For aches, pains, tiredness and more, Jenny Ehrhardt of Zensations by Jen has you covered. Naturally.
I will never forget this. I went in to visit Jenny, just to say hi and bring her a snack. I told her that I had a sore throat that wouldn’t go away. We’re talking, catching up and she walks up to me and says, “Open up.” I open my mouth and she sprays something awful into my mouth. I object (loudly) and she says I’ll feel better the next day, and I did. She’s done this to me multiple times (sometimes I refuse…but I regret it) and for whatever ails me, she’s got a cure. A natural cure.
When Jenny was about 20, she got sick with shingles-like symptoms, her doctor prescribed steroids but she was not really liking that idea. A friend suggested an elimination diet – no wheat, no sugar, no alcohol and it worked. She then learned about Pau d’Arco, an immune stimulant used for a huge number of conditions including flu, infections and more. Pau d’Arco was the trick – she felt better. She wanted to learn more.
She started working with aromatherapy, teas, Western herbs, etc and was amazed at the results in her health – skin, circulation, energy. In 2003, she attended the Baltimore School of Massage and learned even more. She was able to combine massage therapy and herb therapy and it was really satisfying to see her clients feeling and looking better. She stocks over 200 bitters, tinctures, herbs, teas, skin care products, etc. I love going to visit her and seeing something going on the stove…this week it was her version of Vick’s vapor rub.
When bartenders, distillers and home brewers want to tinker and do research at home, they come to her for her handcrafted products – she makes tons of bitters and tinctures. Her ‘Bitter the Better’ helps my acid reflux so much. It’s made with angelica, gentian, hops, bitter orange, lemon verbena, rooisbos, calendula, cinnamon and orange. Most of the ingredients in it and in many other products come from her amazing garden in Hampden. And, these bitters actually taste good – not like that first bitter she sprayed into my mouth years ago! (Thanks, Jen.) She has tons of clients who come in when they are pregnant or having skin issues, for example, and want to try alternative things like teas and salves and other things she recommends. To treat the problem, you need to treat the whole body. People are definitely coming back to this way of treating themselves with a combination of Eastern medicine and traditional medicine for issues like low energy, stress, digestion, etc. “It’s great that things as simple as bitters and digestifs can be so helpful to so many people. I love that I can help people heal themselves. The nervous system and the gut are the most important things to keep in check. Once you have those down, everything else follows. If they are good, you are good,” she says. She is so right.
She is known around town as “The Herb Lady” and back in the day, work with the wonderful, wonderful Mick “the Pirate” Kipp in Hampden. Mick sold spices, rubs and salsas, while Jenny sold teas and herbs. Then she moved to a space inside Mill Valley General Store, again with Mick at a booth nearby for about three years. Then, she moved to the upstairs of Falkenhan’s Hardware for a little under two years, until her current space across Chestnut Avenue became available. She’s now been at 3408 Chestnut (right next to Steve Baker at Wholly Terra) for about two and a half years now. There is such a sense of community in that shop – you just feel more at ease the longer you stay. And she doesn’t mind when you stay. She will often pour me a cup of cider…and if it’s later in the afternoon, perhaps a nip of something boozy. I love Miss Jen.
Go and visit her. You will love her shop. Otherworldly.
Also, I love her car. (artwork by Matt Muirhead)