Healthy Living – Setting Up a Kitchen Herbal Pharmacy
As you build your kitchen herbal pharmacy, you’ll need supplies to keep the herbs safe from damage and infestation.
Herbs are natural plant materials, so they are sensitive to air, light, humidity and temperature. With the right supplies, you can prevent the herbs from deteriorating in their scent, flavor and color. With the time and effort you put forth in your garden, correctly storing herbs is the best gift you can give yourself.
What Supplies Do I Need to Start an Herbal Kitchen Pharmacy?
The advantage to starting an herb garden is that it’s very inexpensive. You can use things from around your own home to start planting your garden, such as a square garden gate and metal herb containers.
When you harvest and dry the herbs, you can hang them upside down in individual bundles or place them on a drying screen. Up until this point, everything you need is minimal. When storing the herbs however, you will need a few basic supplies.
Herbs are best stored in glass jars, preferably colored ones. Glass is ideal because it provides an airtight seal while also allowing the herbs to breathe. The dark colored glass is best since it blocks sunlight, but as long as the herbs aren’t in any contact with direct sun, clear glass jars will be suitable.
Glass containers also have the advantage that you can see into them, which is nice when you want to know what herb is inside the jar.
Plastic containers have their advantages because they are convenient, inexpensive and easy to find. The downside is that the plastic material doesn’t provide good airflow, so it won’t keep the herbs fresh for nearly as long.
Additionally, plastic can affect the smell and taste of the herbs. If you do choose to use plastic, use it for a short time only. It’s not a long-term solution if you want to properly store herbs for an extended period.
In addition to airtight glass containers, you will also need labels to stick onto the jars. This small but effective step will help keep track of what’s inside the jars.
Write the name of the herb on the label as well as the date, and stick the label on the outside of the jar or on the lid, wherever you will see it best. As your herbal kitchen pharmacy grows, you will know exactly what herbs you have and how old they are.
How Do I Store Herb Infused Medicinal Oils?
Dried herbs aren’t the only things that can be stored in jars. As you learn about the various herbal mixtures you can make, you will need to store these too. Herb infused oils can sound intimidating to make, but they’re actually quite easy and an effective way to widen your herbal kitchen.
Dried herbs are always best when making medicinal oils and will provide the mixture with a longer shelf life. Using glass jars, you can combine the dried herbs with an oil of your choice, such as olive oil, coconut oil or apricot oil.
The mixture can then be stored in a glass container with an airtight seal, the same ones you would store herbs in. You’ll also use labels with these oils, except take it one step further by adding the ingredients that are in the jar.
For instance, if you’ve combined dried herbs with grapeseed oil, write all of this information down on the label. Some people choose to add a preservative such as Vitamin E or grapefruit seed extract, and this should also be noted on the label.
You should also write down how to use the medicinal oil so that you know exactly what the use is for. Imagine scrounging for something natural in the middle of the night to treat an upset stomach or a stuffy nose.
If you choose the wrong jar, you could make the symptoms worse or create a negative reaction. Keep everything simple and easy to read, but be sure to provide enough information so that you know what you’re working with.
Getting My Herbal Kitchen Pharmacy Set Up
Glass Mason jars are ideal because they come in a wide variety of sizes, are made of sturdy glass and have tight-fitting lids. It’s easy to add labels to them, and if you buy the jars in a bulk case, labels will be included. Keep in mind that most Mason jars are clear, so if you opt for these, keep them in a dark space. You can also find colored jars that are used for jams and jellies and will help block out sunlight.
Essential oils can be stored in amber colored bottles that include droppers, or you may simply store the medicinal mixtures in the same glass Mason jars. Depending on the type of oil that you’ve made, it can be stored in the refrigerator or in a dark room, out of the way of direct sunlight. All of these supplies can be purchased online or from certain grocery or craft stores.
You’ll save money if you buy in bulk, so consider shopping online for a case of glass jars that include airtight lids.
Many gardeners find that printing labels off of their computer is cheap and effective since they can type up the name of the herb, the date and the ingredients, if applicable. The final piece to the puzzle is finding a prime location for your herbal kitchen pharmacy. Ideally, you want a space that is dark, empty and has good airflow.
Large closets or pantries are a great start, but not everyone has these places. You may have to expand your boundaries and consider a basement, unused corner in the home or a shed.
As you grow your pharmacy, it’s important that you have consistency and organization. The ideal herbal pharmacy includes shelves so that the herbs can be neatly placed in jars with labels clearly printed on the outside.
You can easily build the shelves using pieces of wood or by creating a simple bookcase-style unit. Metal kitchen racks or wire shelves also work well.
Building an herbal pharmacy takes time, but it will be your ultimate craft. When you have natural herb infused oils, dried herbs and essential oils to treat a variety of symptoms and boost the health content of your food, you will learn to trust the natural solutions that can enrich our lives both mentally and physically.Share with friends!