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An Alternative Selection 

Herbal remedies, detox products and incense burners are just a few of the products offered at the Herb Import Company.

Alternative remedies for a host of ailments stock the shelves at the Herb Import Company (5055 Canal St., 488-4889; 711 S. Peter St., 525-4372; www.herbimport.com), where there's also a selection of tobacco accessories, incense, massage oils and hard-to-find health products, including an array of bulk herbs. The Canal Street location even has an espresso bar.

"We sell herbal alternative products, supplements for cardiovascular health, dieting aids, detox kits and homeopathic remedies, and we have an espresso bar and specialty tea shop," says store manager Den-A. "We also have bulk herbs and vitamins, incense, massage and spiritual supplies and a mini tobacco accessories shop. And we might have the largest selection of vaporizers in the South."

Herb Import is known primarily as an alternative tobacco supply shop, but Den-A says its detoxification systems draw customers as well.

"Our body detox is popular," Den-A says. "There's a whole system called Renew Life that sells well. It was formulated by a physician, and it works." The shop also sells hair and urine detox kits, and herbal blends that enhance sexual experiences also are in high demand.

"We're popular for herbs that help with sexual stimulation for both men and women, but mostly for men," Den-A says. "Guys who don't feel comfortable taking a prescription come to us."

Herb Import staff members can recommend products that will help their customers treat all kinds of ailments. Den-A says the employees' in-depth knowledge of herbal remedies is what makes Herb Import different from other vitamin and herb stores.

"We're not allowed to diagnose, but we are extremely good at giving people information and helping them make decisions about what they need," Den-A says. "The customer service and the knowledge base here is way more extensive than at any corporate store. We have a more intense grasp on herbal usage."

All of Herb Import's products are available on the company's Web site, which ships goods anywhere, but now customers can visit two more store locations. Shops in Slidell and Louisville, Ky., opened recently, and Den-A says the company has plans to launch a store in California soon.

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