We sat down (virtually) with Nadine Vieira-Rosario to talk all things herbs, roots, storytelling and finding your herbal start. Nadine will be teaching Herbalism 101: Herbs for Mental Health on our new virtual platform!
Nadine! Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’m one out of 5, three older sisters and one younger. I am definitely the weirdo out of the Sisters Rosario. Kudos to my dad for being in a house full of wild female energy. My parents migrated from Portugal and Cape Verde and settled in Boston. My time growing up was split between living in Boston and Lisbon until I moved to NYC in 2006.
How did you first become interested in herbal medicine?
My Vovo ( Portuguese for Grandmother) on my father’s side owned land behind her home in Alges, which is an area of Lisbon. At a young age she could tell I was very enthusiastic about getting knee-deep in the dirt and having grass and twigs stuck in my hair; she would call me “passarinho,” which means little bird. I don’t have much recollection of this but when she needed me to climb something or grab out weeds or get in the dirt– no questions asked. One memory I do have is my dad helping her cut lemongrass because there were cobras in the fields where she lived. They both would just call it tea. I had no idea what it was until I drank lemongrass iced tea in high school and had a moment where I was like “OH CRAP this is what Vovo grew!” I do think at this point of my life those are some of my earliest memories with her, the weekends I’d spend at her house knowing I could get as filthy in the dirt as I wanted to and she would send me home squeaky clean by the end of it– my mom would never know I was running around the fields. It was our little secret.
What’s your herbalist journey looked like? How did you first come to working with The Alchemist’s Kitchen?
In high-school I briefly worked at The Harvest Food Co-Op, in Cambridge MA. I moved to New York in June 2006. I started working at the 4th st Co-op that summer, and with what I was learning there, I decided to look into herb schools. I moved to Asheville in 2008 and went to herb school, then moved back to Boston. Even though herbs have always been my passion, at 21 I didn’t really know how to make it a life-long commitment. Herbalism continued to be a big part of my home life. Over the years I put more focus on artistic endeavors: playing music, touring with bands, travel, drawing up until some years ago I revisited this piece of myself that through the hustle and bustle of running around I lost touch with.
I actually started at TAK when I went in looking for a a specific product during my Saturn return in 2018. I was told that was sold there by one of people working at Radicle in Downtown Brooklyn which I frequented at the time, since it was a few stops of the train from me. I hit it off with Jenn, talking about this specific brand Sister Spinster. the next day I was like “wait a minute maybe this is a sign?” I later brought in my herbalist statement, birth chart, and resume and voila! Hehe..
Who are your favorite herbal allies right now and why!
My favorite Herbal allies at the moment I would say are:
- 69 herbs
- Good Fight Herb Company
- Nature Freak herbs
- Olamina Botanicals
All these herbalists are amazing and all their formulations are unique blends that not only honor the classic priniciples of herbal medicine but also have their own piece of self in them. I love these formulations not only because they assist the emotional body, reflecting on the times and obstacles struggles we face, but also because they heal the physical body. I will forever give my hat of to the masters: My Vovo, Rosemary Gladstar, Karen Rose, Lata Chettri Kennedy, 7 song, David Winston and so many others whose writings and practices I’ve followed since high school. What I intend to do as well as what these beautiful creatures listed above is cut out and make space for us to have a seat at the table. We are the underdogs, the marginalised in our day to day: We are the new breed herbalists and the next wave of healers.
What’s some advice you would give to people who want to learn more about herbalism?
Start within yourself! Your ancestry, your community, your state, your country. Find out what is accessible to you bio-regionally! The world of herbs is so vast, and like anything it can seem like too many downloads to have at once, or too much information to process. For me, I found herbalism as a radical way to heal. That being said, I feel like alternative medicine calls for alternative ways of thinking. I was able to practice letting go of old belief systems to make room for new ways of thinking within myself and the world through herbs.
What are yourSun/Rising/Moon Signs :)?
Oh do I love this! I am a grand trine of earth lol Capricorn/ Virgo/ Virgo shout out to all the earth sign babies. Jupiter in Capricorn 2020, let’s do this ! ^__^