Solo Real Estate welcomes our new tenant, wellness warriors, Dope Botanicals at 257 S. 20th. Here you will find herbal lattes, teas, and tonics, smoothies, and elixirs that will put you on the road to plant-based wellness.
Catch the vibe
“We are curating a vibe here,” said Nakia Stith who launched Dope Botanicals in Rittenhouse Square with her sister Taahirah. “When you walk in, we want you to have a good experience. You can grab a drink and browse our hand-blended herbal products.”
Unlike national herbal and vitamin chains that cater to people seeking weight loss or muscle-building products, Dope Botanicals take a holistic approach. “We want to help people use herbs for everyday nutrition, in addition to medicinal needs,” said Nakia.
“We have created an intimate store that is more welcoming than the usual health shop and less intimidating than a Chinatown apothecary which customers often find confusing and overwhelming. Sometimes the staff in those stores are not well versed in identifying what you need,” she said.
“Everything we stock comes from organic farms and wild-crafters who forage for herbs in the woods,” said Nakia who believes that the number one health issue these days is stress. “It comes from everywhere. What you see on social media or TV. From juggling work and parenting. From the pace of City life. From the economy and the pandemic.”
All in the family
While herbal medicine is currently enjoying a resurgence, it is not new to the Stith sisters. “We grew up in a family where plant-based remedies were valued. I was encouraged to read about herbal medicine by my father from the time I was ten years old,” she said. As a result, people were always asking the sisters how to use herbs to cure their health issues.
For Nakia and Taahirah, turning their healthy lifestyle into a business was a logical progression. “People were always asking us for health advice,” said Nakia who also runs her family’s security and protection agency. Previously, Taahirah was a Montessori teacher who taught plant-based cooking for children. She also taught healthy cooking classes at the Free Library.
“We have both single herbs and herbal formulas that we blend and handcraft to address insomnia, stress, fatigue, and many common issues,” said Nakia. “For insomnia, we have herbs like California poppy, catnip (it’s not just for cats), and more. We also have a blend called Ease that incorporates hops and passionflower. The blend is very relaxing, and many people have had great success with it.”
“For folks who are used to caffeine and want to feel physically energized quickly, we have caffeinated herbs like Guayusa, Yerba Mate, and Matcha all of which have caffeine without the crash.,” she said. “We have a great energizing blend called “3M” that incorporates Matcha, Moringa, and Maca, it is both nutritious and energizing.”
Herbal Medicine History
Herbal medicine has been a respected and trusted tradition for thousands of years. In fact, it is the precursor of the modern-day pharmaceutical industry. The American medicinal herb industry started in 1799 when the Shakers gathered and cultivated 248 varieties of herbs and sold them to physicians worldwide. In 1821, the first pharmacy school in the nation, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, opened here.
If you had entered a Philadelphia pharmacy in the 1950s and asked for something for stomach pain, you would not be handed Tums. The pharmacist would have ground up anise in a mortar and pestle. Now, a renewed interest in alternative medicine, including herbal remedies, is sparking interest again.
Confused by the variety of herbs? Both Nakia and Taahirah are certified health coaches who offer one-on-one advice. “People who are new to herbal medicine can get to know us and our products while enjoying a healthy smoothie,” said Taahirah. This isn’t the kale and strawberry smoothie found all over. It is blended to address your specific health issues.
One of the intriguing drinks, you’ll find on Dope Botanical’s menus is Dark Magic. “It’s a blend of organic cacao and seven mushrooms to enhance memory,” said Nakia.
Besides herbal brews, Dope Botanicals will offer consultations on herbal health, small group classes in plant-based health, and videos.
“We offer a more holistic approach to better health,” said Nakia.