botanical medicine with michelle reichert
We are very pleased to introduce Michelle, who runs Apotheka Herbal Boutique, a lovely place to go for teas & tinctures, herbal consultations, and custom herbal formulations. Continue reading to learn Michelle’s favourite immune boosting tea blend, and her earliest food memory.
My name is Michelle and I am a medical herbalist and nutritionist in Victoria, BC. I opened up Apotheka Herbal Boutique this past March. My goal is to bring quality custom herbal remedies to the public and provide holistic support in the community. I’ve always had a passion for helping people and every day is a blessing to be able to offer a safe and inviting space to all who visit us. I am also a huge foodie, lover of music and nature and grateful to live in such an amazing place!
What are your favourite culinary herbs, and why?
Mmmm all the herbs! Some of my favourites are: turmeric, black pepper, ginger, garlic, anise, fennel, garam masala, basil, and thyme, I could go on haha. I would say the main reasons for these herbs and spices are due to their rich flavours, antioxidants and ability to support the immune system.
Which herbs do you rely on for immune support, and how do you use them?
I mostly focus on adaptogens such as reishi, astragalus, Siberian ginseng, and Echinacea for supporting healthy immune function and if I feel something coming on I turn to things like elderberry, cleavers, ginger, and poke root. I often use these in tincture form, but also like a good strong immune boosting tea as well. One of my favourite tea blends is Echinacea, elderberry, elderflower and ginger.
Are there any herbal recipes that you make each year to prepare for cold & flu season?
Elderberry syrup is a good one, but since I am limited with time I just use the dispensary to whip up what I need for when I’m feeling run down.
Do you have any advise for someone curious about incorporating immune supporting herbs into their daily routine?
When it comes to the immune system, I think it’s important to speak to someone educated in this area. For example, if you have an autoimmune condition it’s best to be careful and ensure you don’t use the wrong herbs. There are so many different herbs when it comes to the immune system, so it’s really about finding the right ones for you. Things like elderberry, elderflower, ginger, and garlic are generally safe to incorporate into a daily routine.
Is there a recipe or dish that changed you?
I can’t think of a particular dish that changed me but I can say that my travels to New Orleans really diversified my palate. It really inspired me to think outside the box when cooking and get creative with flavours. The food down there is unreal!
What is your comfort food?
Homemade chicken and vegetable soup; pretty much all homemade soup is my comfort food.
What is your earliest food memory?
My earliest food memory is the joy of watching my little sister eat spaghetti and getting it all over her face. Half of her face was completely red with sauce.
What is your fondest food memory?
Definitely cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my loved ones when we all lived close by! It is so much work, but worth it every time.
When you cook, you are ________.
Happy and focused! I do not advise people to be in the same area when I am cooking. Haha
Do you have a food goal or cooking aspiration?
I would love to learn how to cook more international dishes, such as Thai or Indian.
What is your most memorable meal? Why?
It would have to be Thanksgiving dinner year 1999. We had a lot of family that year and the reason why it’s so memorable is because my sister decided to share a very embarrassing story of me! I’ll never forget it! It was bad, but I can laugh about it now with those closest to me.
What is on your grocery list?
Chicken, salmon, butternut squash, zucchini, cilantro, lemon, basmati rice, tomatoes, garlic, onion, ginger, mushrooms, butter, and spices – to name a few.
What do you feel like eating for dinner tonight?
Honestly, lasagna. However, I am sticking to my autoimmune diet and eating homemade chicken vegetable soup. Haha
Where do you love to eat in Victoria?
Nourish! You truly feel nourished when eating there and I love the atmosphere!
As a way to connect with others, and celebrate food, we decided to organize a recipe exchange of your favourite sweet treats.
COVID-19 has illuminated many of the existing problems in our society, including food insecurity. We wanted to learn more about who is most affected, and discuss why these conversations are necessary, especially in the health and wellness world.
Ariel and Jess Reyes Barton are the creators of Palenke Greens, which is a burlap sack gardening initiative aimed at assisting people of African descent facing food insecurity. Not only do they provide all of the supplies to create a burlap sack garden, they also help to install it, and have exciting ideas for the future.