order a book, or get on YouTube or Facebook and start to actually dive deep into the herbal practise and empowering themselves to treat their families and themselves when things go awry, but I know you do know a lot about the kind of historical origins of herbalism. For me, I was really into witch books when I was a kid, so [crosstalk 00:50:34], all the ones about the Salem Witch Trials and all that.

 

Erin: (50:38)

Yeah.

 

Tahnee: (50:38)

European witch tradition and stregas in Italy and all of that stuff.

 

Erin: (50:43)

Amazing.

 

Tahnee: (50:43)

Yeah, I don't know-

 

Erin: (50:45)

I wish we knew each other when we were little. We would have been awesome.

 

Tahnee: (50:50)

It's funny, because what you said about, all those things, when I was little, I was really into them, and then I got with this guy who was really scientific and for like.. I was with him for 11 years, and that was a really important time for me, because I actually learned how to think that way. I think I would have been pretty woowoo, I think, if I hadn't have had those years with him, but it also killed me a little bit, my spirit. I got depressed for the first time and I had eating disorders and I went through, and it's not just, obviously, but just that kind of reductionist way of thinking about things, for me, was really painful. So yeah, it's been interesting for me to come back full circle to a more holistic way of being and to reintegrate a lot of the things that I was really passionate about as a younger person, so it's interesting talking to you.

 

Erin: (51:41)

I'm so glad you did. We would have missed out on so much gold if you didn't.

 

Tahnee: (51:45)

Well, I think with all of us, I think we have these, and even those dark nights of the soul kind of times, the kind of a potent force for igniting [crosstalk 00:51:56] in us.

 

Erin: (51:55)

They're important.

 

Tahnee: (51:56)

Yeah, like pushing us to go back to what's true and real for us. So yeah, a lot of what we've talked about still really resonates. But yeah, I guess what I really got out of reading a lot of those books as a young woman was how much fear and power, when people were empowered, how the institutions and the structures were really threatened and challenged by that. In those days it was the Church and all that kind of thing, and now we've got all this crazy stuff going on in the world. I wondered if you could share some thoughts. You've got such an interesting background with your Italian and Romanian ancestry, and where you kind of see herbalism as almost a subversive, how it holds that [crosstalk 00:52:36].

 

Erin: (52:35)

Yeah, totally. I wrote in the book, there's a sentence that is coming to me. I really wanted this to be a bold page of typography in the book, but it's a subtle line, when you guys read it. But it says, "We are activists reclaiming the right to know the medicine of self and soil." Right? Like, oh man. It gives me goosebumps too, because just that little message coming through me when I was writing, I was like, this is just bullshit that we are told that we have to go see somebody to access this information. In Australia, it is so highly regulated to be a herbalist and a naturopath. We've talked about my four years of study. I did seven years all up of study, but with the energetic healing, nutritional medicine, it's so much structured study. But four years of structured study, I understand, I totally respect and understand that study because it absolutely has its place. You definitely should see, if you're able and you have the means and you have things you want to work on with your health, it is so lovely to be supported by someone who knows, really, they really speak the fluent language of the herbs and they can really, really helpful.

 

Erin: (53:56)

Yes, of course, that's me, right? But I also think that everybody should have access to working with the plants and healing with the plants. There are so many different layers and levels of how you can do that. It is the people's medicine. Plants medicine has been and always will be the people's medicine. I say that in the book as well. It's like, traditionally, all of our lineages have utilised plant medicine to heal. Every single one of them, I'd say. That is the oldest form of the ancient practice of healing with plants. My Romanian Russian lines, my Italian Arabic grandmother, my dad's side, they're English, so traditional folk medicine coming through Europe, coming through those Arabic bloodlines, even those Celtic bloodlines. There's so much power in those bloodlines that we have as well, and really we're just waking up and remembering.

 

Erin: (54:58)

What's been taken away from us has been, particularly in Australia, it's like in the '80s, and I was talking to these beautiful old herbalists that live round the corner from me. They're just such gorgeous elders for me, and they both have these beautiful medicinal gardens, and they helped me out with a few herbs I couldn't find in the book that had been photographed. One of my favourite photographs is the big, gnarly chunk of turmeric. Yeah, I love it. It's got the dirt all over it.

 

Tahnee: (55:26)

I was just looking at.

