A Simple Guide | Setting up your Herbal Apothecary

This simple guide serves as a how-to set up your own herbal apothecary. Whether it be securely stored in a traveling trunk or neatly displayed upon a series of shelves. The home apothecary is a scared space that allows for magic to take place.

As does ebb & flow the course of life, ever changing & unpredictable from moment to moment. As my life has been over the course of the last few years. Which is why I have come to accept the Zen Buddhist belief in impermanence | that states; all conditioned existence, without exception, is “transient, evanescent, & inconstant” |

Having spent the last few years in a dynamic state of exploration, by way of traveling, learning, & experiencing. Not having a home to call my own, nor a space sufficient for an apothecary. I learned to be adaptable in my approach to herbalism & medicine making, having in the past created a small travel apothecary that I could easily access and assemble on the go. Since then, I have come to call upon only a few select items that I consider to be essential to any apothecary. Whether it be securely stored in a traveling trunk or neatly displayed upon a series of shelves. I now find myself living a more settled life and have a closet apothecary to call my own. One filled with my trusted essentials and a few extras I picked up along the way. As the title states though, this simple guide merely serves as a foundation and can be expanded upon given your unique circumstance and need.

Making Space

When it comes to choosing a space for your home apothecary, always remember to first assess your current circumstance and then adjust accordingly. Although there are ideal conditions to strive toward when creating your space, you are not bound by these & don’t be afraid to let your creativity guide you along the way.

| Environment | It’s important to choose a space that’s not in direct sunlight, remains dry, and is preferably temperature controlled. Spaces that are damp or susceptible to molds, such as a bathroom or unfinished basement are not recommended. Either are spaces that experience extreme variations in temperature, such as a sunroom or attic.  These conditions can make herbs + herbal preparations go stale, become musty, or mold, as well as affect glassware over time.

| Organization | Keeping your space organized is key to maintaining a well-functioning apothecary. This includes daily observation, proper storage techniques, and labeling. Take time to visit your apothecary space at least once a day and interact with your herbs + herbal preparations | smell, touch, & taste them, not only to ensure their quality but to experience their varying effects over time | Research proper storage techniques for different herbs + herbal preparations, through this you will come to find that there is a lot of variation inbetween herbs & herbal preparations | From having a shelf-life of a 1 year to over 6 years | I highly recommend this book, especially for the budding herbalist as it is full of practical know-how & knowledge regarding herbal storage techiques as well as medicine making.

| Labeling | Label, Label, Label, always remember to label your herbs + herbal preparations. I myself, have fallen victim to this a countless number of times and now keep a hanging sheet of labels + pens in my apothecary to ensure that I follow through with this simple task. Below is an example of one of my labels with the basic information included for storage.

| Containers | When it comes to choosing containers, I always recommend glass containers for long-term storage. I have come to use various types of glassware over the years, including wide-mouth mason jars | of all sizes – from pint to gallon | vintage glass jars, and amber glass jars + bottles. When possible, I like to keep a fresh supply of quart-sized mason jars on hand as they make excellent storage & medicine making jars. I also like to keep a variety of amber glass bottles + jars | of all sizes – from 1 oz & up | on hand for storing finished herbal preparations. When you purchase dried herbs, they often come in a vacuum sealed plastic bag, which I have also used for short-term storage. Although, be mindful not to expose them to direct sunlight and keep them stored in a dry, dark, place within your apothecary.

| Tools | Below is a list of tools I have come to regard as essential to my apothecary

  • A Morter & Pestle
  • An Electric Coffee Grinder
  • A set of glass Measuring Cups + Spoons
  • Glass Beakers + Graduated Cylinders
  • An Electric Kitchen Scale
  • A Stainless Steel, Glass, or Ceramic Double Broiler (or Pot)
  • Various Sized Strainers
  • Wooden Utensils
  • A set of Knives & a Knife Sharpener
  • A Wooden Cutting Board
  • Various Sized Woven Baskets (the flat circular ones are especially good for indoor herb drying)
  • Unbleached Cheese Cloth or Unbleached Cotton Gauze
  • Unbleached Natural Paper Tea Bags
  • Glass Containers (Mason Jars, Vintage Glassware, & Amber Glass Bottles + Jars)
  • Blank Sticker Labels + Ink Pens
  • Herbal Reference Books on Ethnobotany | Plant Identification | Wild-harvesting | Organic Gardening | Medicine Making | TWH | TCM | Ayurveda | EXCT.

| Additional Extras |

  • A Stainless Steel Tincture Press
  • A Copper Still for Hydrosols + Essential Oils
  • Wooden or Silicone Soap Molds

To Read More .. Follow the Link .. A Simple Guide | Setting up your Herbal Apothecary | Continued

Information offered on The Florestic is for educational purposes only. The Florestic makes neither medical claim, nor intends to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Links to external sites are for informational purposes only. The Florestic neither endorses them nor is in any way responsible for their content. Readers must do their own research concerning the safety and usage of any herbs or supplements.

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