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Dope Botanicals combines herbalism and urbanism to create a distinctly Philly A’plant’ecary™
Philly

Dope Botanicals combines herbalism and urbanism to create a distinctly Philly A’plant’ecary™

“If you don’t take care of your body, where are you gonna live?” Sisters Nakia and Taahirah Stith help city dwellers heal with plant-based solutions at Dope Botanicals. 

Self-care is an act of sustainability, and Nakia and Taahirah Stith take it seriously. 

At Dope Botanicals, they handcraft herbal remedies for urban ailments, restoring balance to the body while honoring the planet. In opening their Rittenhouse storefront last November, the sisters aimed to create a space that was both accessible and luxurious – an “A’plant’ecary”™. 

“We knew we wanted a luxury experience. But we also believe that your body is the largest luxury,” said Nakia. “That’s the luxury: Yourself. You are the luxury. Because if you don’t take care of your body, where are you gonna live?”

Dope Botanicals shelves
Photo courtesy of Dope Botanicals

Lining the walls at Dope Botanicals are teas, powders, elixirs, and tonics, all derived from the earth. Each ingredient passes directly through Nakia and Taahirah’s hands. They are involved in every step of production: mixing, sifting and blending in the industrial kitchen at the back of the shop. The sisters even develop and perfect the recipes they serve up at the in-house herb bar, which features smoothies and lattes sans caffeine. With names like “Happy Pill” and “Not Coffee,” the beverages are carefully crafted with natural ingredients meant to revitalize, soothe, and heal. 

As Dope Botanicals approaches its six-month anniversary, Nakia and Taahirah are now working on developing an online retail space where clients will be able to purchase their signature herbal creations. 

Dope Botanicals: A Local & Sustainable A’plant’ecary™ 

Everything in the shop is certified organic or wild-crafted. The sisters obtain herbs from their location of origin, visiting farms to handpick partners who share common values. Treating herbs with kindness matters, they say, and seeking growers who are on the same wavelength is a non-negotiable. 

Dope Botanicals Philadelphia
Photo courtesy of Dope Botanicals

While the herbs at Dope Botanicals are grown in all corners of the country, Nakia and Taahirah are particularly interested in sourcing plants from the Philadelphia region: 

“Anybody who’s out there as an organic grower – come talk to us.” 

The sisters already source some of their packaging locally, driving out to Lancaster to obtain glass for bottles and jars. With mounting supply chain hurdles, they feel there’s never been a better moment to prioritize sustainable business practices. 

“Freight costs have gone through the roof,” Nakia shared. “If there ever was a time to be a proponent for ‘buy local’ and ‘be more sustainable with your dollar,’ I think we’ve been forced into that now.” 

Keeping it local is as much about supporting small businesses and farmers in the area as it is unlocking the medicinal properties of homegrown plants.

“Using the herbs that are native to where you are for healing was so important to us,” said Taahirah. 

“Nothing beats dandelion and nettle and all these things that are right here – that people are trying to kill,” added Nakia. “No, that’s here for us. That’s a tonic herb. It wants us to take advantage of all the medicine it has, and that’s why it’s growing in abundance.”

There’s a power in connecting to the ground beneath our feet, she explained. “This is your familial soil. We live here, many of us were born here, we die here. We get buried in this land. That’s the same soil that grows the flowers, that gives something for the bees to pollinate. So it’s a cycle that we have to be very intentional about.” 

Herbalism Meets Urbanism 

The sisters are intentional about every aspect of their A’plant’ecary™, from the lighting of the shop to the beats coming through the speakers: Think Wu-Tang Clan and Busta Rhymes. 

 “It’s not wind chimes. It’s not elevator music. You’re gonna hear hip hop in here. You’re gonna hear R&B. And it’s gonna make you feel good,” said Nakia.  “And you can talk to us about whatever problems you have over whatever music is playing in the background.” 

The inventory at Dope Botanicals supports healing in the face of urban stressors: sleep deprivation, violence, pollution. It’s not a static product line, but one that’s built to adapt and evolve. The sisters custom-develop formulas based on individual circumstances, while also creating new blends as they observe patterns emerge among their clients. Rather than treating symptoms blindly, Nakia and Taahirah seek to identify the underlying causes. 

“We practice herbalism in the clinical and community traditional way. For people who are stressed out, who may have heard gunshots last night, or they watched the news this morning and it was terrible, or your sleep quality is trash because of light pollution,” explained Nakia. 

The Stiths, who are 13 years apart, are both certified health coaches; wellness has always been central to their lives. Nakia is a master herbalist working towards registration with the American Herbalists Guild. She’s also a trained doula and certified Reiki practitioner. Taahirah is certified in aromatherapy. Previously she worked at the Nourishing Literacy program at the Free Library of Philadelphia and as a plant-based food educator at a Montessori school.   

The sisters are passionate about sharing their expertise with neighbors, with the intent of creating a safe space for those who are brand new to herbal wellness as well as seasoned practitioners. They want customers to leave the Rittenhouse shop feeling better than when they walked in – and empowered with knowledge. 

“When you leave, you’re going to know something that you didn’t know before,” said Nakia. “Learning is paramount.”

Dope Botanicals is located at 257 S. 20th St. in Center City, Philadelphia. The shop is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10am-5pm, and Sunday from 11am-4pm. 

Cover photo courtesy of Dope Botanicals


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Stephanie Ostroff loves exploring green spaces in and around Philly. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and has been published in National Geographic, Generocity, and Fathom. When she’s not writing, she works as a speech/language therapist at AIM Academy. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys getting lost in the Wissahickon, practicing yoga, and planning travel adventures. View all posts by Stephanie Ostroff

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