Working out and eating well are musts for good health, but there’s another great way to give your body a boost: herbs. “People have used them medicinally for centuries, and although many cultures still do, we’ve gotten away from it in the last 50 years,” says Karen Page, sales manager at NoLibs’ Penn Herb, a family-run company that’s been building a devout following in Philly (and now, thanks to their website, all over the US), ever since settling into their store at 603 North Second Street in 1940.
Tucked away in their tiny corner store, now located at 2nd and Spring Garden, you’ll find more than 600 wildcrafted herbs, organic and raw honeys, dried fruit and nuts, culinary spices, and more. “Some of the herbs are locally grown and others from U.S. suppliers, but all of them are grown without chemicals and aren’t irradiated after harvest,” says Page, who notes people stop in for everything from ginger root to help with the motion sickness from summer travel to natural, salt-free seasonings they can use on the BBQ.
“We often get people started with herbs by focusing on culinary uses, but you can also use them in tea form, capsules, and essential oils,” says Page. She points out that Samuel Hahnemann — yes, Philly, we have a hospital named after him — was the genius behind the start of homeopathic medicine more than 200 years ago. “But just because they’re natural doesn’t mean they’re not medicine,” cautions Page. Not every herb is for every body, so talk your doctor, naturopath, or read up on any herb before taking it, especially if you’re already taking prescriptions.
603 North Second Street (2nd & Spring Garden), 215-632-6100, pennherb.com