Il­lu­mi­na­tions Apothe­cary sheds new light on phys­i­cal, spir­i­tual and men­tal health

The Taos News - - BUSINESS - By Kathy DeLu­cas Pho­tos by Mor­gan Timms

‘Taos just kept telling us, ‘This is where you’re meant to be.’ ‘We re­ally want to be a cross­roads for the com­mu­nity, to bring peo­ple to­gether.’

— Eden Colibri

A breath of fresh air is lit­er­ally what brought this cou­ple to Taos.

Eden and Keith Colibri es­caped the seem­ingly end­less fires on the cen­tral coast of Cal­i­for­nia to ful­fill a dream of run­ning their own spe­cialty shop. Af­ter load­ing up their valu­ables into the car, they headed for North­ern New Mex­ico.

When they ar­rived in Taos, they re­al­ized this was where they be­longed.

Il­lu­mi­na­tions Apothe­cary be­gan in mid-July as a pop-up shop with a book­shelf of herbs and body care prod­ucts in­side the Taos Spice Mer­chants store. Hav­ing grown a lit­tle bit every week, the store is now split, a shared space that has cook­ing herbs and spices on one side and medic­i­nal herbs and body care on the other.

Keith spent two years per­fect­ing the all-nat­u­ral body care prod­ucts, which he now pro­duces in the back work­shop while Eden fo­cuses on medic­i­nal herbs, teas and other heal­ing prod­ucts.

“We carry a cou­ple of lines of tinc­tures, and we source ev­ery­thing very specif­i­cally. We spe­cial­ize in medic­i­nal herbs and sell herbs so that peo­ple can make their own,” Eden said.

In ad­di­tion to the al­ter­na­tive medicine needs, the apothe­cary of­fers al­ter­na­tive spir­i­tual heal­ing as well. Books on spir­i­tu­al­ity, can­dles and smudg­ing sages, and jew­elry items made by lo­cal artists that con­tain min­eral el­e­ments are also avail­able.

El­iza Collins, who opened Taos Spice Mer­chants nearly a year ago, says the store started when her daugh­ter called her from a spice store and won­dered which spices to use on cer­tain foods. Taos Spice Mer­chants now car­ries 200 spices and spe­cially made spice mixes as well as cus­tom-mixed bal­samic vine­gars and spe­cialty olive oils.

Collins says the medic­i­nal herbs com­ple­ment the spice shop.

“They go hand in hand,” Collins says. “It is now a ones­top shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence.”

“It’s a per­fect com­bi­na­tion,” Eden ex­plains. “It’s a won­der­ful com­ple­ment be­cause it re­ally is based on the con­cept that food is medicine.”

Keith and Eden met in San Fran­cisco; both have re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence and have al­ways had an in­ter­est in na­tive Eu­ro­pean and Na­tive Amer­i­can folk prac­tices in medicine and spir­i­tu­al­ity.

“From the mo­ment we got here, we re­ceived so much ac­cep­tance and sup­port from the com­mu­nity, we were blown away by it,” Eden said. “Taos just kept telling us, ‘This is where you’re meant to be.’”

They of­fer classes, nearly on a weekly ba­sis, on how to use and cook with the heal­ing herbs. They also of­fer ed­u­ca­tional classes with guest speak­ers on such top­ics as poi­sonous plants, mush­rooms and first aid us­ing herbs.

“We want to be known as a place for peo­ple to hang out, to come to­gether,” Eden says. “We re­ally want to be a cross­roads for the com­mu­nity, to bring peo­ple to­gether.”

Janon John­son, a reg­u­lar cus­tomer, re­ports that Eden and Keith have helped her in many ways.

“Keith has turned me on to dif­fer­ent spice com­bi­na­tions,” John­son said. She says the or­ganic golden milk and spice mix­tures, one of the stores top sell­ing items, takes away in­flam­ma­tion and helps her sleep at night.

Some clients spec­u­late that Eden and Keith might have been Egyp­tian phar­ma­cists in a past life.

“They re­ally have an in­tu­itive com­mand of foods, spices and herbs that are tran­scen­dent,” John­son said. “And Taos is the per­fect place for this.”

Taos Spice Mer­chants and Il­lu­mi­na­tions Apothe­cary are lo­cated at 226-B Paseo del Pue­blo Norte next to Brod­sky Book­shop and across from the his­toric Fechin Inn. Park­ing is avail­able be­hind the store.

Il­lu­mi­na­tions Apothe­cary sells herbs, jew­el­ery, body care and heal­ing prod­ucts in­side the Taos Spice Mer­chants store.

Il­lu­mi­na­tions Apothe­cary own­ers Keith and Eden Colibri pose for a por­trait in their re­cently opened herb and body care store in­side Taos Spice Mer­chants off Paseo Del Pue­blo Norte.

Or­ganic herbal tea blends, golden milk and sage smudge are dis­played at the out­let.

A jew­elry case dis­plays some of the eclec­tic of­fer­ings at Il­lu­mi­na­tions Apothe­cary.

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