Local Business Statement

Inner Ecology™ is proud to be a locally-owned, locally-operated, independent business serving an exceptional community of local professionals and their patients. To honor our profession’s natural affinity for personalized service, Inner Ecology is the first small business of its kind to make a public commitment to focusing locally.

East Asian herbology is, by its very nature, a local profession.

As healers who specialize in a medicine that requires the use of our hands and somatic senses as our main tools, our success is generated within the most intimate of landscapes. This unique role not only helps to connect us to the intricate, biodynamic web that weaves us all together; it also allows us the opportunity to provide valuable, personalized services to our neighbors.

What does 'local' mean for a purveyor of East Asian medicinals in the U.S.?

At Inner Ecology, it means a commitment to high quality care for our customers and their patients. It also means a true dedication to the overall sustainability of herbology in the Midwest, including the eventual “greening” of the entire profession nationwide.

Inner Ecology is your source for custom herbal formulas.

While we specialize in East Asian herbs, that doesn’t mean that all of them hail from Asia, nor does it mean that they always will. We envision a future in which practitioners of East Asian herbology in the U.S. support a thriving economy of domestically cultivated herbs grown by farmers who are paid a fair living wage.

To describe in more detail what makes our business “local,” we’ll guide you, step-by-step, in increasingly larger concentric circles of geography: Chicago, the Midwest, and the United States.

Chicago: Our City and Surrounds

Inner Ecology serves NCCAOM-certified herbologists across the continental United States from our office conveniently located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. From here we provide:

Personalized customer service

right around the corner from many of our customers’ practices. Our central location makes it easy for our Chicago-based practitioners and patients to pick up their herbal formulas and have face-to-face conversations with the people who compound them.

Quick and inexpensive bicycle delivery

to many residential neighborhoods as well as to the Loop. We keep multiple herb messengers on the ready to deliver orders within a 5-mile radius of our office. This service allows practitioners to know that their prescribed formulas will be applied when they are most needed. Not only does our bike delivery service put money in the pockets of local cyclists and reduce our carbon footprint; it’s fun for everyone involved.

Because of our commitment to staying local, we can engage in:

Strong professional relationships

with the nearby herbal community. As herbal practitioners ourselves, we maintain connections to the nearby schools of East Asian Medicine, as well as the Illinois Association for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Together, we strive to strengthen and protect the profession of East Asian Herbology through educational outreach and policy advocacy efforts.

Providing secure jobs at a fair living wage

by hiring Chicago-based highly skilled workers able to apply their East Asian Medical educations in the service of their colleagues. Even before we opened for business to the public, we were early signatories to the Businesses for a Fair Minimum Wage in Illinois.

Our employees cultivate enhanced skills in the practice of source herbology – a profession quite unto itself. In this way, we contribute to the maturation of East Asian Medicine in North America, as such maturation requires that the medicine have its own clinicians and researchers, farmers and pharmacists, professors and entrepreneurs.

The Midwest: Our Region

Even hundreds of miles away, Inner Ecology may currently be a clinical herbologist’s closest source for the safe, sustainably sourced, superior-quality herbal medicals needed for patient care.  Yet we remain well aware of the region within which we are located.  As a Midwestern company, we strive to:

Grow relationships with local farmers

 As demand for sustainable, domestically grown herbs increases amongst clinical herbologists and the patients they serve, it becomes possible to expand our partnerships with local urban and rural farmers, providing them with an additional source of income while reducing the need for us to ship herbs from across the globe.

Strengthen our profession

by focusing our efforts right where we are rooted and celebrating the success of companies with similar missions who likewise choose to focus in their own regions. We believe, in E.F. Schumacher’s words, that “small is beautiful” and see that we collectively enrich our profession’s goals more by cooperation than by competition.

The United States: Our Nation

Even as Inner Ecology works to bring sustainability closer to home, we collaborate with others across the nation who share the same goals. We also act to ensure that our herbal heritage is protected so that future sustainability efforts are possible. To those ends, we:

Support domestic herb cultivators

by carrying a selection of herbs grown in the U.S. Some of our medicinals hail from as close as Wisconsin, while others travel to us from as far as California, New York, or North Carolina. All of these domestically cultivated medicinals travel a much shorter distance than their Chinese or Taiwanese counterparts. Many of the domestic growers whose products we carry not only supply clinical herbologists with the quality raw materials they need to practice; they also conduct research into the best ways to cultivate herbs on U.S. soil. By buying from these growers, Inner Ecology makes a long-term investment in the sustainability of East Asian herbology.

Safeguard the profession

so that all may benefit from it. By carefully selecting the herbs we carry for quality and safety and by confirming that our customers meet the highest professional standards for herbology currently available, we greatly minimize the risk of anyone misusing the herbs we sell. By ensuring that our herbal medicinals are used safely and within their intended scope, we maintain the integrity of the profession and contribute to the sustainability of our field of medicine. And by carefully observing the directives of current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), we provide leadership that protects an ages-old medicine within its modern-day context.

Inner Ecology sprang into existence with the explicit goal of re-establishing the rootedness of our profession, albeit in transplanted soils. Our mission is intrinsically local. By choosing us, our customers and their patients can be proud that they help us to re-fortify the local nature of our profession every day.