 

Erin: (55:28)

It's so pretty, and the ginger as well, and they were grown in their garden, because I wasn't growing those at that time. Being welcomed into their garden was so healing for me, because they were just such lovely women, and they were telling me about their experience as herbalists back in the '60s and '70s, and how in the '80s, basically, all the legislation changed in Australia, and we were no longer able to make our own medicines for our clients, and all the bigger companies came in to make the medicines for the practitioners and it all became regulated, so the right to actually make the medicines for the clients were taken away.

 

Erin: (56:05)

Now the flow on effect that that's had as well, it has been enormously disruptive for herbalism in Australia, because that hands-on approach has been taken away, even from the practitioners, you know? I think what's been lost is a lot, in that sense of making. I also think that generation of our grandmas, I know your mum was a trained herbalist and she was amazing and onto it, but for most of us, our mothers and fathers kind of lost that traditional folk knowledge, but our grandmothers and the generations before, so grandmothers, great-grandmothers, they were still quite in tune with that traditional folk knowledge. My grandmothers were, because they were, like my grandmothers were immigrants, right? They immigrated, and they had lived that immigrant life where they lived their way of life from where they came here.

 

Tahnee: (57:02)

Old country.

 

Erin: (57:03)

The old country, right? But my mum and my dad, who were, sorry, they actually immigrated here as small children as well, but they were just told to fit in and lose their roots, because they were new to this place. My mum had a thick Russian accent, my dad had a Liverpudlian accent, and they were weird, you know? They were just like, "Fit in, get in line. Be as Australian as possible," so they lost a lot of that. They didn't want to know about the traditions of their parents. I've talked to my mum about this, and that's been lost, that wasn't handed to me. We've lost a bit of that because we were all told to fit in, which is so sad, you know? It's sad. For me, I'm honouring my bloodlines by remembering.

 

Tahnee: (57:50)

[inaudible 00:57:50] feeling, isn't it?

 

Erin: (57:52)

Right. That's it. So yeah, I do think that a lot of this is about, it is almost an act of activism to remember. To reconnect, and to honour where you came from, and to honour where you are now. It's an act of activism to honour the land and to say, "I honour you," and I want to have a relationship with you. Even if it's this little patch of whatever it might, it doesn't matter what it is. It doesn't matter. The little patch is a microcosm of alchemy and universal energy. We're getting cosmic here, but it's like, just tune in, wherever you are. You're actually fighting the system by tuning in and taking that into your own hands in a lot of ways, and you're creating waves of healing by doing that as well.

 

Tahnee: (58:43)

I think when we have people around us and children, those things, they become, they sort of, like viruses, move through communities and they change people. Look at this area, we have such a strong culture of health and healing around here because people have persisted with that culture in the Byron area. It serves all of us so strongly.

 

Tahnee: (59:10)

I wonder, though, something I'm really sad about and still trying to solve, is my relationship with the actual endemic plants of this land, because I grew up with Western Herbalism, so it was plants that don't really naturally grow here. [inaudible 00:59:27] here, but they don't grow here on their own. Then we obviously work with Chinese herbs which, again, I'm really passionate about. I've been told I was a Chinese person once upon a time, so maybe that's-

 

Erin: (59:41)

I believe that.

 

Tahnee: (59:42)

Yeah, possibly. Part of me is really devastated that I, apart from lemon myrtle and some of the really obvious famous ones, I don't really know much about, I can't walk through the bush here and go, "Oh, that's medicine." Have you had any experience with our native plants?

 

Erin: (01:00:02)

You know, I'm getting asked this all the time, which I really appreciate the question, but I'm getting asked this all the time, and I was just saying to my husband, "Wow, this is really coming up strong in conversations with me." The truth of it is, is no. I wish I did. My training is so classical Western Herbalism, which, as you said, it's really plants of Europe and North America. That's sort of traditional Western Medicine, and now we've got, it's interesting, the more Eastern plants are also coming into our training as well.

 

Tahnee: (01:00:38)

Yeah. Using a lot of Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs.

 

Erin: (01:00:42)

Yeah, a lot of Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs have come in as well, but traditionally it's those folk medicines of North America and Europe, and I feel so fluent in them, which is such a weird thing when you don't live on a land where they totally grow. Obviously we grow a lot of them ourselves, but I'm not walking in the fields of yarrow. I was in the States shooting the book, we shot a lot of the book in the States, so that wildness that you see with the fields of valerian and yarrow is in the States. I'm not walking in those fields. I spent a lot of time in America, so I feel very connected to those plants as well, with my experience of them and the land there, because my husband's American, but I really honour that that is a bit of a debacle. Also, how then do we practise bioregional herbalism?

 

Tahnee: (01:01:34)

Yep, totally.

