The Herbal Medicine Cabinet

With winter approaching and me feeling a little more settled at home, I decided to tackle a not-so-typical job this week.  It was time to clean out the herb pantry and start planning my upcoming medicine making.

The Herb Cabinet

The first thing I did was go through everything and take inventory.  I wanted to see what herbs I had on hand and which ones I needed to purchase.  Then I begin to organize everything.

On my bottom shelf, I store all my bags of loose bulk herbs.  These are herbs that I buy in larger quantities and use more frequently.  For instance, my pregnancy tea herbs, boo boo salve herbs, and my triple threat cold and flu fighter herbs are all on this shelf.  Next, I have a shelf full of canning jars.  I use these to store herbs that I use in small quantities, or ones that only have a little left.  I peeled off the labels from the bags the herbs came in and adhered them to the jars so that I could easily tell what was in them.  I also keep some of my storebought teas on this shelf.  I like to buy the Traditional Medicinals teas.  Even though I make glycerites with essentially the same ingredients the teas, it is sometimes more comforting to drink a cup of tea when you are sick so I keep both on hand.  On the top shelf, I keep my supplies.  These include different oils, glycerine, witch hazel, beeswax…all kinds of goodies.  I use these for both my medicine making and my skincare products.

As I organized the herbs in my cabinet, I made not of anything I was out of.  This time it looks like I need to order more bentonite clay.  I check the herbs to make sure that they still have a strong, fresh smell.  Any of the herbs that look faded, have faint, musty smells, or that just don’t seem fresh get tossed out.  Because I am making medicine for my family, I want to make sure that the herbs I will use are of the best quality.

{FYI: Just learned this week that smelling and tasting herbs to determine their freshness has a big scientific name…organoleptic evaluation…makes sense.  We are evaluating with our organs!}

Bottles, Bottles, and More Bottles

In my bathroom, I keep my tinctures, glycerites, and any other supplements I might have.  I went ahead and pulled all of these out to see what I might be running low on.  I organized everything by type of medicine so that I could more easily remember what might be missing.  I really should keep a master list, I just haven’t gotten that organized yet!

So my groups include:

1) essential oils – I only use these topically as they can be very taxing on the body if taken internally.  The main ones I like to keep on hand are tea tree oil (which I need to buy) and lavender eo.  I also use rosemary in my lipbalm, and several others in my soaps, but as for medicine tea tree oil and lavender are my go to’s.

2) tinctures – I haven’t used tinctures a whole lot, just because I use glycerites to treat the kids.  However, as I am learning more about medicine making, I am going to step out this winter and make some tinctures.  And since I will be strutting down the liquor aisle, I am also going to try my hand at vanilla extract!  Can’t wait!

3) supplements – These are various things I have accumulated over the course of time for various illnesses.  The only supplements I keep regularly are garlic capsules, acidophilus, and prenatals.  I recently bought some burdock root to help with the eczema on my daughter’s hands and cranberry capsules for a uti.  I try not to clutter up my cabinets with too many bottles of miscellaneous pills.

4) glycerites – These are really the staple of my medicines.  I usually either make these myself, or buy them from Trilight Herbs.  The ones I regularly buy are the White Willow, Sinus Minus, and Scout Out.  The reason I buy these is because I want to make sure they are 1) strong enough and 2) in the case of Sinus Minus and Scout Out, they have a more complicated formula than I am comfortable making at this point.  Some of the ones that I make myself are echinacea & thyme, cherry bark cough syrup, elderberry syrup, tummy relief, and the triple threat I mentioned above.  All of these have only a few simple ingredients and are easy to make.

The Final Count

After organizing and putting everything back in it’s place, I have devised a plan to build up my medicinal herb cabinet.

Need to Order:

Trilight Herbs (thankfully they are on sale right now for 15% off)

  • white willow
  • sinus minus
  • scout out

Lucky Vitamin

  • garlic capsules
  • acidophilus
  • tea tree essential oil
  • st. john’s wort oil

Mountain Rose Herbs

  • bentonite clay
  • glycerine

Need to Make:

  • cherry bark cough syrup
  • elderberry syrup
  • triple threat
  • tummy relief

And I don’t want to forget, vanilla extract. Not necessarily a medicinal herb, but I want to make it while I am making all the rest!

My friend Keri Mae at A Happy Home is sharing her favorite “must have” herbs. So please stop by and say hi to her. I am anxious to see what she working on so I can get a few ideas myself (I always get ideas when I visit her site!).

What about you? Do you have an herbal medicine cabinet? What are your must haves in your cabinet?

Linked up at The Homestead Barn Hop

Comments

  1. “smelling and tasting herbs…makes sense” ha yes, it does make SCENTS 🙂 Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

  2. In advance of the cold weather that will eventually hit us here in North Texas, I am currently harvesting my gotu kola, dandelion roots, jiaogulan, marshmallow and holy basil for tincturing.

    The Bell Back 400 (as in feet, not acres) is ready for Winter. I chronicle my adventures in the garden at http://www.mylifeinthedirt.com.

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