The Home Apothecary
Every herbal home should have a well-equipt home apothecary filled with the tools and herbs needed to successfully treat common ailments.
The wonderful thing about herbalism is that anyone can practice it. Just by picking up a book on the subject, one can learn simple remedies from experts in the field. This is where my journey began. From there I started studying in earnest by taking classes through various herbal schools such as the Herbal Academy, which I highly recommend.
If you’re serious about incorporating herbs and herbal remedies into yourr family’s wellness plan, then there are certain herbs that I recommend every herbal home have on hand. Many of these can be harvested yourself from your own backyard while a few may need to be purchases from a trusted source.
Below I will share the herbs that I believe to be must-have herbs for your home apothecary.
Basic Herbs for the Home Apothecary
After deciding to start you own home apothecary to support you and your family’s wellness, you must also consider which herbs to stock up on. I recommend having at least one or two herbs for the following actions:
ADAPTOGENS (HELP THE BODY MANAGE STRESS)
IMMUNE MODULATING (SUPPORT IMMUNE HEALTH)
CARMINATIVE (SOOTHES UPSET DIGESTION)
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY (HELPS TO REDUCE INFLAMMATION)
ANTI-MICROBIAL (HELPS TO COMBAT POTENTIALLY HARMFUL MICROBES)
NUTRITIVE (SUPPORT GENERAL WELL-BEING)
I know it can be difficult to know exactly where to begin, which is why we are covering 13 incredible herbs that are multi-purpose and a great starting place for your home apothecary.
- Astragalus (adaptogen & immune modulating) supports healthy resistance from occasional physical and emotional stressors, and supports healthy immune function.
- Garlic (anti-microbial & nutritive) – It counters many infections, including those of the nose, throat and chest. It also reduces cholesterol, helps with circulation, and lowers blood sugar levels.
- Calendula (anti-inflammatory & anti-microbial) – The bright orange petals are an excellent remedy for inflammed skin. Its antiseptic properties and healing properties prevent the spread of infection and speed up the rate of repair. An infusion or tincture of calendula can be used to treat chronic infections.
Chamomile (carminitiv & anti-inflammatory) -This wonderful plant is often used to ease upset stomach, gas, diarrhea, insomnia, and anxiety. It’s important to note that if you are allergic to ragweed, then you should stay away from chamomile.
- Peppermint (carminitive & anti-microbial) – A personal favorite. Some people like this herb for its ability to help with upset stomach, headache, irritable bowel syndrome, and breathing problems
- Nettle (anti-inflammatory) – a fantastic herb to have on hand if you have any allergy sufferers in your home. This herb’s anti-inflammatory properties can can help improve seasonal allergies related symptoms.
- Yarrow (anti-inflammatory & anti-microbial) – this herb is helpful for disinfecting scrapes and healing wounds. It is also an excellent herbal ally for cold and flu season given its anti-inflammatory properties that can help support immune health.
- Ginger (carminitive & immune modulating) – The root of this plant is well known for its ability to help with nausea and upset stomach, and should not be overlooked. You might also try it to boost your appetite, to relieve arthritis pain, or to fight a cold.
- Dandelion Root (nutritive) – This is a great overall cleanse for the kidneys and liver, and adds a nice flavor to your teas.
- Echinacea (anti-inflammatory, immune modulating & anti-microbial) – Also know as Coneflower – research shows that this plant has the ability to raise the body’s resistance to bacterial and viral infections by stimulating the immune system. A useful herb in treating cold and flu and can also heal skin infections such as acne and boils.
- Turmeric (adaptogen, anti-inflammatory& anti-microbial) – A powerhouse of an herb, turmeric and especially its most active compound curcumin have many scientifically-proven health benefits, such as the potential to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. It’s a potent anti-inflammatory and may also help improve symptoms of depression and arthritis
- Elderberry (immune mudulating & nutritive) – A strong immune booster, elderberry also contains fiber for gut health and may help with joint pain.
- Holy basil (adaptogen & immune modulating) – A fantastic plant known to be able to tackle stress, anxiety, and inflammation. Use the leaves to make a relaxing cup of tea.
If you plan to purchase your herbs, I would always recommend buying from a trusted source. I swear by Mountain Rose Herbs. They offer one of the most thorough selections of certified organic herbs, spices, and botanical products and are committed to responsible sourcing.
If purchasing from Amazon,I like Frontier co-op. They’re dedicated to sourcing the highest quality spices, herbs and botanical products while creating life-changing opportunities for their growers, employees and their families. They’re driven by a simple purpose: to do good by their people and planet. And to create a stronger company built on a commitment to quality and sustainability.
Tools Needed to Build Your Home Apothecary
For the home apothecary to function at its best, there are certain basic tools recommended. Many of these you might already have, while other might become an investment over time. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, it highlights the basic tools needed for the beginner herbalist to get going with creating a functioning home apothecary.
Once you really start to delve into herbalism, you will see that many basic remedies involve infusions of herbs in water, or what we refer to as herbal teas. A nice tea kettle will be of great use to you, and whether you decide on a stovetop kettle or an electric one is totally up to you (I have both).
Making herbal teas is probably the most basic and simplest way that beginner herbalists can get started. Check out this recent post: HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN TEA BLEND PLUS 5 EASY HERBAL BLEND RECIPES
Everyone who loves herbs should own and use at least one mortar and pestle. This is a tool that has been used for preparing herbal medicines and remedies for centuries…since humans learned to create and use stone tools.
There’s also a rhythmic process to using a mortar and pestle that makes using it a pleasure and connects you to the work at hand the way a food processor could not. Preparing herbs this way allows a depth of flavor that you can’t get from a machine.
As you get more and more into herbalism, you will most likely become like the rest of us…jar collectors.
You will need clean jars of different sizes. Some to store herbs in and some to prepare tinctures, infused oils, infusions, etc. A good place to start is a variety of Ball canning jars in various sizes. They’re inexpensive and get the job done.
Unless you want bits of herbs floating in your tea infusions, then it’s absolutely necessary to have a tea strainer on hand. You can purchase a single-serve tea strainer that’s only meant to hold enough herbs for one cup of tea. You can get bigger strainers that can strain whole pots of tea, or you can purchase a French press. This has been a wonderful thing to have and makes making a few cup of herbal tea effortless.
7. Good Vodka & Carrier Oils
These three liquids are the base of many herbal preparations.
Vodka is used for making tinctures. 80 proof vodka is considered standard for most tinctures and should be used on fresh and dried herbs that don’t have a high moisture content (such as bay, dill, fennel, sage, and thyme).
Herbs: Our Nature Connection
There is something very creative and intuitive about working with herbs, which is probably what guided me towards practicing home herbalism in the first place. The more you learn, the more you realize how many healing plants surround our daily lives, and how connected we truly are with nature.
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