Wander around downtown Tucson and you’ll find yourself in an Oasis of creative energy surrounded by the beauty of the Sonoran desert. 4th avenue offers the coolest looking Goodwill I’ve ever seen, a plethora of boutiques, a food Co-Op, and, of course, the gem to whom this post is dedicated, Tucson Herb Store.
From the sidewalk (click here for the map) of 4th Ave the signs call experienced herbalists and curious novitiate alike, and the shady arbor between the front gate and the front door serves up excited anticipation with pots of native plants like Yerba Mansa greeting the herbal pilgrim.
Through the red door you’re welcomed by the charm of mismatched jars filled with dry herbs, house-made formulas, essential oils, flower essences, and a big beautiful basket full of smudge wands. The shop owner Amanda runs a private clinic just beyond the shop’s walls and they offer workshops and lessons as well. I signed up on the mailing list to see what might call me back to the Catalina Foothills, sooner rather than later, I hope.
The collection of books, stickers, and other gifts things was well rounded and I found my eyes drawn to every shelf and corner of this tiny shop. Drying herbs hung from branch-bough rafters and along with the friends with whom I ventured downtown, I was mightily inspired.
I have to say that I liked everything about it, but I can’t deny it – the giant basket of sage wands made the biggest impression. Hanging over it was a sign describing the current state of ever popular White Sage, and regrettably the status is not positive. Due to over harvesting (and in my opinion, over USE) White Sage is at risk of population damage. I don’t see a lot of businesses advertising this because every new age – hippified – alternative living soul I know, MYSELF INCLUDED, is crazy about this plant.
But the Tucson Herb Store advocates some other plants to use and tips for responsibly use, minimizing waste and maximizing the lifespan of products made with White Sage – including Sage Wands. It reminded me of my passion for activism and that there are limitless opportunities to engage with others about changes that need to be made.
Whenever I visit a shop and get filled up with good vibes, either from the product or the staff or whatever the case may be, I have to support them with money. My heart hurts on the regular over the slowly dying retail industry, in no small part due the explosive growth of Amazon – which is likely to kill off every other online retailer as well if we don’t start a hardcore initiative against the company. I know that’s some inflammatory language but it’s the truth and I feel passionately about it.
It’s important to me that shops like the Tucson Herb Store get fed so that they can stay alive. There is absolutely no replacement for the connection we humans feel with other humans in a space that resonates with everyone there. When the product is actually good for you and the Earth and society as a whole. When you can refuel your soul as well as your body, at the same time.
So yea. What I was trying to say is that it’s crucial that we support brick and mortar retailers with our money. My haul included a sleep formula far different from anything I’d have put together, which made me stoked to try it out, an herbal smoking blend that I think is probably going to have a pretty interesting impact on my dream state and the Kundalini energy trying to move up my spine these days, and a couple of badass stickers.
I hope you find yourself down in the desert sometime – you don’t want to miss this cozy little treasure trove of herbal goodness.