By Nicolette Toussaint
Sopris Sun Correspondent
Every year, thousands of small, root-beer colored bottles holding herbal tinctures wend their way from Weant Boulevard here in Carbondale to patients and medical practitioners all across the United States.
Dr. Dave’s Herbal Medicine comes in nine different remedies: Allergies Away, Super Sinus, Throat Zap, Cough Arrest, Sinus Guard, Immune Defense, an immune-boosting Mushroom Tonic, Good Night and Meno-Pause.
Originally sold from the Carbondale Acupuncture Center and a few retail outlets in the Roaring Fork Valley and Boulder, the herbal tinctures are now carried by more than 60 retail outlets across more than 15 states. The company also does a brisk online business from DrDaves.com, an ecommerce website recently redesigned by another Carbondale firm, Steller Studio.
A shelf in the Carbondale Acupuncture Center’s reception area displays a cluster of small brown tincture bottles adorned with a lotus leaf label. Around the corner, the wall of Dr. Dave Teitler’s office reveals a sight reminiscent of Beijing, or perhaps San Francisco’s Chinatown – it’s an apothecary collection with more than 200 jars of herbs. The herbs, which are free of sulfur, pesticides and chemicals, do in fact hail from China, by way of Oakland.
If you were to visualize a Chinese herbalist, he probably wouldn’t be tall and strawberry blond. But Teitler, who recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of his founding of the Carbondale Acupuncture Clinic, is a licensed herbalist and acupuncturist. As recently as last fall, he trained in Kunming, China.
Teitler grew up in Crested Butte, and then attended the University of Colorado in Boulder. After a post-graduation trip to China, he attended a three-year acupuncture/herbal medicine school in Denver, where most of his herbal teachers were Chinese.
Having picked up a little Mandarin in China, he was less intimated by the language than many of his classmates. “It was easier to for me pick up herb names and acupuncture points,” he said. “For example, there’s an acupuncture point called bai hui. In Chinese, it means 100 flowers. If you understand the meaning, it makes it easier to integrate and use the herb or acupuncture point.”
Asked if he can still speak Chinese, Teitler replied, “Yi dian dian,” and then translated, “A little bit.”
In 1999, while working at the Mid-Valley Chiropractic and Wellness Center, Teitler learned to make tinctures from a fellow employee. “I was treating a lot of people who had allergies and sinus problems,” he recalls. “I found I was making very similar herbal formulas for a lot of people, so I started making tinctures up as allergy and sinus remedies.”
Teitler’s remedies are formulated specifically for the local climate and environment. “For our allergy, sinus and cough remedies, we make sure that they are moistening and not overly drying,” he explained. “If you dry mucus and phlegm in Colorado, where your nasal passages are already too dried out, you end up cementing dry mucus and phlegm into the nose, sinus cavities and lungs. To treat a Colorado sinus infection, or the dry cough that won’t go away, you need to moisten the sinuses and lungs.”
The tinctures are available locally at Providence Apothecary in Glenwood Springs; in Carbondale at the Acupuncture Center, the Carbondale Community Food Co-op and from Dr. Hilary Back; in Willits at Whole Foods and the WIN Institute in Willits; and in Aspen at Clark’s Market.