I opened The Herbalist in 1984 based on the belief that organically grown and wild-harvested herbs of the highest quality would have a positive effect on people’s health. At a time when herbs were not known for their medicinal properties The Herbalist forged ahead, was progressive, and ahead of its time. Creating products with well thought out formulations and using "better than organic" herbs has given The Herbalist a respected reputation that we are proud of. The herbs that are made into our herbal extracts, teas, and medicinal oils come from many local certified organic farms or sustainable and ethical wild harvesters. My desire is to share these products with those of you who are seeking a happier, healthier body and life with the use of nature’s best. Over the years, I have seen and experienced personally the benefits of these high quality herbal products and am delighted to share them with others. Herbs offer an effective approach to improving well-being and quality of life. Instead of the "side effects" that many pharmaceuticals and OTC drugs have, herbs provide numerous “side benefits.” The Herbalist remains a small business that takes time to listen to our valued customers and to offer herbal information to empower you to take an active role in your health. We welcome your comments and suggestions, and we genuinely appreciate you for helping us celebrate 27 years of "Herbal Excellence". Thank you for being my inspiration!
Our logo of a beaver holding a branch of herbs is influenced by the Native Northwest tribe of Haida, and is representative of our business: Northwest Herb Specialist. In Native American mythology, the beaver tells you to look for alternative solutions to life's challenges, which we encourage all to do. The Herbalist products open up a world of alternatives for those who seek a happier and healthier body with the use of nature's apothecary.
The founder of The Herbalist is Tierney Salter. Tierney has a degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California at Santa Barbara and has a degree in Clinical Herbology from the College of Natural Medicine in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The business license was obtained in 1982 when Tierney began formulating, producing, and selling products under "The Herbalist" name. Seeing the need for another herb store in Seattle (there was only one at the time called Tenzing Momo), Tierney began looking for a good location to open a retail store. After over a year of searching, she found an empty storefront next to the Ravenna PCC (Puget Consumers Coop). This storefront was attractive, not only because it was next to the largest food coop in the Seattle area, but because it was once a pharmacy. This became apparent when it was observed that a mortar and pestle were next to both sides of the front door. Tierney felt it would be perfect to continue this location’s history as a pharmacy by creating a similar business, except that this would be a natural pharmacy featuring herbal and holistic remedies rather than drugs.
Research discovered that PCC owned the building, but due to a long standing court case with their neighbors had been unable to rent it for nearly five years. With a political background instilled in Tierney by her father, she started on a campaign to make this space available for her store. With a great deal of persistence, the court case was resolved and the space became available. Unfortunately the campaign to rent the space did not stop there. PCC decided to poll its membership to decide who should occupy the location. The three candidates were The Herbalist, a computer store, and a butcher shop. Tierney had to convince the board members of PCC that a medicinal herb store next to PCC would complement the similar services it offered and would be of great benefit to its members. At that time medicinal herbs were not nearly as popular and PCC’s main concern was that the business would not survive. Using industry statistics and some of The Herbalist products on the financial director of PCC (with good results) Tierney finally won her storefront in May of 1984.
Original StorefrontWith a ten thousand dollar loan from Tierney’s mother and lots of work, the store was redesigned, rebuilt,and opened for business in September 1984. Initially, The Herbalist was stocked with 120 bulk medicinal herbs, three herbal extracts, an intestinal cleanser, one line of vitamins, one cosmetic line, and essential and perfume oils. The storefront was approximately 700 square feet.
With Tierney, and only one other employee, The Herbalist was open from 10 to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Tierney did iridology and herbal consultations in the morning before the store opened and in the evenings after it closed. Although she did not have a business background, with Tierney’s enthusiasm for the art of herbal medicines, The Herbalist turned a profit the first year. That same year Tierney bought a house that happened to have a large building on it suitable for a manufacturing lab. The structure was remodeled and Tierney began formulating and manufacturing additional herbal products for The Herbalist’s customers. The products included herbal extracts, teas, herbal infused oils, and therapeutic massage oils. As The Herbalist’s clientele grew, so did the product line.
Guided by her teacher Michael Moore, Tierney learned that the key ingredient to creating a quality herbal product is the ingredients themselves. He taught her that it is essential for the herbs to be collected from areas that are free of pollutants and pesticides, that they are collected at the optimal time, and either shipped fresh after collection or dried with care.
Michael Moore also taught Tierney the importance of using as many local and regional herbs in the formulas as possible. Indeed, The Herbalist does use many herbs from around the Northwest in the formulas. In 1983, Tierney met Ryan Drum, a wildcrafting herbalist, from Waldren Island, the northern most San Juan island. He grows and wildcrafts the finest quality herbs any herbalist could ever hope for. Ryan, along with other wildcrafters and organic growers, supply the herbs that go into manufacturing the effective herbal products produced by The Herbalist.
The Herbalist gained a worthy reputation for not only offering quality products, but also for providing exceptional service by an educated staff to its customers. Because of this reputation, people from around the country soon began mail ordering The Herbalist products. Before long other retail stores around the Northwest asked to sell The Herbalist products as well. Today The Herbalist is not only a retail store, but it manufactures, wholesales, and mail-orders its products all across the US and abroad.
In 1994, The Herbalist’s retail store relocated one block east to the current location at 2106 NE 65th Street, Seattle, WA 98115. The move doubled the size of the store and has proven to be very successful. The Herbalist’s retail store is fresh, bright, and a fun place to be.
Tierney Salter’s vision for The Herbalist remains the same today as the day she first opened for business:
"The Herbalist represents a dream. One I have and wish to share with those of you who seek a happier, healthier body and life with the use of nature’s best."