Meet the Local Sisters Behind Philly’s Herbal Shop, Dope Botanicals

Sadye Matula

Q&A Nakia and Taahirah Stith share their journey of opening urban plant-primarily based apothecary Dope Botanicals. Get wellness ideas, exercise routine trends, balanced having, and more shipped suitable to your inbox with our Be Properly e-newsletter. Dope Botanicals founders Nakia and Taahirah Stith. / Photograph by Ron Hill Media Like […]


Nakia and Taahirah Stith share their journey of opening urban plant-primarily based apothecary Dope Botanicals.

Dope Botanicals founders Nakia and Taahirah Stith. / Photograph by Ron Hill Media

Like quite a few other age-previous techniques, herbalism — or making use of organic and natural and/or ethically foraged vegetation to handle ailments and increase in general wellness — has knowledgeable a modern-day renaissance due to the pandemic. It has been in particular common below in Philly thanks to a escalating amount of plant-centric businesses and workshop organizers.

Contributing to the scene is Dope Botanicals, an organic shop that opened in Rittenhouse about two months in the past. Established by Philly natives and sisters Nakia and Taahirah Stith, the a‘plant’ecary (a.k.a. an apothecary total of plant-centered therapies) is dwelling to hand-blended natural solutions like lattes, smoothies, tonics, teas and tinctures.

We chatted with the Stith sisters to come across out how they received into natural medication, what sets Dope Botanicals apart, and what they hope to lead to Philly’s wellness scene.

What led you equally to get started practicing herbalism?
Nakia: I really do not know when we’ve not been into herbal medication. In advance of Taahirah was born (we’re 13 yrs aside), our dad came household a single day and mentioned we ended up likely to overhaul our having — herbs performed a massive function in that change. I was about 10 yrs old at the time. So when Taahirah arrived together, she did not have any transition like I did plant-based was just how our spouse and children ate.

Was there a explanation your father rather substantially uprooted your diet plan?
Nakia: Our dad and mom were youthful parents, increasing me (and afterwards, Taahirah and our brother) at a time when folks experienced a frame of mind of “do for self” and “do for group.” In get to do all those points, you have to have a healthful brain and overall body, and I think our father was mastering that we could be strengthening our total well being by means of greater use. Moreover, our dad was an entrepreneur — he produced his possess protection company. Getting us go plant-based mostly was a big component of his creating solid roots in activism, local community empowerment, and being self-starters.

Dope Botanicals’ product line. / Photograph by Ron Hill Media

How did that manifest for you as you grew up?
Taahirah: Going to university in the Philadelphia college program with alfalfa sprouts on your sandwich wasn’t actually the point other young children my age had been carrying out. [Laughs]

Nakia: Yeah, we had been constantly a bit distinct, but we owned it. As time went on, we became acknowledged in our neighborhood for our plant-dependent meals and juices. We even started off selling our creations at a Bikram yoga studio in West Philly a handful of several years in the past, which turned a hit to the point we experienced a next. Men and women ended up texting us on a weekly foundation inquiring for our foodstuff.

Taahirah: We became overall health coaches quickly after mainly because of the neighborhood demand. We desired to be formally trained before supplying out information to other folks, in particular as we realized folks required extra than just healthy meals.

What did they have to have?
Nakia: When we’d speak with men and women, we comprehended that they weren’t just fascinated in eating far better. They desired to improve other parts of their life, like sleep, intestine health and menstruation cycles. It dawned on us that there’s a disconnect between eating and total health, and that wellness is about far more than just meals — it is about use. (You can be a sloppy vegan!) There are everyday stressors concerned with dwelling in a metropolis setting that can straight impression your wellness. So we commenced asking ourselves issues like, “What is holistic wellness?” and “What does it necessarily mean to be whole?” Self-treatment is a major movement everyone’s speaking about, but self-care is an actionable merchandise. There are issues that we have to do in purchase to feel much better — and not just drink a environmentally friendly smoothie.

I was in Reiki healing training at the time, and decided to also go into an natural method. Herbs ended up this sort of a large element of our life, and we realized firsthand they had big gains to wellness. We ultimately released Beans + Brains — our company for building foods and juices, and giving wellness coaching — all over 2016.

The interior of Dope Botanicals. / Photograph by Cory J. Popp

It seems like you grew to become natural (no pun supposed) leaders for plant-primarily based wellness. Is that what drew you to opening a storefront?
Taahirah: The idea of owning our individual shop started off to germinate from launching Beans + Brains. We were looking for a space for about five several years, but could not quite come across the proper site for us. Furthermore, we believed that persons would assume we were a coffee shop if we named our store Beans + Brains. We have been brainstorming strategies and I said, “Well, we make dope botanicals …” and it just designed feeling to have that be our DBA.

