Director of Herbal Science and Research
Erin Smith is a clinical herbalist and ethnobotanist and has been working with medicinal plants for over 30 years. She is the Director of Herbal Science and Research here at Banyan Botanicals.
As a passionate educator, she has taught internationally on herbal medicine, ethnobotany, and the human/nature relationship for over fifteen years, and was the Founding Director of the Center for Integrative Botanical Studies. Erin has spent more than twelve years living and working abroad in over twenty countries.
When not at work, Erin enjoys cycling, hiking, traveling, and all-around adventuring with her daughter.
Experience and Education
Bringing together her passion for plants and cultures, Erin received her MSc in Ethnobotany with distinction from the University of Kent in Canterbury, where her thesis focused on women’s knowledge of traditional medicine in Morocco and was a visiting scholar in Medical Anthropology at Oxford University.
For ten years she worked internationally with indigenous and local communities on various issues surrounding traditional medicine, natural resource management, community-based conservation, and traditional knowledge. She was Head Researcher for a joint project with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and Wageningen University in Netherlands on a project that explored livelihoods, female-headed households, and the use of plant resources in Tigray, Ethiopia.
She worked with Global Diversity Foundation, an international NGO focusing on promoting biocultural diversity (including traditional medicinal knowledge and use) through partnership with indigenous and local communities, in the UK and Morocco for more than six years and is the former Managing Director of Global Diversity Foundation–North America.
She was a researcher and project coordinator with Global Initiative for Traditional Systems (GIFTS) of Health with Dr. Gerard Bodeker, which included a project surrounding Islamic health traditions.
Erin’s first foray into the natural product industry was as Chief Science Consultant for The Organic Center and she never looked back, loving how it allowed her to combine her love of traditional herbalism and science. She has worked in the herbal product industry for nearly ten years as a consultant and as the Director of Science and Sustainability for WishGarden Herbs.
Erin is passionate about environmental and social responsibility issues in the herbal and natural product industry and is Co-Chair of the Sustainability Committee for the American Herbal Product Association and an Advisory Board member of the American Botanical Council’s Sustainable Herb Program, as well as a member of the SSC Medicinal Plant Specialist Group of the IUCN.
She enjoys contributing the broader work throughout the industry and is a Board member of the American Herbal Product Association and the American Herbal Production Association’s ERB Foundation, as well as a Botanical Advisor for American Herbal Pharmacopoeia.