Near the intersection of Old Cheney Road and Highway 2 sits an herbal paradise where Lincolnites can learn how to make herbal teas, craft tinctures and even receive a tranquil massage.
Eric Smith and Georgia Mack have been the co-owners of Herbs & More in south Lincoln for the past three years. They have transformed the original franchise from a quaint supplement shop to a botanical hub full of loose leaf herbs with medicinal properties, natural skin care products, candles and tea-making supplies.
“I like to supply items that we think people might be interested in using as well as obscure things because I feel like I want to teach people about those natural ingredients,” Mack said. “It’s a good way to introduce people to those kinds of alternatives.”
The genesis of Herbs & More began 25 years ago when Arnold Freeman bought a supplement franchise and began selling various vitamins, minerals and herbs to the health conscious people of Lincoln. According to Smith, who is a registered herbalist under the American Herbalists Guild, he and his wife Georgia Mack were regular patrons of the shop. Mack was the in-house massage therapist for a few years prior, and the two utilized their working knowledge of natural remedies in their undertaking of Herbs & More in April 2018.
“We really want to try and move toward bringing information and education to people so that they can learn to use these herbs and supplements themselves,” Mack said. “There are a lot of things that are happening in our world that aren’t necessarily great, and we’re trying to really research the products that we buy to make sure that they are good and ethical.”
Smith got his start in herbology through his grandfather, a farmer in rural Nebraska. Years later, a trip to California with a Yurok medicine woman sparked the interest in natural remedies and led to him becoming versed in the medicinal uses of plants and nature.
“My first experiences using plants as medicine were passed down to me from my grandfather. He knew what was growing in the ditches and what could help me with my allergies or chigger bites,” Smith said. “After going to California, it really helped me build momentum in that holistic direction with my life.”
According to Smith and Mack, there are a myriad of ways nature can be utilized to heal within common sense parameters. Many common pharmaceuticals like Aspirin and Robitussin have origins in the ground, and the couple said those uses are still there if a person knows how to look for the right vegetation.
“I think that, if people are educated on the natural origins of where we get our medicine, then they can take an open look and realize that all of these things came from the plants and the world around us and maybe then we can utilize the world around us,” Smith said.
Along with a plethora of medicinal flora, Smith and Mack often host classes on homeopathic remedies and foraging for the average person as well as First Friday art showings of local artists.
“We have a gathering of local artists that come down here. We don’t charge the artist anything or admission, and all of the proceeds in the case that a piece is sold goes to the artist,” Smith said. “We just believe in a ‘support local, show local and buy local’ kind of thing.”
Whether it’s finding herbs to help with well-being or supporting local art, Smith and Mack both said their primary aim with Herbs & More is to help locals learn about the world around them and the healing properties that nature has to offer.
“Our number one goal is to help educate people who are searching for an alternative method to keep themselves healthy,” Smith said. “We’re here to help with anything that you need to help better your life or your well-being through natural homeopathic, holistic or herbal remedies.”