From the founding of this country right up until the turn of the 21st century, apothecaries were America’s pharmacies. Some were chain stores, others were operated by grocers or liquor distributors, and most were cornerstones of their towns, often lavishly decorated with marble countertops, ornate wood furnishings, and shelves filled with gold-leaf-labeled bottles.
Now, as traditional self-care and housekeeping practices become more mainstream, the apothecary is becoming relevant once again—and popping up across Colorado. These modern boutiques are strikingly similar to their predecessors—welcoming spaces stocked top to bottom with tinctures and teas, soaps and lotions, and endless herbal blends. Original solutions for countless ailments, from aches and anxiety to colic and the common cold, are still hand-mixed and personalized, and most items are available for immediate sampling, a perk no online shop can offer. Here, we take a tour of five apothecaries that span the Front Range, from Fort Collins to the Springs.
Golden Poppy Herbal Apothecary & Clinic, Fort Collins
Known for small-batch, signature herbal blends and tinctures, this downtown Fort Collins shop is loaded with bulk herbs, essential oils and aromatherapies, herbal tinctures, elixirs, body care items, books, candles, and more. Overwhelmed? Certified herbalists and aromatherapists are on staff and ready to provide herbal and nutritional consultations, or original blends just for you. Plus, the shop hosts community classes on everything from kombucha-brewing to herbal allergy treatments. 223 N. College Ave., Fort Collins, 970-682-4373
Rebecca’s Herbal Apothecary & Supply, Boulder
Located 100 feet from Hotel Boulderado, this thoughtful botanical supplier is a vital part of the local herbal movement. Founded in 2004 by Rebecca Luna with environmentalism and sustainability as guiding principles, the shop offers everything you need to use or create botanical medicines, all made on site in small batches, using whole botanicals. Browse bulk ingredients, herbal sundries, teas, an array of premade and customizable face mists (perfect for Colorado’s dry winter months), and more than 100 herbal and tree scents to mix into self- and home-care products (try local pinyon pine in a room-freshening spray). Don’t miss: a great book section filled with plenty of inspiration. 1227 Spruce St., Boulder, 303-443-8878
Apothecary Tinctura, Denver
One of the longest-operating apothecaries in the Mile High City, this 6th Avenue staple—founded in 1997—maintains the city’s largest inventory of herbal remedies, including organic bulk herbs and teas, essential oils, flower essences, aromatherapy, tinctures, natural skin care, books, and gifts for body, mind, and soul. Holistic treatments are also offered onsite, from massage therapy to reiki and acupuncture. Bonus: On warm, sunny days, even in winter, shop the sidewalk outside the store for botanicals that’ll enliven your home and spirit. 2900 E. 6th Ave., 303-399-1175
Zero Market, Aurora
As its name suggests, this small-but-mighty apothecary is devoted to helping its customers live well while generating less waste, and offers countless packaging-free items for home and health, from household cleaners to natural cosmetics and toiletries. (The shop is ideally located on the first floor of the Stanley Marketplace, so it’s easy to schlep your reusable bottles and bags to and from the car.) One wall is lined with reusable bottles and kitchen accessories; other shelves display premade shampoos, soaps, lotions, and bulk dried herbs; and the space behind the counter is dedicated to concocting personalized lotions, tonics, oils, and shave creams. Don’t miss the premade oil rollers that dispense tinctures to treat everything from headaches to crow’s feet. For the perfect (and gorgeous) gift, ask a staff member to help you fill a glass jar with layers of Himalayan pink, white Epsom, and volcanic black bath salts. Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas St., Aurora, 720-282-3489
Roots Apothecary, Colorado Springs
This herbal mecca has one of the largest tincture selections in the state. Look for pre-bottled botanical blends for energy, sleep, anxiety, or an immune boost; an ashwagandha tincture for mood and energy support and adrenal balance; and a reishi mushroom tincture for optimal liver function, detoxification, and immune support. For the tastiest delivery method, try Roots’ Adaptive Cacao, which blends antioxidant-rich cacao with mushroom extracts and more into a daily superfood drink. Or, check out the specialty coffees from Wellmind Coffee Co. that pair caffeine with herbs to promote alpha brainwave frequency (think: improved focus, mood, energy, productivity, and all-around wellness in a cup). 1710 Briargate Blvd., Suite 813, Colorado Springs, 719-373-1889