Congratulations Greenpoint, you've finally got your first "organic apothecary and juice bar!" Welcome to the world of herbal medicine and vegan juices, courtesy of Botica & Co., which opened about three weeks ago on Manhattan Avenue.
Botica, which shares a split space with yoga and tai-chi studio Awakening, is a brick-and-mortar collaboration between Anima Mundi Herbals and Pura Fruta juice club. Adriana Ayales, a certified herbalist and Anima Mundi's founder, manages and owns Botica.
"This is a modern day apothecary, so basically it's a way of drinking medicines from all over the world, mostly rainforests, in a form that people are used to," says Ayales. "You're basically getting your daily prescription via a medium of awesome juices, teas, or other booster shots. It's for people to drink medicine in other happy forms, and not just a neglected medicine bottle."
The menu includes a number of raw, organic, and vegan juices, prepared at Long Island City's Organic Food Incubator, as well as teas, Toby's Estate coffee, and mushroom coffee. When I walked in, Ayales was drinking Utervenus ($9), a juice containing passionfruit, ginger, and Jamaica flowers, blended to promote menstrual health (she encourages men to try it too.) When I mentioned that I hadn't gotten a lot of sleep the night before, and was stressed out about my broken computer, she offered me a cardiovascular booster shot (custom shots are $5 each) with pomegranate juice, hibiscus, ginger, cold-pressed turmeric, and mint.
Herbal enemas will also be offered in the near future. The process involves brewing medicinal herbs in hot water, letting the brew cool, and administering it anally via an IV drip, so you can more efficiently enjoy the medicinal benefits of a juice cleanse. It's like butt-chugging, but good for you! (Gothamist is not above joking about this.)
"We have so much toxicity buildup that the enema basically helps you remove the shit—no pun intended—so you can actually cleanse faster," explains Ayales. "The problem with juice cleanses is that you're cleansing faster, and we don't have an outlet of toxicity that's as fast, so we re-run toxins that are old in our body. So the enemas flush them out."
Ayales, a native of Costa Rica, started her work in botanical healing to follow in the footsteps of her grandmother, a shamanic medicine woman. She and her business partner source their herbs from farmers on indigenous lands, mostly in Costa Rica and the Amazon, as well as some in Japan and China. According to Ayales, they seek to emphasize "sustainability and permacultural practices," and use crops that are fair trade, wildcrafted, and from FDA-approved lands (herbal and botanical medicines are regulated by FDA as "dietary supplements," and not in the same way that drugs and food are.)
Beginning this weekend, Ayales plans to introduce some food offerings to Botica's menu, starting with kitchari, and changing as different seasonal items become available, all based around what she describes a "farm-to-table to-go" ethos. Gluten-free pastries from Ovenly will also appear in the not-too-distant future.
Botica & Co., 607 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn (between Nassau and Driggs)