Nakia: We preferred a brick-and-mortar, way too, due to the fact there are not several organic wellness retailers in Philly. This town has a extended tradition of juice bars, which is alright! But we desired to broaden Philly’s mentality and recognition with a plant apothecary (what we contact an a‘plant’ecary) — a interesting herb store you can go to where by anyone can support you ease what’s bothering you, you can get a seriously good beverage, and you experience like you want to continue to be there. We understood we had the possibility to develop a thing new and specific using our backgrounds that felt like an extension of town lifestyle, relatively than some thing that feels out of put in the nitty gritty. When you arrive in, you may possibly listen to some WuTang with your wellness!

Exactly where do you get the herbs from?
Nakia: All of our herbs are possibly in a liquid form, powder type, or slash kind (aka natural teas or factors you are heading to use for infusions). We’ve been functioning with farms everywhere from Vermont to Washington state. We also attempt to acquire herbs from their site of origin, and every little thing we use is accredited organic or wild-crafted, that means that someone responsibly picked them. Locally, we hope to perform with a farm in Doylestown shortly. And with any luck , we’ll ultimately have our individual farm!

Taahirah: We also don’t rush any method. We make most of our creations in the back and allow the herbs do their matter for as very long as they require. Also, all the tinctures, syrups, smoothies, teas and elixirs we formulate, strain, mix, label and offer, we’ve been in contact with. Almost nothing bypasses us.

The natural wall at Dope Botanicals. / Photograph by Ron Hill Media

What can a buyer anticipate when they pay a visit to Dope Botanicals?
Taahirah: If a person comes in with an acute or serious issue, we’ll have them go by way of an natural session with us so we can generate options that do the job for their specific desires. It is a far more holistic method in that circumstance. We also have custom made herb blends and teas at our herbal bar. I’ll ask you, “How would you like to experience?” because a whole lot of persons aren’t acquainted with what herbs help with selected conditions. Someone could just say they want to experience great, and I’ll make you our “Happy Pill” adaptogenic latte. It is made up of shatavari, mucuna and ashwagandha. Shatavari is an Ayurvedic herb that supports wholesome hormone degrees, enhances vigor, vitality, and relieves nervousness. Mucuna is a normal resource of the amino acid L-Dopa, which is the precursor to dopamine, the neurotransmitter that ignites pleasure, bliss and joy. And ashwagandha can decrease cortisol concentrations, improve cognition, decrease stress and stabilize temper. You actually will sense good right after sipping it!

Nakia: Other important things about us: We do not use coffee, provide CBD or make it possible for substitutions. We realized with the herbal bar, we did not want it to become a smoothie put or a coffee bar the place individuals are including or getting rid of elements. Which is new to some folks, and it is just a discovering encounter. The concept is that “No, you can not include Spirulina to that smoothie!”

Sisters Nakia and Taahirah Stith with their natural therapies. / Photograph by Ron Hill Media.

Why is that? I’m a beginner at this.
Nakia: A great deal of instances, persons come into the shop and have no idea where to start out or how to use our items. And it’s so wonderful to listen to buyers say they rely on us in helping make them feel superior. They know we’re not carrying out “kitchen-sink” herbalism blended with trash ingredients. Almost everything we make is intentional and formulated with a objective. It is why one of the maximum compliments folks give us when they appear in the shop is stating that our vibe is nonjudgmental and that they come to feel welcome, even if they are completely new to herbs.

Taahirah: It also goes back again to the thought that you can not tackle just about every issue with a single smoothie. Incorporating in everything isn’t heading to correct or recover you. It’s an possibility to slow down and contemplate what you genuinely have to have. Wellness is a approach, not a cleanse or a to-do-record job.

How is your tactic to self-treatment and wellness different to how they are usually talked about?
Taahirah: We strategy these items — together with herbalism — from the standpoint of men and women residing in a city natural environment and who have significant stages of strain. That’s how and where by we grew up, and which is how and the place we stay now. We don’t have a desert/boho/“Let’s just chill out in the grass” aesthetic — that is not the life style in Philly. Below, you just can’t just use escapism to make on your own very well. Rather, self-care in an urban location looks like mitigating stressors. For instance, a Philadelphian may well come to feel tired for the reason that their rest was disrupted from encountering a bunch of sounds air pollution throughout the night time. To come to feel greater in that situation, they have to establish what they need to soothe their anxious process so (1) they’re not wired and (2) the chaos outside isn’t influencing their insides. We have the attitude that if you want actual wellness benefits, you have to get into account what your life essentially appears like on a day-to-working day foundation and tailor your intake appropriately.

Dope Botanicals is located at 257 South 20th Road in Rittenhouse.

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