Great Basin Apothecary and Herbal Cooperative

  • 2021-12-19, 09:31 AM (update 2021-12-19, 09:40 AM)
  • Jo Petteruti
Great Basin Apothecary and Herbal Cooperative Jo Petteruti Mandie Koeckes, owner Great Basin Apothecary, picture by Jo

Herbalist Mandie Koeckes has opened her new evidence-based apothecary in Unit K at 1525 West Williams Avenue offering local organic herbs, herbal simples, salves and tinctures, teas, and educational information on a wide variety of topics.

“Herbalism is the people's first medicine, where doctors used a pharmacopoeia of plants and alcohol in certain ratios for healing,” Koeckes explained. An herbal simple is the practice of using one herb at a time for a specific purpose or experience.

The herbs and blends she sells at GBA are “super affordable” because they are purchased wholesale and then sold by weight. “Herbalism needs to be accessible, and high costs get in the way of that. By paying by weight, you can buy enough to make your own functional tea blend or tell me what you want, and we can make one together.” Herbs are sold in one-quart reusable mason jars with airtight lids made from bamboo which are anti-microbial and made by a company in Las Vegas.

One of her favorite herbs is Oregon Grape Root because “It is a stand-in for at-risk and overharvested herbs like Goldenseal. It is also anti-viral and grows wild all over Oregon. It's incredibly beneficial for liver support and is great for infusing salves that can be used for fighting bacteria. And it's Oregon's state flower.”

She emphasized that she is not a doctor, nor does she do any diagnosing. She is just a resource of information about the herbs themselves. She is also planning to hold workshops to teach people how to make their own healing salves and carry everything needed to create them.

“My efforts go toward making all of these herbs more understandable for people that don't know too much about them. To explain the herbs in ways that empower people to use them themselves.” She carries posters showing what herbs are in season and when the best time is to harvest them responsibly. “Poison Hemlock grows along the rivers and people need to know how to avoid it. Everything in here is cultivated, and our customers are not at risk of taking something that is not what they think it is.” She also does not support areas that overharvest their products. She is concerned about who cultivates the herbs she carries, and how they are cultivated. The herbs must be clean and GMP-certified (good manufacturing practices, an FDA requirement).

She works with Stacy Fisk of Fisk Farm Herbs, and Jaime Sammons of Two Ravens Farm, and said “They have supported my business in its backstages for the past couple of years. I carry Jaime's artwork in the shop and Stacy's herbs in the jars.”

In addition to her focus on supporting locals and carrying things not found elsewhere in town or online, reusable and no waste packaging are priorities in her shop. Many of the products she offers are zero-waste which “encourages people to use more biodegradably-made products.” The shop offers many items made from bamboo and other naturally anti-microbial items, rather than plastic. The zero-waste packaging even dissolves completely under water.

“I started out as what I would call a farm-share herbalist to address some medical issues that I was having back then and have been able to correct some of those issues through herbalism. Many treatments today only address symptoms, they don't ever correct the root cause of the issue.”

“Making information available makes it easier to have certain conversations, especially the difficult ones. There isn't a space like this in town that provides what we do. There are a few in Reno, but dang it, we're not in Reno. We need cool spaces that welcome everybody too.”

“I do great in sales and marketing when I believe in my products. This started in my house six years ago. My interest began as a way to address fertility, hormone imbalances, and trauma. I was able to prove that I could be strong if I stuck to my mission. Opening this store has been a delayed gratification for me. I spent years, literally laying out everything I would need to build this business because I'm a compliance nut. Then you just trust that you're doing something that will help someone.”



Jo Petteruti



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