Apothecary museums featuring herbal remedies, such as the Stabler-Leadbeater in Alexandria,VA , are near and dear to my herbal heart. I hope you enjoy their apothecary video tour and find it as fascinating as I do.
My father was a pharmacist of 50 years (from 1930’s to 1970’s). Before the advent of over-the-counter commercial products, pharmacists like my father formulated, compounded and dispensed medications often tailored to the individual. You went to the apothecary for everything from cough syrup, drawing salves for splinters, liniments for sprains to mouthwash, toothpaste and deodorants, even for shoe polish or ant control powder.
I first learned about medicinal plants from my father. Before I was even in grade school, my father pointed out lily of the valley and foxglove, applied to heart conditions. We picked peppermint to become a tea for my upset tummy. If I sprained a wrist, it was wrapped with gauze soaked in witch hazel and arnica. When I became sick, I had the advantage of concocted apothecary remedies like vaporing steams, chest rubs, cough syrups, teas and liniments.
I am the apothecary’s daughter. Now, my kitchen is filled with baskets, drying herbs, bottles and jars, macerating tinctures, oils and potions, mortars and pestles and my creations of herbal recipes.