Melissa Adlebush’s devotion to herbs was borne of necessity.
The owner of Appleton’s Aurora’s Apothecary can’t swallow pills, and she saw making her own medicine as the only alternative. Adlebush, who’s known as Aurora to her customers, has been studying herbs for more than 25 years and learned plenty from her grandparents, who were also enthusiasts.
Adlebush got her start selling at farmers markets, renaissance fairs and festivals. She opened her first shop in the small Brown County town of Morrison more than 10 years ago before opening her location on Richmond Street in Appleton.
Though she’s studied herbs for decades, Adlebush continues to learn. Herbs are gentle to the body and don’t carry the kind of side effects pharmaceuticals do, she says.
Many herbs can be found right in people’s backyards, though they can be easy to find but hard to identify. Dandelion is one example of a backyard herb. It’s edible and offers health benefits, Adlebush says.
Many maladies and concerns — from headaches to chronic pain — bring people into Aurora’s Apothecary, run by Adlebush’s husband, Kevin. Adlebush spends most of her time in her lab and garden crafting products. The shop offers a cold and flu line, and elderberry has been particularly popular this year.
Adlebush says herbs have grown in popularity. She attributes this to natural-minded moms as well as a group of older folks who have long been devoted to the plants.
“I think especially with the pharmaceutical commercials out there, people are a little afraid to take things with all the side effects,” Adlebush says.
Milissa Kloida of Freedom, who frequents the store monthly, praises the store’s handmade products and knowledgeable staff. She swears by its migraine tincture, natural pain relievers and colloidal silver. Kloida’s daughter is allergic to lemon, a common ingredient in many essential oils, so Adlebush custom makes products for her.
“Not only could I go there and buy products, but she could tailor them to our needs,” she says.
In addition to herbs, the shop offers an essential oil blending bar, jewelry, crystals and tea. It offers classes on herbs as well as services such as tarot card reading, massage and reiki.
Aurora’s Apothecary enjoys a loyal and large Facebook following, and Adlebush looks to continue to grow her customer base and the store’s visibility.