All medicines have their origins in nature; for many of us, it makes sense to go straight to the source.
All medicines have their origins somewhere in nature; for many of us, it makes sense to go straight to the source, whether our goal is to feel better or to look our best. When we do, we want solid science and expertise to guide us—and that’s what you’ll find at Stinging Nettle Apothecary in Catskill, alongside an array of organic and natural house-made items.
“We offer personalized service to customers; all our products are handmade with great care from natural ingredients, from the herbs in our shop,” says Pat Argoff. “We offer tea blends, custom teas, salves, infused oils, bath and skin products, soaps, candles, aromatherapy oils, and handmade gifts. We also have some culinary spice mixes and infused vinegars. We are very eager to work with our customers if they have specific items they would like us to make.” Argoff and her husband Charles are both native New Yorkers (Long Island and Brooklyn, respectively) who relocated upriver to the Capital region 15 years ago.
“We offer personalized service to customers; all our products are handmade with great care from natural ingredients, from the herbs in our shop.” - Pat Argoff, Stinging Nettle Apothecary
During the pandemic, they spent time scouting locations and fell in love with the Village of Catskill. “It’s a beautiful small village surrounded by mountains on the Hudson River,” says Argoff. “Most importantly, it’s a dynamic community with a lot of energy, with many new creative businesses.” They found the right spot and opened their doors in July 2022 as Stinging Nettle Apothecary, the name chosen “because the stinging nettle is a wonderful herb with a multitude of uses, and it’s also a metaphor for herbalism in that we have to be cautious in our approach.” The couple knew they had something to offer when it came to healing and beautifying. “I’m a registered nurse with a master’s degree in Herbal Medicine and a master’s degree in Public Health,” says Argoff. “Charles is a neurologist and pain management specialist. We have been keeping organic vegetable, herb, and flower gardens for many years; it’s become increasingly evident, both in general and specifically to us, that herbal products can support a truly holistic approach to a person’s health and well-being.
“It’s become increasingly evident that herb-based therapies can support a truly holistic approach to a person’s health and well-being.” - Pat Argoff, Stinging Nettle Apothecary
“The Apothecary weaves together the different threads of our lives in a holistic fashion,” she continues. “We share a holistic point of view, that herbalism has a lot to offer people to promote health and wellness and that it complements allopathic medicine very well.”
Their diverse customers agree. “We serve many people from Catskill and surrounding communities, but also many who are visiting from NYC or from other states,” says Argoff. “Most have a desire to incorporate natural products into their personal care. Many are already knowledgeable about the benefits of plant-based products; some are curious to learn. Almost all of our clients are concerned about the prevalence of harmful chemicals and plastics in mass-produced products, and are happy to find alternatives.”
And they’re happy with the alternatives they find here. “Since the days of old, the wisest women in the village have come forward to protect the body and soul,” writes a Google reviewer. “Patricia Argoff and her daughters have cultivated an impressive collection of both products & knowledge to help heal what ails you…This lovely little shop (the only one of its kind in the nearby forests of Rip Van Winkle) stocks an inventory that is in equal parts both beautiful and beneficial.”
Stinging Nettle is a family project in every way. “Charles loves to come and work with customers on his days off from Albany Medical Center, and he takes care of a lot of the business and legal worries,” Argoff says. “I work most days researching and developing new ideas, making products, and taking care of customers. Our daughter Melanie is working with me several days a week to help run the store; she also helps make some of the skin care and beauty products. She’s developed a line of face cleansers, face masks, and oils, Beauty Botanics, that have been very popular with our customers.
Our son is a software engineer and helps out with the tech stuff, and our youngest daughter is an art student and does some handpainted cards for the store.” It’s a labor of love for all concerned. “We love the creative aspects of it—building something new, to our own standards, that can help people, and being part of a community of merchants working together to make the downtown vibrant,” says Argoff. “I enjoy finding creative ways to incorporate the benefits of herbs into everyday products and handcrafting them, but my favorite part of the work is the day-to-day interacting with customers, offering options based on a long history of herbal tradition, and having the customer come back and tell me they feel a bit better!”
New products are added and others discontinued based on customer feedback, so the inventory is as customized as the products—and those are made with enormous care. “Making all of our products right in our shop, we can absolutely guarantee the highest quality with no hidden surprises,” Argoff says. “What you see is exactly what our customers are getting. Making our own also means that we can customize products to meet individual needs.”
Heading to Catskill? Check print publications and Google for Stinging Nettle coupons, or come on a First Friday, when the whole merchant community conspires to offer specials and good times. But stopping by Stinging Nettle is a good time, anytime. “We try to make the shop environment as artistically beautiful and peaceful as possible,” says Argoff. “It’s a pleasure to spend the day there; many of our customers tell us that they feel better just walking in the door. Soothing our senses is a great stress-reliever.”
stinging nettle apothecary
424 Main Street, Catskill