Vered Back will rock your world, make you smell delicious, and give you the best skin in the world. And while she’s at it, she might both save and ruin your life all at once.
Formally, she is a master herbalist, aesthetician, and artisanal perfumer and her line, Vered Organic Botanicals, is hand-produced and formulated in New York City. Her mission is to “get to the heart of the matter through the nose… to restore our emotions, and promote a deep sense of well-being for the mind, body, and spirit.”
Her products have been featured in the pages of Vogue (“certified chic”), Nylon, and Daily Candy, among many other publications that rave about Vered’s natural remedies. Her fans include everyone from Dakota Fanning and singer Jihae, to famed yoga teacher Elena Brower who calls Vered’s scents “sublime.”
Since she is originally from Israel, I thought it would be appropriate to meet at Café Mogador on St. Marks Place since, among other things, it has amazing babaganoush. Among other terrifying things, I learned I shouldn’t eat babaganoush because it’s made with mayo, which is full of “cheap oils, raw eggs, and bacteria.” And also because eggplants are “nightshades” and therefore, apparently, not fit for human consumption. Receiving this information was only the beginning of my demise.
Periel Aschenbrand: Go on, then.
Vered Back: During the Gulf War, we didn’t know what kind of attacks to expect—chemical or conventional. If it was going to be chemical, we’d have to wear masks for a very long time and if it’s conventional, wherever it’s going to hit, it’s going to hit. The first missiles landed right outside my house in Ra’anana. I didn’t think anything of it, other than anxiety. But a few months later, I was looking in the mirror, admiring my body—I had a fucking killer body—and I had two more boobs under my arms. My lymph nodes were so swollen. Overnight. Both sides. I was like, what the fuck is that? And I got really, really nauseous. For six months, I couldn’t eat anything. They almost took me to a psych ward.
PA: So what happened?
VB: Nobody knew. Now, two months ago, I went to this doctor in Israel, who checks the body through frequency. Every bacteria has a frequency—everything in the world has a frequency that it works on. The minute the frequency fits this kind of bacteria, you know what you have. And then you know how to treat it. There are so many infections and bacteria and viruses that you can’t detect in blood tests. And then it becomes chronic and then people die and suffer from fibromyalgia and arthritis and all these other things that don’t exist that are actually viral, fungal, or bacterial infections in the body. So many people don’t know about it.
PA: Are you a doctor?
VB: I’m not a doctor and I don’t want to be a doctor, but I have knowledge 100 times better than any doctor. Any conventional doctor. And a lot of other healers.
PA: Because you’re a witch.
VB: Because I’ve been doing research for over 12 years but I’ve been working with herbs since I was 18 and I’m almost 50, so you do the math.
PA: I’m not very good at math but you look great.
PA: People must have thought you were crazy in Israel when you were growing up.
VB: When I was 12, my throat hurt and I refused to take antibiotics and my mom said, “What do you mean, you don’t want to take antibiotics? Everybody takes antibiotics.” And I said “No, there is Golden Seal and there is Echinacea.” And I made her go to this one pharmacy in Tel Aviv and get it for me.
PA: How did you know this at 12 years old?
VB: I don’t know how I knew this. I can’t tell you. It’s information not from this world. My mother said, “You’re crazy,” and I said, “Okay, so I’m crazy.” Two days later it was gone and I never used an antibiotic again…until I got chronic Lyme Disease and almost died.
They didn’t even ask me, they just put it in my IV for eight weeks. It didn’t help. The minute I stopped taking it, all the symptoms came back. Until I went to study herbalism and then I healed myself. I took every anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory herb and made the most amazing concoctions ever. And after 10 years of being sick, almost on my deathbed, I started to feel a shift in my health. I’m 80 percent good but if I eat an unhealthy diet or get stressed for a long period of time, I can go down to 20 percent. So in a weird way, it forces you to live a healthy lifestyle all the time. This is for everyone. But usually people don’t make a change until they are sick, usually it’s cancer, but there are so many diseases that are even worse than cancer, these days. And Lyme Disease is one of them.
PA: So you think that in general antibiotics are terrible?
VB: It’s not that they’re terrible, it’s that they are useless. The kind of bacteria we have is so advanced, so manipulative, so smart, the antibiotics aren’t catching up. And I knew that this day would come because we overused antibiotics. We brought our immune system down and now the bacteria is taking over our bodies so it doesn’t work. So if you give antibiotics to a child, at first it works, but then you are compromising their immune system, because it kills good bacteria too.
