GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - The aroma of burning sage and the sounds of Native American flute music greet visitors to Orrs' Trading Company, a shop at 411 Main St., which sells bulk herbs and spices, as well as Indian artwork and supplies.A steady stream of customers seeking gifts and remedies stopped in before and after Christmas to tap herbalist Debora Beck's knowledge of different herbs.Gallon glass jars holding a variety of herbs and spices line shelves in the rear of the store where Beck measures out specific quantities for customers - you can bring your own herb jar! Most of the herbs are organic, and come from suppliers such as Frontier Natural Products Co-op, Mountain Rose Herbs, and Metropolitan Tea Company in Canada.Gigi Richard of Grand Junction stopped in the day after Christmas for a gift of tea to bring her mother in Ft. Collins."She has nice quality black tea - and a great selection - black teas, herbal teas, green teas, and herbs and spices," Richard said.Beck also prepares 30 of her own specialty tea blends. "One of the most popular ones is Sweet Dreams," a blend of herbs that "help quiet the mind," Beck said.She ships the tea monthly to an Arizona man who told her that he used to drink three beers and took two Tylenol PM tablets to fall asleep. Now, he drinks two cups of "Sweet Dreams" tea in the evening.Beck also has customers she mails herbs and spices to in California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Chicago and Vermont - clients she met as tourists to Grand Junction, who appreciate the store's selection.Another one of Beck's blends is called Z's Meadow, a tea Beck put together for Zachariah Walker, a local man and a popular yoga teacher who has been battling leukemia. The blend of flowers, spearmint and lemon balm was created during a time when Walker was unable to spend time outdoors due to his illness. Half of the tea sales proceeds goes to "Zachariah's Wellness Fund," started by his fellow yogis.Beck said she developed an interest in herbs more than 20 years ago, when dealing with her own health issues. "I always loved plants and nature," she said. "That's when I really got started - taking care of myself."Beck studied herbs with various herbalists, the most recent being physician-herbalist-midwife Aviva Romm. Orrs' Trading carries tinctures and tonics such as the Krud Buster for colds and coughs made by local herbalist Yvonne Barron. Twigs, Buds and Oil, an Orchard Mesa farm, supplies the shop with lavender essential oils. The store also carries handcrafted soaps by the local Canyon Wren Farms. If you'd like to make your own tinctures - or simply want to learn how to use herbs and spices - Beck will teach you. She also sells books on the topic.She recently taught a free "Winter Wellness" class at the Mesa County Library, where she talked about using herbs and teas for general health and wellness. She'll teach a similar class Jan. 12 at Yoga West Collective, 1025 Main St.
In the front of the shop, there's dried sage bundles, Native American pottery, carvings of turtles, beavers and owls. A glass case holds silver and turquoise Indian jewelry. You'll also find Native American-style flutes made by Tony Babbitt, gourd art by Linda Paige of Glade Park, and beaded earrings and dream catchers by a local native Lakota man, Blackhorse Medina.There are ceramic drums, sculptures, medicine bags and other miscellaneous items such as beaded and embroidered wall hangings by Collbran art teacher Lorrie Kirschner Herranz.Orrs' Trading Company is owned by Beck's longtime friend Bill Orr, whose family has been in the Native American arts and crafts and supplies business since the 1890s.Orrs' Trading Company is open seven days a week, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.Visit the web site at: www.orrs.com