ISSUE 10  |  Mr. McGregor's Garden

Shopper’s Diary: Portland Apothecary

March 14, 2014 4:00 PM

BY Jess Chamberlain

Do you love the concept of herbal medicine but find yourself paralyzed in the Whole Foods wellness department trying to make sense of all the options? Maybe you even have a collection in your medicine cabinet of “Natural This” and “Certified Organic Supplement That.” Me too. Until I found Portland Apothecary.

Photographs by Elie Barausky and Micah Fischer.


Above: Portland Apothecary is an online shop based in Oregon that sells such products as Cardamom and Fennel Digestive Bitters ($15), Spruce and Blood Orange Soap ($9), and an herbal blend of Nourish Tea ($15).

In addition to individual products, the apothecary also sells seasonal collections of wellness products. Based on the model of Community Supported Agriculture (remember those CSA boxes of seasonal produce that arrive weekly on your doorstep?), the apothecary sells Community Supported Herbalism (CSH) collections that co-owners Elie Barausky and Kristen Dilley choose for you. 

How do they choose the items in the seasonal collections? Loosely following the lead of traditional Chinese medicine–in which every season has an association with a specific body system–Barausky (educated in native plant herbalism) and Dilley (a licensed acupuncturist) offer small batch, handmade medicinals that promote preventative “seasonal healthcare.” 

Spring is associated with the liver and gallbladder organs, tendons, the color green, the wind, sour tastes, and the emotion of anger, so the Spring Share ($140) includes remedies to help the body stay healthy and strong throughout this period. The spring share includes items such as a Hawthorne, Peony and Rose Elixir (to promote a calm heart and steady mind); Nourish Tea filled with mineral-dense herbs such as nettle, red clover and oat tops; and Grapefruit and Geranium Cleansing Salt Scrub (to renew, circulate, and uplift). 

Above: Elie blends and measures Nourish Tea, her favorite daily tonic.

Above: Kristen labels and prepares ritual misters, which will be filled with a blend of steam-distilled essential oils and flower essences. “We love aromatherapy and find these remedies an easy way to fill our days with intention and magic,” says Elie.

Above: Elie and Kristen in their light-filled Portland Apothecary studio. They keep a large collection of herb and gardening books nearby for research and inspiration.

Above: All Portland Apothecary soap is cold-processed and made with calendula-infused olive oil and healing botanicals like bamboo charcoal (to detoxify) and kelp (to moisturize). Each batch cures for more than a month to ensure a mild soap suitable for all skin types.

Planning a trip to Portland? Browse the posts in Remodelista’s Portland City Guide.

Inspired to start a new skin care regimen? See our Health & Beauty posts.