 

Erin: (01:01:35)

Right? As Australian herbalists, when we don't know the plants of our land intimately? Now a lot of the weeds grow, like we talked about, the weeds in my garden grow here and that's great, but I don't know the medicine, the indigenous medicines. Because a lot of the indigenous medicines are cloaked in a lot of mystery [crosstalk 01:02:00].

 

Tahnee: (01:01:59)

-Everybody, really, that a lot of wisdom has just been-

 

Erin: (01:02:01)

Right, a lot of the wisdom has been lost-

 

Tahnee: (01:02:06)

[inaudible 01:02:06], yeah.

 

Erin: (01:02:07)

Is either held really dear, which is totally understandable. It's hard to access it, even as a herbalist. There was no training, actually, at all for me in my course on indigenous medicine. That might be something they're doing more now, but I see there's a bunch of courses up here where there's a little bit more knowledge being shared up here. I've been seeing those and thinking, "Oh, I'd actually like to start to feel into it." You know, Tahnee it's funny. My husband's American, we're very drawn there. Given what's been happening in America and whose governing it, we haven't been drawn to move back, but I feel such a big call back to the land there, and I think the plants are calling me. I feel like they're calling me really loud over there. For me here in Australia, I'm a firstborn Australian, but my lineage is so different. I feel like I'm so new here.

 

Tahnee: (01:03:05)

I think America has such a strong folk herbal tradition.

 

Erin: (01:03:12)

Oh my gosh, it really does, yeah.

 

Tahnee: (01:03:14)

Yeah. We're members of the American Herbalist Guild and we go-

 

Erin: (01:03:17)

Guild, awesome.

 

Tahnee: (01:03:18)

Yeah, we've been over to the Oregon-

 

Erin: (01:03:19)

That's awesome.

 

Tahnee: (01:03:24)

Just how much knowledge and wisdom is held there. I don't know, for me, how free they are, really, to practise, and how free the sharing of information is. It might just the culture of the event that we attended, but I think it was a week-long or five day immersion [inaudible 01:03:47] basically, with talks from early morning to night time. I was going to herbal medicine for abortion clinics, and there just these beautiful women who had been working with women to-

 

Erin: (01:03:58)

And supporting people.

 

Tahnee: (01:03:59)

Yes. Through miscarriage, abortion, and here people are terrified to even speak about that. The stigma around using a herb in that case, I don't know. It was such an open-hearted, free conversation around how herbs can help. We went to a clinic on using herbs for AIDS patients. It was just a beautiful [inaudible 01:04:23] dialogue.

 

Erin: (01:04:23)

It's amazing.

 

Tahnee: (01:04:26)

People like Christopher Hobbs are there and Tierra.

 

Erin: (01:04:28)

So cool.

 

Tahnee: (01:04:31)

I'm like being part of their wisdom.

 

Erin: (01:04:32)

Totally, yeah.

 

Tahnee: (01:04:34)

I think that sort of makes me sad, I think, here, that it has become so clinical and so regimented and controlled. Every naturopathy clinic is using the same brand of [inaudible 01:04:44]. Kind of like that.

 

Erin: (01:04:44)

Yeah, really true. Honestly, this is why I wrote Plants for the People, truly, because I was like, "This just needs to come back into people's homes and hearts." We all need to feel free to practise kitchen herbalism. Seriously, because it's like, this is what a lot of traditional folk medicine in America is. It's kitchen herbalism. It's things that you can make in your kitchen from your garden or from your surrounds that are super easy and accessible. I'm so grateful that the book got a UK and USA release as well, because that feels so good to know that that's also spreading into those spaces, but I was just so stoked that it's all over Australia and New Zealand, because I do feel that we really have lost that connection here. There are no rules about those things. These are things that you can bring into your everyday life. That is the spirit of activism around it.

 

Erin: (01:05:44)

America is different, I think, in their sense and the way that folk medicine has continued on as well, because it is an actual act of activism there, because they don't have a universal healthcare system.

 

Tahnee: (01:06:01)

[Crosstalk 01:06:01], yeah.

 

Erin: (01:06:01)

Yeah. To be able to heal your body, to heal a cold, to heal a chest infection, to heal a cut with plant medicines, it's essential for many people still over there, and it's kind of been practised in that way of handed down in families as home remedies, because the system is, sorry guys, it's broken. Yeah, it's broken. It is broken. I think that's also why it's lived on so strongly over there. The spirit of that. But I too, when I go over there and I'm with my herbalist friends over there or I attend something, I'm just lit up, lit up by the energy and the community and the camaraderie between herbalists, and when I was photographing, Georgia was photographing the book, we were on the little plant safari, it was amazing, going to all these different farms and meeting all these different herbalists and being welcomed onto their land. Everyone was so amazing. It was amazing, really.

