London Apothecary Comes to Canada
Planet Botanic was originally the brainchild of medical herbalist Douglas Schar*. Douglas and I had been working together in his London, England-based herbal apothecary ‘The Herbalists of Columbia Road’ somewhere around the summer of 1998, when we decided the company needed to be upgraded to modern times. The little herbalist’s apothecary in East London was both a retail outlet for herbal medicines and a professional clinic, and had its old world charm by the boatload, humming along nicely – however, we weren’t attracting the average modern consumer. The bottom line was that we needed to inject some fresh blood into the company, and so it was that Planet Botanic was born. Our mandate became that we promised to provide accurate, well-researched, reliable and trustworthy information on herbal medicines to a fresh market that was obviously confused by the proliferation of health stores that had no idea what they were doing when it came to herbs.
One of the greatest examples of why we saw fit to create Planet Botanic comes from Douglas himself, who while shopping in a US health market, was horrified at what he both saw and experienced. Doug had been trying to help a friend locate a good source of echinacea for home use. On the shelves of this particular shop were at least 7 different brands of echinacea, each with labels showing different ingredients, different dosages and different suggestions on how or what to use it for. Only one brand closely matched the echinacea we had been using in the past. Aside from this puzzle, the clerk had no idea on how to advise or suggest and on top of that, decided to come up with her own ideas on its usage. Luckily Doug was with his friend, or she could have walked out of there with a product she didn’t need, or worse, a product that could have endangered her health. . When a health shop hires a clerk at minimum wage with no certification in herbal medicine practice, you can easily foresee a lawsuit on the horizon.