The Story of Apothecary

The Story of Apothecary

Published by Marissa Masterson on Feb 19th 2022

What is an Apothecary?

The aromatic waft of spices and herbs may be the first clue that you've walked into the world of an apothecary.... The numerous jars brimming with dried flowers, ground roots, and berries... The oils glistening under the warmth of glass-filtered solar rays... the mortar & pestle, the sheer earthly abundance and the sensory awakening. 

The archaic word "Apothecary" refers to a profession or medical professional who formulates and dispenses medicine or herbs. But it also refers to the wonderous place or shop in which the professional sells the healing compounds. Not quite a thing of the past, but certainly not conventional by today's standards, a doctor’s prescription was not required for any drugs until the 1930's. Patients described symptoms directly to the apothecary, who determined treatment, rather than going to the doctor. Apothecary shops served ingredients and prepared medicines wholesale to other medical practitioners, as well as dispensing them directly to patients. 

History of Apothecary and Women in Medicine

Dating back to 2600 BC, in ancient Babylon, we find the earliest records of the practice of the apothecary. Medical texts recording symptoms, prescriptions, and the directions for compounding have been found in clay tablets from this era. 

In the 17th century, Women were an integral part of running a family apothecary, yet they were not recognized in the profession like men were. Widows of apothecaries however, were able to enter the apothecary profession by taking over their husbands’ businesses. And despite their denial of the professional title, women were expected to know how to make home remedies by learning basic techniques. They followed old traditions of making medicines, treating their extended families. Poor women often sold herbs and medicines to support their families while some women even kept medicinal gardens, growing plants for their own use. More wealthy households provided medical assistance to people on their estates; some even had separate stillrooms in which women prepared plant distillates.

Jumping ahead to eighteenth-century medicine. In this era, medicine was based on empirical observations and reason - what I would call Intuition, something I personally place a great value on. The sciences had not made significant impacts on the theories of disease through biology and chemistry at this point. Diseases were classified by their symptoms, not their causes - a very different approach from the holistic practitioners of today. Eighteenth-century apothecaries learned to diagnose medical conditions and compound medications through an apprenticeship and therefore practiced as doctors. 

The Hands of women have always been the first source of healing. Midwifery, medicinal preparation, healing through food and beyond. Women in the home are turned to first, yet lowest in the doctoral hierarchy. We are the caregivers, the nurturers, the nourishers and the healers. 

Our Apothecary Philosophy

Enriching myself through plants has been an intuitive journey more meaningful to me than any of my other studies or professions. Though I've never considered myself a healer, my intuition, observations, reason, nose and research has transformed me into a true a "Apothecary". It started with topical skin preparations for women, and has metamorphosized into a professional Apothecary for healers. I lack the articulation to teach my skill, but I can share my skill through the plants themselves, in the form of a collection of ingredients. I believe the rich tradition of women in healing herbalism is an intrinsic trait within us all. Holistic Skin Healers can do more than apply the products using their magic touch and skin wisdom, they have the power and knowledge to prepare the products. When we have a well-formulated apothecary collection of ingredients and compounds, we can truly address our client's needs on a deeper level. 

Our Entire Apothecary Collection

The conventional way of esthetics is to apply pre-made products to skin. I know I'm simplifying, but stay with me. The holistic way of esthetics is to thoughtfully craft your products on the spot, after carefully listening to your client's voice and skin. While there are many beautiful brands and hundreds of products to choose from, there's nothing as personal and healing as a freshly prepared medicinal treatment in combination with your loving hands.

We provide professionals, a wide range of expertly formulated ingredient blends. Our ingredients are plant-based or bee-based, certified organic or wild harvested, artisan, small batch, somewhat local, carefully selected for their benefit, and thoughtfully blended for results. When I say results, I mean these ingredients support skin's ability to heal itself. We offer unique proprietary signature blends, unavailable anywhere else. We don't use synthetic ingredients or fragrance, no artificial preservatives, no glycerin, no alcohol, no low-benefit ingredients or fillers. We run on solar, we use artisian well water, we grow some of our ingredients, we are Deep Green.

What you can expect in your apothecary collection is 52 items: Infused Carrier Oils, Powdered Bases, Honey Bases, Honey Enhancement Elixirs, Enhancement Powders, Whole Herbs, and House-distilled Artisan Hydrosols from local plants. These are Jarred and Bottled in beautiful and convenient packaging to adorn your studio shelves, turning your space into a breathtaking mini apothecary. 

But there's more... We provide an Apothecary Handbook, with full details and intention of each ingredient, formulation tips, and cheat sheets. We provide education from our experienced Holistic Esthetics partner, Shannon Anderson of Glow Skin Care. We provide a judgement-free community space on facebook for you to chat with our other estheticians and voice your thoughts. We love and appreciate our community of over 50 estheticians who are on their apothecary journey.

You have access to unique gua sha tools, ready made products for backbar, retail opportunities, bowls, brushes and spoons. All of this is to elevate your practice as a healer and simplify your work. All of this is to recognize you as the true female healer you are.

Can't wait to work with you, 


Founder, Wilder North Botanicals


For more information about the Wilder North Professional Apothecary and Wholesale Opportunities:

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