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Jun. 13--Christy Porter offers her customers lots of time for talk and plenty of thyme for health. Six days a week, Porter dispenses information about the virtues of natural products for leading a healthy lifestyle in today's harried, dog-eat- dog world.
And in some cases, her business is aimed at easing what ails people. "I've always been interested in helping people live healthier lives," said Porter, owner of the Urban Herbalist, one of the few herb shops in the Sacramento Valley region. "We really are a health illiterate society."
For the past 12 months, customers old and young have flocked to Porter's small, brightly painted midtown Sacramento shop. The store is stocked with jars filled with pungent- and sweet-smelling herbs, bottles of aromatic oils and fragrant lotions and boxes of zesty medicinal teas.
The Urban Herbalist is trying to carve out a financial niche in the fast- growing industry of dietary supplements.
Last year, the market, which includes herb supplements and …