“Our greatest opportunity is to actually lean in and ask the question, ‘How do I feel?’ From this space, the remedies can pour in.”
These words are from Erin Lovell Verinder’s new book, Plants for the People: A Modern Guide to Plant Medicine. And they feel extra important right now, as psychology has taught us that identifying our feelings is the first step toward healing.
You don’t need me to remind you, but we’re living in beyond unsettling times. My interest in plants and gardening has reawakened out of a sense of pre-apocalyptic necessity and as a natural option try to deal with some of the physical manifestations of above-normal daily stress—the knot in the chest, the sleeplessness, the clenched jaw, the gnawing belly.
Verinder’s book offers a plant prescription for these stress-related symptoms and more—and also beseeches us to dig deeper to uncover and treat the root issue. As a master herbalist, nutritionist, and wellness expert, her writing serves as an accessible introduction to the basic tenets of herbalism. It’s broken down into highly digestible sections, including a bit of backstory and a breakdown on wildcrafting (probably not meant for NYC-ers, since we never know who sprayed what near the stuff growing wild in the city). Urbanites with an interest in plant medicine will find the rest of the book most useful—a primer on plant basics like harvesting and storage, the difference between infusions, extractions, tinctures, and more, and recipes and tips on crafting and administering your own creations. (There’s even a small section on home beauty preparations like skin cream.) The latter half of the book is reserved for plant profiles, featuring simple but stunning images, descriptions, and directives for some of the most beneficial herbs you’d want to have on hand. It’s an interesting and inspiring read, and with a ton of captivating photography and a beautiful matte hardcover, it’s ready for a cameo on your coffee table.
The book has piqued my interest in cultivating motherwort, which has been classically used to calm anxiety and strengthen the heart—just what the events of 2020 call for. Tinkering with a motherwort tincture, plus a good dose of white supremacy education and support of black businesses, is my self-prescribed remedy. And don’t forget the hand sanitizer.
Plants For The People: A Modern Guide to Plant Medicine, List price: $29.95
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.