PA: It sounds like a nightmare. Let’s talk about Vered Organic Botanicals. You have like a cult following. Can you tell me a little about it? When did you start it?
VB: Eight years ago. Basically, it’s the cleanest ingredients that exist; nature in a bottle. I use organic, therapeutic-grade essential oils. I use the best oils for the best delivery to the skin. There are 15 products and everything is made by me, in New York.
PA: People are obsessed.
VB: I’ll tell you why people are obsessed. Because there is such a high vibration to the oils that I use, they are so clean that I use them internally. It was one of the best modalities to cure my chronic Lyme Disease.
PA: I have no idea what that means. What does that mean?
VB: Beside the obvious reasons—it smells amazing, the texture is amazing, that it really helps maintain beautiful healthy skin—the frequency, remember, we talked about frequency before?
PA: Yes, vividly. I do.
VB: Every flower, every herb, has a frequency. I use the highest frequency of herbs and oils. Let’s take jasmine and rose, for example. If you measure the frequency of it, it has the highest frequency that exists in flowers. If you measure coffee or alcohol, you see how low vibration it is. People think it stimulates you and gives you energy, but it’s all bullshit. It brings you down, it brings you immune system down, makes your system acidic, makes you irritable.
PA: Are you having another Prosecco?
PA: How’s the frequency in Prosecco?
VB: It’s not as high as my rose essential oil.
PA: Hahaha! I’m going to enjoy my coffee…
VB: Listen to me, this is very important. Are you listening to me or is your energy dropping because of the coffee?
PA: I’m listening! And my energy is dropping.
VB: I tell people that before they use my products to inhale them. Why? Because the moleculars of essential oils are so small that they penetrate through the nasal passage into the brain and it works with the limbic system in the brain. The limbic system of the brain is connected to our emotional state. Hello! Shift your mind, shift your energy to a different place. It’s a whole new world to work on depression, anxiety, the health of the mind and the body. Our skin is our biggest organ. You put this on your body, it heals your mind and your body. It picks up your immune system. You use conventional shit, it brings your immune system down. Toxins gets into the muscles and cells after an accumulation of time, and causes cancer of the skin. Take conventional perfume. Where do people spray perfume? At the pulse. So now your bringing toxins directly to your bloodstream, on a daily basis.
PA: Oh great! You’re just going to kill everything for me, aren’t you?
VB: Let me give you all of this information and then you can decide what to do with your life. The product that has the most chemicals in it, that will kill you, pretty fast—not that fast—first you will have to suffer a lot before you die, is conventional perfumes. It has more chemicals than probably cigarettes.
PA: I basically have to throw out everything I own.
VB: If you insist, spray it on your clothes but never ever, ever on your skin! It’s poison in very pretty bottles.
PA: Apparently, so is Prosecco? To that end, what’s your favorite drink?
VB: Every day I drink purified water that I alkalize with lemon and unsweetened pomegranate juice because it’s antibacterial.
PA: How do you eat your eggs?
VB: I don’t eat eggs.
PA: Why not?
VB: Eggs have a lot of bacteria. Mostly on the shell, on the outside, and people who have chronic immune system diseases should not eat eggs—at all.
PA: How do you drink your coffee?
VB: I don’t drink coffee! You didn’t hear me!? Why would I start a day with such a low vibration?
PA: Okay. What’s your favorite Jewish Holiday?
PA: Did you have a bat mitzvah?
PA: What did you wear?
VB: Who the fuck remembers this?
PA: A lot of people. Gefilte fish or lox?
PA: What shampoo do you use?
VB: I make it myself. It’s not for you. You’re not ready.
PA: Clearly the best answer I’ve ever gotten to this question. Next: Five things in your bag right now?
VB: Nux Vomica, which is a homeopathic remedy for nausea, my organic perfume, always, lipstick—what company, you are asking?
PA: I didn’t say a word!
VB: You need to ask! I make it myself! My phone and cash money, always.
PA: Favorite pair of shoes?
VB: Sneakers. I don’t compromise for comfort.
Periel Aschenbrand, a comedian at heart, is the author of On My Kneesand The Only Bush I Trust Is My Own.