 

Tahnee: (01:07:00)

Plant people are typically pretty good people, in my experience.

 

Erin: (01:07:01)

So good. It was great.

 

Tahnee: (01:07:01)

Yeah.

 

Erin: (01:07:07)

Totally. I do think that it all comes back to us reclaiming that right to know the medicine of self and soil. That's it. This is what this is about.

 

Tahnee: (01:07:19)

Represent.

 

Erin: (01:07:20)

Yep.

 

Tahnee: (01:07:22)

That sounds like a perfect place to wrap up. I will put a link to purchase this in Australia, and it's available in the UK, I know you said, but not quite ready for the States.

 

Erin: (01:07:33)

US is like May 5th.

 

Tahnee: (01:07:35)

Okay, so probably not too long away, really, by the time this is live. People can work with you, so you have a website, which we'll, again, link in the bio. And your Instagram, if they just look up your name?

 

Erin: (01:07:47)

It's just my name which is a long name, but I'll spell it for you guys real quick. E-R-I-N L-O-V-E-L-L V-E-R-I-N-D-E-R, but if you put in @erinlove, I'm one of the first ones that come up, like Erin Lovell Verinder.

 

Tahnee: (01:08:02)

I see. And mostly through Instagram. Do you do Facebook as well?

 

Erin: (01:08:07)

I'm just, no. I just don't want to, basically. I'm trying not to. I'm on Instagram, and I share on there a lot.

 

Tahnee: (01:08:15)

Yeah, your Instagram is great, so [inaudible 01:08:17].

 

Erin: (01:08:17)

Thank you babe. And then my website has all the things about working with me and mentoring with me, and more about the book and things like that.

 

Tahnee: (01:08:25)

Yeah, because I saw you mentor. I think the point you made a little while back about coming out and being like, "Well now what? How do I actually do this?" So you actually support younger practitioners as they begin [inaudible 01:08:40], and I guess more experienced ones as they-

 

Erin: (01:08:41)

Yeah, so sometimes it's even just people who are trying to figure out how to make a career, or they want to even study in this space. I'll have sessions with them. But then yes, people who are graduating or have graduated, or practitioners who just need a little help with tricky cases or how to make a bountiful career and a lot of different things. Running a clinic, where to study, where to start. I've offered that for a few years now, which has felt really good, and it's been really nice to help people, and also pay it forward, I think, a little bit of my experience, because it's really something you don't get when you study. They just kind of go, "Okay, you've graduated. Off you go, good luck with that."

 

Tahnee: (01:09:21)

Yeah. That's such a nice offering, well I'm sure there will be people listening that are interested in a career in this industry, so hopefully you'll get lots of phone calls or emails or whatever it happens to be.

 

Tahnee: (01:09:33)

All right, well I'll say thank you so much for joining us. It was such a pleasure to hear your story and speak to you, and I hope everyone gets a copy of Erin's beautiful book. It's literally, we actually bought one, and Erin gifted me one. The one I bought has been making its way around the warehouse and everyone's gone and bought a copy. They're like, "Actually I need one in my house."

 

Erin: (01:09:54)

That's really sweet.

 

Tahnee: (01:09:54)

So it's kind of sweet. Yeah, I think it's such a beautiful, it's a beautiful book, but it's also, we've got every herb book written, I feel like, and it's one that I actually have had on my kitchen counter. It feels nice to have it around. It's not just one that you read and put in the library and never look at again.

 

Erin: (01:10:14)

Right. It's quite practical. I tried really to make it practical with all the recipes as well, and learning the plants so you can just reference them and learn their stories.

 

Tahnee: (01:10:27)

Yeah.

 

Erin: (01:10:27)

I wanted it to be pretty and practical.

 

Tahnee: (01:10:27)

Well, I think you've nailed it. I worked in publishing, I know how hard it is to achieve what you want in a design and kind of layout, and I think you've done a great job.

 

Erin: (01:10:37)

Thank you.

 

Tahnee: (01:10:37)

Congratulations.

 

Erin: (01:10:39)

Thank you love.

 

Tahnee: (01:10:40)

All right, darling. Thank you so much again, and have a beautiful day.

 

Erin: (01:10:44)

You too. Bye.



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