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An apothecary is ideal because it provides more space for organizing, like shelves and drawers, plus you can store your herbs and the products you make with the herbs.
In ancient times, an Apothecary was an individual who kept a wide variety of healing herbs, balms, perfumes, soaps, creams, and medicines so they could be available for use. Today, an herbal apothecary generally refers to a place where you keep your medicinal herbs and remedies. Look at what an apothecary involves and how it can benefit you.
Herbs and Plants
There are a variety of powerful and versatile plants and herbs to choose from for your home apothecary. A selection of quickly grown and maintained plants like basil, lemon grass, parsley, peppermint, and rosemary can be very useful. Some plants, such as aloe vera, can be used on their own with little or no preparation, while others, like the anti-inflammatory herb mugwort, may take a small amount of mashing to make their best attributes more available.
A carrier is the base material used to deliver your mixtures’ properties. These can include butter, waxes, oils, lotions, and gels. Carrier oils are vegetarian, typically have a neutral odor, and often have a short shelf life. Other carriers, such as alcohol or wax, can last much longer, and in some cases, they can last indefinitely. Another good source to use when you blend your essential oils and herbs is witch hazel; here are some of its health benefits.
Essential oils are potent concentrations of herbal and plant-based properties that have been extracted through a process such as steam distillation and cold pressing and then added to an oil carrier. For example, lavender essential oil is known for its anti-anxiety and burn-healing effects.
Herbs to Put in Your Home Apothecary
As you know, an apothecary is a beautiful way to begin to keep herbs on hand for use in home remedies. The best herbs and plants for help are often live when processed, so you might ask yourself, “Which herbs are the best to grow for my personal use?” Here is more information about selecting the most accessible and versatile herbs to grow for your home apothecary.
Items and Accessories You Need For an Apothecary
Now, let’s discuss what you want to put in your apothecary. You already know the basics, like putting herbs and carrier oils in there, but some more items can be helpful.
A well-stocked apothecary will keep a wide range of tools, jars, bags, and other materials for extraction, mixing, and creation of other apothecary items. For example, you could use cheesecloth or fine filters of different types in pressing. Containers of various sizes should be available.
The shelf will be where you store your items and tools, preferably with drawers for easy tool storage and ingredients that should be kept in the dark. The proper organization goes a long way when setting up your apothecary.
A mortar and Pestle is a two-piece tool that can be used for grinding or mashing plant material and other ingredients. You will want to find one that doesn’t leave residue in your mixture for purity reasons. They can be found relatively inexpensively online, or you can quickly get them from natural food and herbalist stores. Plus, they are fun to use!
Jars of Various Sizes
You will also require an assortment of jars for storage in your apothecary, though you don’t have to be too picky about what types of jars you use. Mason jars work perfectly well. Different-sized jars will be necessary, as some herbs will not take up the same amount of space or be distilled into more concentrated forms. These jars will help make your storage area much more space-efficient.
These must apply and regulate the amounts you add to carriers when making your mixtures. Keeping a few extra on hand is always good, as you will want to ensure that some substances don’t come in contact with each other.
Mesh Strainers and Cheesecloth
A large portion of natural herbal products’ recipes calls for extracting chemicals from plant matter; this is where a type of filter will come in handy. These items will allow the precious fluids to pass through and leave the plant matter behind to be discarded or repurposed.
Bags of different sizes can be used to make tea bags, poultices, and compresses. Linen is a thin cloth that will allow a liquid to pass through and deliver the healing properties of your herb. Making a simple tea bag is easy. You fill a small suitcase with tea leaves and herbs and cinch it shut using a 6-inch piece of linen string.
Tips For Storing and Organizing Your Herbs
One of the integral parts of having an apothecary at home is having one that is well organized. It’s important because you don’t just have drawers with different herbs. Instead, you will likely have a combination of dried and ground herbs using your mortar and Pestle, along with jars of tinctures, salves, lotions, and poultices you have made. Here are some helpful tips for storing and organizing your herbs.
Decide What Storage You Want – Including Shelves
An apothecary will include some shelves or drawers depending on where everything is stored, such as a cabinet or an actual apothecary providing drawers. The ideal shelf would allow you to see a large portion of your inventory, but it also contains drawers, enabling you to keep a few items out of sight.
Make Sure Everything is Labeled
Since you are dealing primarily with organic material, they will likely have a shelf life. Labeling them is a good idea to know when you procured them. Keep a spot in your cabinet or shelf where you will always have your pen or pencil ready.
Know the Shelf Life of Your Herbs
When you have complete or whole herbs and plants, they will generally last longer, so if you keep the buds or leaves on the branch or stalk instead of plucking them off, you will add some lifespan to your ingredients. If owning a whole stock isn’t possible, keep as much of the plant together as possible.
Organize Your Dry Herbs
Dry plant matter will remain impervious to molds and rot. You can get a home dehydrator, make a drying screen, or hang them upside down. Well-dried herbs crumble between fingers.
Have Airtight Containment
Exposing your herbs to the air can lower their potency. However, airtight containers with a substantial seal can help extend their lives well past how long they typically last. Opt for the lids with a seal around the edge or flip-top style.
Keep Herbs Out of Sunlight
As you start organizing your apothecary herbs, ensure nothing is left out in the sunlight. While sunlight is beneficial for the growth of your herbs, keeping them in direct sunlight can damage or destroy your properties. Instead, try using dark-colored glass or storing them in a drawer. If you keep them in a drawer, ensure they are cool. Too warm a temperature can weaken your herbs and shorten their shelf life.
Well, there you go, an overview of starting an Apothecary. So, how about starting one in the new year? Please let me know if you do.