With an ample supply of “Dragon's Blood,” “Super Placenta Extract” and “Schizandra Berries,” Herbs of Mexico in Boyle Heights provides enough exotic herbs and extracts to make even MacBeth's witches scratch their heads. A 32-ounce bottle of “Tonico Cerebral” promises to “optimize” your entire nervous system. An 8-ounce bag of Lavender ($2.60) is promoted as a remedy for cancer. A store manager said that a $35 bottle of “Flor Essence” would treat HIV-AIDS. Sure. Take every claim in the store with a grain of spirulina. And be sure to read the fine print, as it can moderate (or even contradict) the large-type claims made on the label. So what's to recommend about Herbs of Mexico? If you're already knowledgeable about herbs — their benefits and limitations — you'll find a remarkable variety of rare products, often at attractive prices. If you can tune out the implausible claims, Herbs of Mexico is a fascinating museum of nature, meticulously labeled, and preserved in bottles and Baggies. And their Web site, at least, is much more conservative in the claims made for their products. 3903 Whittier Blvd., Boyle Heights. (323) 261-5336, ext. 1011, herbsofmexico.com.

—Todd Krainin

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