Lata Chettri-Kennedy

Photo: Brad Paris

Tell me about the herbs and oils lining the walls of your store.
I get everything from American organic farms because herbs from abroad get radiated—nuked. We don’t sell crappy, dried-up stuff or anything in pill form.

What ailments do New Yorkers want to heal?
Stress, insomnia, heartbreak, sexual impotence, weight gain, hangovers.

And what do they take?
For stress, there’s vibrational therapy using flower essence. If it’s a mother-related issue, I’d give them mariposa lily. For heartbreak: bleeding- heart flower-essence therapy. Impotent men take oat seed, which is very effective. We also sell a love potion, an aphrodisiac blend … It’s potent.

I hear you’re a shaman. What does that mean, exactly?
I’m an ordained green witch. It’s just another word for an herbalist. There are many of us, and not just in the Village.

So who buys this stuff?
People who bother to Google their drugs. Newly pregnant women who’ve started to question what they’re ingesting. Young boys looking for unique ways to get high. Of course, we don’t have anything for them.

You were pregnant a few years ago. What did you use?
Lavender shea butter for stretch marks. Red-raspberry leaf to tone my uterus. When I was delivering, we made ice cubes from it. I sucked on them through eighteen hours of labor. They helped.

Is it hard to live “naturally” in New York?
Being here reaffirms my connection with nature. I like to see weeds pushing through the cracks of the sidewalk.

Lata Chettri-Kennedy