French Broad Food Co+Op

Open Daily: 8am to 8pm
(828)255-7650 | 

Open Daily 8am to 8pm
90 Biltmore Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801

HBC December News

We find ourselves at the end of one crazy year. 2020 has absolutely been a whirlwind. I always enjoy looking back at the past year and reminiscing and making goals for next, but this year feels like it will take a while to understand and process. I am grateful just to have survived it. Along with the challenge of running a business during a pandemic and trying to keep everyone safe and healthy, sourcing this year has been difficult. I know many of you have heard us talk about the struggle to get herbs, bottles, and certain supplements. Many farmers, gardeners, and herbalists felt the pain of no mason jars this fall for canning food and products. Some of our companies are running at 70% out of stocks. We have done bottle orders that took 6 months to arrive. Some companies have shut down for a time and taken months to get production up to demand, some companies seemed to power right through with minimal issues, and sadly…some companies have closed permanently. We are very lucky to have so many sources that we can access and we thank you for your patience as we struggle to keep our shelves stocked. So, the short of it is:

Some items we just cannot get. There is a worldwide shortage and increased demand. We are seeing the fragility of our supply chains and having to adapt as well as we can.

Now, before you go bury a shipping container home in your backyard and order MRE’s to eat for the next 5 years….breathe. We will get through this. I, personally, have always been somewhat of a prepper. I think having a bit of extra food stored, an apothecary stocked to treat myself, family and pets, alternative heat sources, access to water, seeds, and tools to get me through lean patches, storms, or pandemics…it is just a good idea. I do not condone hoarding, and that is not what I am recommending. We have seen the consequences of hoarding when no one could find toilet paper for months, or hand sanitizer due to people buying up all available and reselling for ridiculous prices. I believe that if we just take what we NEED, there will be enough for all. That said, I do recommend having some back up. So, I thought I would give you my recommendations of what to keep in your pantry or apothecary to keep you and yours healthy no matter what is available in any store. This list will absolutely need to be personalized based on your own health issues and preferences. This is just to get you started and hopefully thinking about what herbs you want to have available.


Ashwagandha: powder, tincture, root c/s for tea

Astragalus root- slices (for tea or broth)

Cinnamon- i prefer the vietnamese sticks to infuse water, tea, and baked goods

Chamomile- tea, glycerite, oil

Echinacea- tincture, tea (i use the angustifolia for dried, fresh tinctured purpurea will work also)

Elder- flowers and berries for tea, syrups, tinctures

Elecampane root- tincture and tea

Ginger- fresh for tea and cooking,  dried for tea, powder for bath and poultices

Garlic- all the garlic! Fresh for cooking, eating and topical, dried for cooking

Goldenseal or Oregon Grape Root- powder, tincture, tea

Goji berries-tea and broth

Hawthorn- berries, leaf and flower for tea, tinctures, conserve, cordial

Holy basil- tea, tincture, honey

Milky oats or oatstraw- tea, tincture

Linden- tea

Pedicularis- tea and tincture

Plantain- tea, salve

Nettles- tea

Lobelia- tincture

Mint- peppermint, spearmint, etc. tea, glycerite

Mullein- tea, tincture

Mugwort- tea, smudge

Mushrooms- i recommend having on hand reishi, lion’s mane, chaga, and turkey tail. Powders are convenient and can be tossed into broth, dips, or soups, and slices and whole mushrooms are terrific for decoctions and broths

Oregano- tincture of oil of oregano, herb for tea and steam

Schisandra berries- tea

Thyme- tea and steams

Osha root- whole root for tea and chewing, tincture

Passionflower- tea, tincture…I prefer it blended with other nervine herbs to calm and help sleep

Rose hips-for tea, syrup, jam

Usnea- tincture

Yarrow- tea, tincture, powder for styptic use

Wood Betony- tea, tincture

Wild Lettuce- tincture


I do recommend having several blends on hand. Either tea blend or a tincture blend, which ever you prefer:

Lymph formula- red root, burdock, cleavers, self heal, etc.

Lung support-elecampane, pleurisy root, osha, licorice, mullein, etc

Pain blend- meadowsweet, willow, wild lettuce, etc

Cold and flu blend- elder, mushrooms, astragalus, echinacea, etc

Adaptogen blend- ashwagandha, schisandra, rhodiola, holy basil, eleuthro

Calming blend- chamomile, passionflower, milky oat, rose, damiana

Sleep- valerian, passionflower, milky oat, skullcap, etc

Digestive blend- bitters, fennel, peppermint, etc


And other things that can be helpful:

Fire Cider

Comfrey Salve

Charcoal powder or caps



Arnica homeopathic

Mullein garlic ear drops

Herbal Nasal Spray

Chinese linament (tiger balm, white flower, etc)

Epsom salts

Clay powder

Chamomile tea bags (great for eye inflammation)

Assorted gauze, bandages, wraps for cuts and wounds

Witch hazel


In the kitchen-

Keeping these basics on hand can provide medicine and comfort.

Lemons-terrific baked with honey drizzled on for sore throats, added to tea, for liver support with warm water and a dash of apple cider vinegar

Onions & Garlic- delicious and great for colds and flu. Onion poultice for lung congestion, garlic for ear infections and as an antiviral

Honey- addition to tea, used for syrups, allergies, antibacterial and useful for skin and wounds

All the spices! So many spices have wonderful medicinal properties. Thyme makes a wonderful steam for sinus and lung congestion. Cardamom and fennel are both carminatives and help dispel gas. Ginger is warming and wonderful for nausea, menstrual cramps, and belly issues.

Turmeric is regularly used for liver support and as an anti-inflammatory. So many options straight out of your spicerack!

Essential Oils- I do not recommend essential oils for internal use, but for external use there are several that I recommend having on hand:

Lavender- calming and great for burns

Fir, pine, or spruce- wonderful for lung support

Eucalyptus- helps ease breathing, anti strep and staph, anti viral properties

Rosemary- stimulates the mind

Helichrysum- wonderful for skin healing and wounds

Sandalwood or vetiver- earthy and grounding, great for calming and meditation


Hopefully this will get you started. Having a specific place that you keep your herbs and formulas will keep things easy to find when you need it. A lot of it is just preparedness. Make sure you have some medicinal broth in the freezer…ready if you get sick and need sustenance. Fire cider in the cupboard, elderberry syrup in the fridge, and a couple of tea blends or tinctures at the ready can help you get through whatever cold or flu that you may get this winter. Having a good first aid kit ready can help in the case of a fall, insect bite or wound. You don’t have to make all of these yourself if you are not inclined. We have many tincture blends available and are always happy to help you blend up a tea blend for whatever ails you. Just start with a few items and add to your apothecary as you can. Before you know it, you will have your own home apothecary stocked and ready to provide comfort and healing to yourself and your family. May your winter be happy and your homes filled with warmth, laughter, and a wonderful apothecary!