How to Build a Home Apothecary: using dried herbs, tinctures, & essential oils
Our home apothecary is essential in our household. It is quite amazing how many ailments you can treat at home with the right tools and knowledge. In our house, we have two preschoolers who are basically walking and talking petri dishes. This is why we like to stock our shelves with some herbs that are also safe for children. In these lists we are mainly going to focus on preserved herbal medicines, but keep in mind, the herb garden is a great way to grow your medicinal plants too!
Having dried herbs is a must for your home apothecary. Not only can you make herbal tea infusions and decoctions, but you can tincture, and make infused oils from them to add to salves, lip balms and lotions. Not only is it important to keep some individual herbs on hand, but also have some pre blended for a quick tea.
Here is a list of the 20 herbs we recommend to get started with:
- Dandelion Root
- Lemon balm
- Marshmallow root
- Nettle Leaf
Herbal Tea Blends:
We like to have at least a few herbal tea blends pre-made to make a quick tea.
- For upset stomachs
- For boosting the immune system for adult and children if they are in the home
- For relaxation
- For sleep assistance
- For increasing vitamin and mineral intake
We love tinctures because they are highly bioavailable, easy to use, and have long shelf lives. They can also be made easily and can be blended to make formulations. Here is a list of our recommended single tinctures to have on hand:
- Lemon balm
- Elderberry Glycerite
- Oregon Grape
Having pre-blended formulas makes it easy if you are needing to mend an ailment and grab something to take with you on the go. Check out what we typically have in our medicine cabinet.
- For building immunity adult and children
- For fighting a cold or flu
- For sleep assistance
- For aiding in digestion (bitters blend)
- For seasonal allergies if needed
- For cramping (menstrual or muscles)
- For headaches
Essential oils also play an important role in the home apothecary. You can defuse them into the air, you can apply to the skin with a carrier oil, you can add them to your handmade cleaning products, you can add them to your lotions, balms and salves. As herbalists we have studied at great length the best way to use essential oils is as an aromatic or topically, not internally as some might suggest. Due to this, having an essential oil diffuser and carrier oils to dilute the essential oil before topical use is a must to have in your medicine cabinet if essential oils are going to be part of it. Here is our list of top oils we like to have on hand:
- Eucalyptus R
- Tea Tree
- Blue Chamomile
Essential Oil Blends:
Essential oils are also great to have some blended up. Here are a few recommendations to have on hand:
Carrier oils are an important ingredient to have on hand when making medicine or when diluting essential oils. For more information about carrier oils check out our blog: Ultimate Guide to Carrier Oils.
Other ingredients suggested for medicine making:
- Beeswax for salve and lip balm making
- Salts for making calming or detoxifying baths
- Clays to extract bug bites and bee stings
- Emulsifying wax if you plant to make lotions or creams
- Butters such as shea butter or cocoa butter for making lotions, creams or balms
Supplies we suggest for medicine making:
- BOOKS! Education in this field is key! It helps you determine what you need in order to have the best outcome.
- Double boiler for lotions and salves
- Cheesecloth for straining herbs
- Infuser or french press for tea making
- Pan with a lid for decoctions
- Electric mixer for lotions
- Plenty of mason jars for tincturing and oil infusions
As with any herbal treatment, we always recommend you see professional advice before using herbal medicine. And, as always, if your symptoms are persistent, please consult your physician. This is for educational purposes only.
What are your favorite items in your home apothecary? Be sure to let us know in the comments below! Or even better, tag us @homsted_lifestyle to show us!!