Restoring health the natural way
The words apothecary shop might bring thoughts of a dim room filled with herbs, hanging to dry, potions, tinctures in small vials, mortars and pestles filled with creams and dried plants, and hand-rolled pills, all overseen by someone who dispensed medications and sage advice.
It might have been a woman. The trade was one of the few medieval guilds open to them.
Crow Point Herbal Apothecary, downstairs and around the back from Crow Point Yoga at 24 West St. in Boothbay Harbor, still has the medications and medical advice, but the environment is clean and modern – about as far from the medieval guild shop as one can get. Its three wise women, Sharon Goldhirsch and Heather Casey, who also work in the spa upstairs, and Ashlea Tibbetts, who focuses on making the products, decided to start a line of herbal infusions, teas and tinctures, hand and body creams and lotions, bath products, soaps, candles and herbal medicinal ointments to treat massage clients and others in the upstairs practice. They also offer a vaping pen for some conditions. They looked at products on the market, found none they liked, and decided to create their own line.
Some of the products contain CBD, or cannabidiol, which is a naturally occurring cannabinoid constituent of cannabis, the Latin name for marijuana. Unlike THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, CBD does not produce a high, Casey said. The women said it relieves numerous physical and mental conditions, as varied as allergies, pain, anxiety, including post traumatic stress disorder, discomfort from Lyme disease, sore throat and stuffy chest, and other winter ailments. Combined with body butters, lotions, olive and essential oils, and other herbal remedies, the conditions they expect can be treated successfully will grow over time.
The CBD extract is worked into small batches of bases, along with the recipe of other essential oils and infusions, to make topical products and tinctures to tak internally. Making things in small batches is important, because she wants to make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed and no errors are made. “Quality is the most important thing,” she said. “Smaller batches means that the batch is uniform.” She said she never makes more than a double batch. Tibbetts also designed the containers and website.
The kitchen where Tibbetts works is commercially licensed, but there were no other requirements, Goldhirsch said. If Crow Point were dealing with THC as medicinal marijuana, the rules would be a lot stricter, she said. Some conditions, like cancer, require THC, said Casey. She is a medical marijuana caregiver as well, and said some diseases, such as cancers and childhood seizure diseases, require the more powerful THC mixture, but she does not expect Crow Point to work with THC. “CBD is more preventative,” she said. “The conditions it’s good for are not as serious as the ones medical marijuana is used for.”
Crow Point will be unveiling more products on its website in the next few weeks,including more CBD products, Goldhirsch said. Right now, customers can call in an order or stop in.
Goldhirsch said Crow Point works with a distributor who has 80 stores, though not all of their products are in every store.
The type of extract used depends on how it will be used. A full-spectrum CBD extract is used for anything internal, while parts of the plant, called isolettes, might be used for topical products, Casey said. She said all packaging is made in the U.S., and everything the company produces is recyclable.
Some of the products have no CBD in them; hand lotions, bath products, soaps, and other items are often made with a variety of essential oils and infusions. Candles are made with cocoa wax, whose sourcing can be guaranteed GMO-free, as opposed to soy candles, which may contain GMO soy products, Goldhirsch said. There are currently three scents of candle – patchouli, Maine Coast, and Winter Woods, and two scents of sugar scrubs, a body polish with lavender and vanilla, and “Working Hands," a sugar scrub with lemongrass, peppermint, fir and lavender. Goldhirsch said it moisturizes the skin as it cleans.
Regular retail hours are 8:15 a.m. to noon, Wednesday through Friday. The business will hold a tent sale Aug. 11 from 7:30 a.m. until 3 p.m, offering deep discounts on many products.