Fragrant incense drifts throughout Tenzing Momo, Seattle's oldest apothecary.

Image: Anne Dennon

The immediate benefit of visiting one of the city’s many apothecaries isn’t necessarily the cure. Plant medicine is both ancient and common, passed down orally like stories. In keeping with that tradition, most of Seattle’s herbalists are as interested in sharing knowledge as they are moving product. Read more about this in "Beyond Remedies, Seattle Apothecaries Cultivate Community" on Shop Talk.

The Cunning Crow

This witchy boutique in Greenwood sells tea and tinctures, porcupine quills and cougar toe bones, Laura Palmer pendants and bath kits spiritually akin to a Lush basket. Most of the goods trend toward healing; Ylva Mara Radziszewski and her crew put a premium on working through trauma. The next-door event space holds workshops that range from divination to tending to the dying. 9024 Greenwood Ave N, Greenwood, 206-782-2978; cunningcrowapothecary.com

SugarPill

A light-drenched apothecary at the Southwest corner of Cal Anderson Park, SugarPill makes it hard to decide if you’re gift-shopping or you-shopping. Peruse cozy treasures for home like cocktail bitters, sea salt, and bundles of crystal, sage, and palo santo, or consult with the herbalist herself at the counter. The antique pharmacist cabinet that stands behind her played a role in the founding of SugarPill: The owner discovered it during a trip to Bangkok, and now fills it with teas and tinctures that can be personalized for whatever ails you. 900 E Pine St, Capitol Hill, 206-322-7455; sugarpillseattle.com

Essential Apothecary Alchemist

This isn’t Kate Poole’s first Seattle apothecary. Her former venture, E. Smith Mercantile, offered home and herbal goods alongside craft cocktails. Now, Poole focuses on “honestly clean beauty” in a tiny Sunset Hill shop packed with tiny bottles. Inside the whimsical, custom packaging, Poole’s signature skin and hair remedies contain pure and powerful ingredients “a hundred percent active on the skin.” But Poole also looks to be a general wellness resource, eager to share the transformative—even alchemical—properties of plants. 6406 32nd Ave NW, Ballard, 206-919-2983; essentialapothecaryshop.com

Dandelion Botanical Company

For bulk dry herbs, a library of wellness books, and a quiet consultation, Dandelion is a superlative apothecary. Giant storefront windows give light to a spacious, blonde-wood space as well as a ceiling-height Norwegian pine. The tree’s long life speaks to the credentials of Dandelion’s ownership on two counts: That they have been open that long, and that they really can make things thrive. 5424 Ballard Ave NW, Ballard, 206-545-8892; dandelionbotanical.com

Tenzing Momo

The granddaddy of Seattle apothecaries. The walls of this ambient den in Pike Place Market hold floor-to-ceiling shelves of herbs and incense, midwifery magazines, and moon cycle calendars. The eclectic vibe—part Marrakesh market, part fortune teller—reflect the shop’s broad specialization in Western, Chinese, and Ayurvedic herbalism. The selection is so vast that other Seattle apothecaries turn to Tenzing Momo when they need an arcane ingredient in a pinch. 93 Pike St, Downtown, 206-623-9837; tenzingmomo.com

The Herbalist

The logo of this family-owned apothecary is a Haida beaver, and its significance is twofold: First as a symbol of the Herbalist’s dedication to place and native plants (a hallmark of plant medicine’s pragmatism—using what you have on hand), and second as an analog for the Ravenna shop's practices. Beavers build multiple entrances and exits, allowing for multiple solutions, and hang aromatics in their dens. The late founder Tierney Salter believed in Plant Spirit Medicine, the symbiosis of plant properties and human ailments, and offered iridology (iris) readings, but according to manager Elthea Farr, “We’ve always had a foot in both worlds.” Vitamins, supplements, and coffee-replacing mushroom powders are on hand, as are self- and Bastyr-taught herbalists happy to discuss planetary herbalism or tarot. 2106 NE 65th St, Ravenna, 206-523-2600; store.theherbalist.com

Rainbow Natural Remedies

A long-standing staple on Capitol Hill, Rainbow Natural Remedies started as Rainbow Grocery, one of the city’s first natural markets. According to co-owner Ross Kling (with wife Patricia), patrons would come in to the store not only to pick up groceries, but to talk to stockers about the products. Sensing a niche, the Klings converted the market into a natural pharmacy with a tradition of employing educated staff. Today, seek recommendations from the knowledgeable herbalists and acupuncturists who tend the storefront, or schedule an appointment with the naturopath in the adjoining clinic. 409 15th Ave E, Capitol Hill, 206-329-8979; rainbownatural.com

Madrona House Apothecary and Healing Arts

Tucked behind Ethan Stowell’s Red Cow on a quaint stretch of 34th Ave, Madrona House sells crystals, herbs, and handmade tinctures, but founder Vanessa Ainslee’s focus is bodywork. “You need a massage more than you need an herb,” she told a man seeking a cure for shoulder pain. An ideal visit to this magical-smelling place might include a private vinyasa class, a therapeutic massage, then a snoop through Ainslee’s curated wares. Just want the snoop? Go on Wednesdays between 3 and 7pm. 1423 34th Ave Unit C, Madrona, 206-403-5706; madronahouseapothecary.com

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