Clintonville Apothecary Takes a Natural Approach to Healing

Kristen Schmidt

Herbalist Lily Kunning has a lot of fresh lovage on her hands, and she needs to get it into a dehydrator pronto. She plucks leaves that smell and look like celery leaves and gingerly places them in a machine that slowly draws out moisture and renders the lovage ready for medicinal use; it's good for lung ailments, Kunning says. Some of the herb might be used in medicinal tea she blends, and some might be stored in one of many giant glass Mason jars that line one wall of the shop, ready for anyone who wants to concoct his or her own remedies. The labels on those jars read like an encyclopedia of curiosities from a long time ago: Calendula, feverfew, marshmallow, mugwort, comfrey and nettle.

But Boline Apothecary is quite modern in its own way, offering appealing chemical-free remedies for everyday ailments, bath and body products and classes that teach customers how to harness the healing power of herbs. Kunning opened the Clintonville store a few months ago with encouragement from Shawn Fiegelist, whose City Folk's Farm Shop homesteading store is adjacent to Boline. The two businesses are a natural pair. "I couldn't ask for a better neighbor," Kunning says. "We support each other."

Boline has walls painted a bright and cheery green and shelves neatly lined with herbal remedies for colds, allergies, headaches, stress, menopause and more. If the Boline label is on a product, Kunning made it, including whipped rose-scented moisturizing cream and jars of homemade toothpaste.

Though she's leading 13 students through an 18-month Western herbalism intensive, other Boline classes appeal to a broader audience. So far, she's taught classes on natural baby care, natural home care, tea blending, aromatherapy candle-making and even digestive and cocktail bitters.

Kunning trained as an herbalist in her native Berkeley, California, and moved to Columbus three years ago. In the time since, she's sold her creations online and at farmers markets, while building relationships with farmers and other natural-health counterparts, including Fiegelist. "Ohio wasn't on my list originally, but it's amazing here," Kunning says. "Doors have opened. I'm really comfortable here."