Ointments, Elixirs and Potions, Oh My!

While Chicago is a relatively-newer city when compared to the steep histories of London and Rome, there are certain Chicago landmarks that reverse the hands of time and hearken back to simpler times. Times when the milkman still delivered milk to your doorstep, your local barbershop boasted a clean straight razor shave, and your neighborhood pharmacist was a respected pillar. In a time where minute clinics and online symptom checkers have become the norm, there’s something comforting about knowing that whether you have the sniffles or severe muscle aches, your cure is only as far as your neighborhood apothecary. For Chicagoans, they put their health in the hands of both Merz Apothecary and Aaron’s Apothecary.


Merz Apothecary


As you step through the glass doors, the aromatic scent of sandalwood, tea tree and decadent soaps transport you into the Old World. As you peruse the glass bottles holding mysterious elixirs and tinctures, you’ve opened a magical door into the 18th century. Welcome to the world of apothecaries.

Whether you’re looking for luxurious cologne or an eczema-soothing lotion, Merz Apothecary has it all. A pillar of the Lincoln Square community since 1875, this charming stained-glass building is a historic landmark. In fact, tour buses make regular trips to Merz—and why shouldn’t they? With the largest collection of soaps from around the world, this place is a homeopathic hub. Merz also ships to customers from all over the world and now offers an online boutique (the only aspect of this unique business that melds the Old World with the new). Just like the apothecaries of old, Merz’s staff speaks seven languages, providing individualized care to international and local customers alike. Next time you find yourself walking the quaint streets of Lincoln Square, look for the blue and gold sign that will draw you into a world that is reminiscent of the European apothecaries of old.


Aaron’s Apothecary

DSC_0428If you are tired of the impersonal care you receive in larger pharmacies and long to find someone with a deep-rooted knowledge of medicine, let Aaron’s Apothecary feed your natural medicine soul. Nestled in the heart of lively Lincoln Park, this full floor-to-ceiling window facade warms and invites. As you walk through the doors, you will be immediately enveloped by the nostalgia of apothecaries past. As you peruse the aisles and plentiful products, you’ll wonder why you ever set foot in one of those corporate pharmaceutical conglomerates. From indigestion remedies and natural makeup to 14k gold Slinkies (yes, you read this right!), Aaron’s Apothecary has anything you could ever need or want. Customers praise the warm and friendly staff, and you can even get prescriptions filled for faithful Fido.  Also inspired by the Old World European apothecaries, don’t be surprised if you find shampoos from London or a decadent skin cream from France. So the next time you find yourself out enjoying the gorgeous architecture and bustling shops of Lincoln Park, drop by Aaron’s Apothecary, where you’ll instantly travel around the world and through time.


About the author

Originally from the quaint beach town of Fenwick Island, Delaware, Stephanie Andrews has called Chicago home for over six years. When she’s not writing, Stephanie is also a stuntwoman and circus performer. From flying trapeze to video game stunts, she is thankful that Chicago offers her the ability to live such an exciting life. However, she also enjoys the cozy coffee shops, exotic foods, and rousing nightlife that makes Chicago that toddlin’ town.

Stephanie has been a professional writer for over six years, producing everything from neurological research articles to features for two trade magazines. You can find her published works in Modern Metals, FFJournal, and Realcity Online. Stephanie is looking forward to sharing her favorite Chicago haunts with both adventurous locals and curious travelers.

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