Creating an Herbal Apothecary at Home

Why am I creating an herbal apothecary at home? For alternatives to medicine I take, to include, anxiety, migraines, sleeplessness, and pain. All things I suffer from. For years, I have had a deep longing to find medicine alternatives that I’ve been prescribed by my traditional doctors. I am not comfortable at being at the mercy of doctors that barely know me.

Well, the good search finally has offered solutions that I feel in control of. Creating a home apothecary is the answer for me. I will still buy and take natural supplements, because my home apothecary isn’t the be all, end all. However, I won’t have to buy as many. Every week, I make more so that I can take my own extracts and make tinctures as medicine alternatives.

The current medication I take, does help with several adverse symptoms. However, I do believe, that in taking this medicine, I’ve also gained many more side effects. I’ve taken this prescribed drug for long enough and it has led me to take an additional medicine for high blood pressure. I am certain it could be attributing with more side effects. What medicines will I be prescribed next to combat the side effects of that drug…and the next?

In addition, I have to limit over the counter medications because I have a mild allergy to Ibuprophren. I get itchy hives on my face when I have to take it, not to mention what allergy medications do to me.

Please don’t misunderstand me, conventional doctors are not the enemy (unless they aren’t working for the patient). There was a time in my life where I didn’t have the means to seek alternative healing through herbal tinctures and activities like art therapy. I needed medicine for PTSD, and I unfortunately still do suffer from bouts of severe anxiety. Some medicines work short term, and certainly helped when I didn’t have anything else.

DISCLAIMER: I am not suggesting you get off of any medications that are prescribed by your physician. Just because I feel it’s right for me, doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing for everyone. For instance, I have a severe allergy to ragweed. Through this journey, I have discovered several things I’m allergic to. There are many herbs in the ragweed family including chicory root and echinacea that I’ve discovered I’m mildly allergic to as well.

Though, I won’t have to worry about adverse effects or have to look up contraindications for the particular pharmaceutical medicines, I do still have to understand allergies to herbs. Despite that, it’s completely worth it to get my power back. If I don’t get these two serious conditions under control, it can lead to cardiac failure. I’ve played Russian roulette long enough and decided I would create an herbal apothecary at home.

So what did I do first in seeking alternatives to medicine?

I read articles, blogs, books, joined classes, and watched hours of videos on YouTube. I’ve researched it until I felt comfortable enough to even start. If you don’t want to dive straight in, I would suggest, just educating yourself first. Purchase one or two ready-made tinctures from reliable sources. Then determine if you want to invest in making apothecary herbs. Do your homework! It’s a lengthy process, but one you will feel confident about as you progress.

Buying tinctures and herbal extracts is expensive. When you buy the ingredients they are equally expensive, BUT, you will get 10-20 times the amount of herbal extract. So, in the long run, they are inexpensive. My suggestion would be to start with one herb at a time.

Making tinctures or extracts is simple, it just takes time and knowledge. You marinate or soak an herb in your menstruum or solvent for atleast 4 to 6 weeks. An herbal extract is any liquid (including water, alcohol, vinegar, or glycerin) that you use to soak or extract the medicinal qualities out of an herb. A tincture, specifically, uses alcohol; typically vodka or brandy that must be 80 proof or 40% alcohol and above. I have made many from brandy and many from vodka and they are equally strong.

If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can use food grade glycerin. It’s comparable to tasteless syrup. This is what I currently have percolating for my kids to use in the future for colds, pain and fever reducer. I have echinacea, white willow bark and feverfew. The feverfew herb in the brandy is, of course, for me.

Tidbits and things to get you started creating an herbal apothecary right in your home for alternatives to medicine.

  • A kitchen cabinet, shelf or dark closet space away from direct sunlight:

No, you do not need an amazing enormous apothecary cabinet (that’s on my wish list for my next house). Although it took me several weeks to make space for, I mostly am able to store everything in this one kitchen cabinet.

I did buy these small apothecary drawers for herbal seed storing. Right now, unfortunately I don’t have to space to display them properly. I normally store my seeds in this pink toolbox I got as a set of three.

  • A good source for information on herbs:

Start with one good book, so you can have a reference on hand. A good source will inform you of exact ratios for your herbal extracts and how much to take. I have four or more sources that I look through for different remedies, not including my aromatherapy books.

Rosemary Gladstar’s Beginners Guide of Medicinal Herbs, The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies, and The Herbalist’s Bible.

*Until you can buy a physical reference, you can go to YouTube, as I recommend these channels; Herbs with Rosalee, The Lost Herbs, and Herbs and Ease. There are many more online courses you can take and even some freebies included.

  • Dried or fresh herbs:

If you garden, most herbs can easily be started inside and moved into your garden in the spring. By early summer you will have inexpensive fresh herbs. Pots also work well for herbs. If gardening isn’t your thing, you can purchase dried herbs as I have done for many of my extracts. Here are two reliable sources in the US I have purchased from: Starwest Botanicals, and Frontier Natural Products Co-op. As you can see in my cabinet, I store the herbs in the bags they come packaged in.

  • Brandy and Glycerin:

Although you can use water, vodka, and vinegar, I prefer brandy for tinctures and glycerin for my kids extracts. Some people only use vodka. Tinctures will last 5 years to forever, depending on how they are prepared and stored. Glycerin will last a couple of years.

  • Notebook, labels and tags

Label everything, because they all start to look and smell similar after a while. No matter how good you think your memory is, write everything out in detail. Document what you used, measurements, ratios, dried or fresh, date, time to extract. I like triple the information, including labeling bottles, attaching tags and transcribing in a notebook the details of the entire process.

Glass jars, funnels, cheese cloth, wooden spoons, plastic lids for tincturing alcohol.

You don’t have to invest in the amber apothecary jars right away. Until you can buy an amber jar, you can extract in pickle jars, or similar, that have been sterilized Remember, you will have 4-6 weeks of waiting on your apothecary herbs. You really only need the amber jars for extended storage that could be near sunlight. I also bought dropper bottles for easy transport. These were all things I really wanted and I knew I would use them all.

No matter how your home apothecary looks, or how slow you go, taking your health in your own hands and creating natural alternatives to medicine is empowering! Even just one or two herbal tinctures can help you live a more natural life and stay in tune with the Earth.

**The products that are linked will never cost you more to click on the products that I have used and love. I am an affiliate of Amazon and earn a fractional percentage if you decide to purchase, so thank you!! It helps pay for this free to you blog.

You may also like...