Health

Where to Find Herbal Products and Services in Boston

Feel a cold coming on? The cure for what ails you could be found in your own backyard.


Illustration by Jeannie Phan

Folk healers relied on herbal remedies for centuries—and now the wellness world is rediscovering the power of plants. “I think the reason herbalism has come into the public consciousness in the last decade is because herbs are so accessible; you can smell them, taste them, touch them,” says Emily Kanter, co-owner of Cambridge Naturals. “It’s tied to the organic- and sustainable-food movement. We’re all starting to think more consciously about what we’re putting in our bodies.” Check out these resources for products, services, and sage advice.

So you want to…
Pick Your Own

Herbalist Steph Zabel started her business Flowerfolk Herbs as a way to connect city dwellers to the often overlooked flora growing around them. Join one of her custom plant walks to discover the medicinal and culinary uses for common species that sprout in sidewalk cracks and urban wilds. Once you’ve learned to identify and harvest them, sign up for one of her seasonal classes to better understand how to use the herbs at home.

flowerfolkherbs.com.

So you want to…
Buy in Bulk

Since 1974, Cambridge Naturals has stocked herbal tinctures, teas, capsules, and other products designed for everything from stress relief to immune-system support. But those looking to try their hand at DIY formulas can choose from more than 150 bulk dried herbs or sign up for a seasonal herb CSA from Muddy River Herbals.

23 White St., Cambridge, 617-492-4452, cambridgenaturals.com.

So you want to…
Make Meals That Heal

At Claire Cheney’s Curio Spice Co., you’ll find not only rare spices from around the world, but a great selection of locally harvested herbs. Add organic oregano, known for its antimicrobial properties, to a salad dressing to help fight off a cold, or mix mint into a lamb meatball for better digestion. House-made herbal blends are also available, and Curio’s website offers recipes to help novice cooks use herbs in their daily dishes.

2265 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-945-1888, curiospice.com.

So you want to…
Improve Your Skin

Thanks to today’s focus on clean beauty, a plethora of brands are utilizing healing plants in their formulas. The in-house estheticians at Credo can recommend products for every step of your skincare regimen as well as makeup; try Vapour Organic Beauty’s “Atmosphere” foundation, which features organic ingredients such as tulsi and lotus leaf.

177 Newbury St., Boston, 617-530-1980, credobeauty.com.

So you want to…
Treat Yourself to a Spa Day

Relax with some herbs, and we don’t mean those aflame in a pipe. At Exhale, botanicals in the “Smart Peel” facial help calm irritated skin, reduce age spots, and improve acne, while the Swedish “Fusion” massage uses herbal oil blends to uplift, detox, or relax.

2 Battery Wharf, Boston, 617-603-3100; 28 Arlington St., Boston, 617-532-7000; exhalespa.com.