Creating An Apothecary From The Garden / Homesteading / Herbal Medicine Herbs

Creating a Herbal Apothecary for 
your homestead is a beneficial way   to keep your medicinal herbs and essential 
oils, jars, bottles and brews organized. I use medicinal herbs for making healing remedies 
for all sorts of ailments. I make oils, tinctures,   herbal vinegars, I use them in salves, 
soaps, in beauty products, heat sacks,   for cold packs and even for pest control, they're 
also good for poultices and for making teas.  Growing and preserving your own herbs means you 
know that they're grown clean without chemicals,   they're picked at their peak and how fresh they 
are when you come to use them. Even if you're   growing in pots, you can harvest small amounts 
of herbs regularly when they're at their peak,   picking a small amount of herbs at a time may 
not seem beneficial but over the whole season   you'll end up with quite a lot.

Knowing what you 
want to use your herbs for, what ailments you want   to treat or remedies you want to have on hand for 
a homestead emergency and knowing what herbs grow   well in your area will help you to decide what 
you want to grow for your apothecary cupboard. Every medicinal herb has numerous uses and 
there are numerous herbs that can be used   for the same ailment so you should be able 
to find one that is suitable for your needs.

I only use Aloe Vera fresh when I 
need it. I recommend that you grow it,   if you can where you live, but it's not one 
you need to put in your Apothecary cupboard. If you're buying your herbs for your Apothecary 
make sure you buy them from a reputable seller   so you can be sure you have quality, fresh herbs 
with no pesticides or chemicals used on them.   Using toxic plants for healing purposes isn't 
going to work so well. If you're foraging for   herbs, be certain of the plant's identification, 
some herbs look very similar and can have very   different outcomes.

Don't forage next to farms or 
busy roadways as pollutions and chemical runoff   are absorbed by the herbs making them not so 
good for eating or using for medicinal purposes.   Only harvest a small amount, leaving most 
of the plant to recover, continue growing   or to set seed so that it can make more 
plants and more medicine for everyone. When and how you harvest your herbs depends on 
the part of the plant that you're wanting to   harvest for the medicinal purpose and the type 
of plant, that it is whether it's an annual,   a biannual or a perennial. Harvesting 
the leaves is best done in Spring maybe   even early summer when the leaves 
are nice and fresh and newly grown.   Harvest the herb flowers when the flowers are 
in bloom and they're at their peak and they look   beautiful. I usually Harvest them in the morning 
when all the oils are strong in the flowers. Harvesting roots and tubers is best 
done when the plant is dormant,   so that can be the end of autumn or 
through winter if you don't get heavy   snow.

I live in an area where I can harvest 
my tubers and Roots all through the winter. You want to do it when the plant has died down, 
before any snow or really heavy frost comes,   that's when all the goodness is 
inside the roots and tubers and   they're not putting all the energy 
into growing leaves and flowers. If the herb is an annual, that 
means the plant only lasts one year,   they die off and they have to be replanted 
every year.

Perennials last a long time,   they're plants that just keep coming back 
each year on the same roots and tubers and biannuals are plants that last for only two 
years. The first year they produce their leaves,   which is the foliage and then the 
second year they produce their flower.   If you're going to harvest the root of a biannual 
you need to harvest it before it goes to flower   because otherwise all that energy goes into the 
flower and it will no longer be in the root or   the tuber but if you want the flower then let 
it go to flower and then harvest the flowers.  I have three dark burgundy roses, they're 
standard plants that I took cuttings from,   from the farm I used to live at before I lived 
at moat Cottage.

It was an Old Homestead and   these roses have the most amazing scent and I use 
them in salves, soaps, pillows and even lemonade. Mugwort grows big quite quickly so harvesting 
the leaves is a good opportunity to prune it,   to keep it in shape and get it to the 
shape that you really want it to be in   and you get the benefit of using the leaves. I like to clean up the herbs outside so that I can 
drop the bits on the ground and they go back into   the earth, any damaged or dry leaves that are 
a little bit yellowy, I take them off because   I don't want them, I want the prime good quality 
leaves for my preserving, to use in my apothecary. Drying herbs can be done in numerous ways, I 
dry my herbs in many different ways depending   on what part of the herb I'm drying, whether it's 
the root, the tuber, the leaves or the flowers,   what time of year it is, how warm or cold 
it is and the humidity at the time of year   that I'm drying something. It also depends 
on how I'll be using the final product.   I'm drying my mugwort in small bunches 
that I'll hang from the curtain rail,   I tie them up with brown string and I make sure 
that it's nice and tight because when the herbs   dry they shrink down and they can fall out 
of the string if it's not tight enough.   Hang them out of direct sunlight and you can 
also hang them on sticks that are hanging on   the wall as well or broomsticks or ladders it all 
works the same.

For my smaller batches of drying,   I use paper bags, I have the same bags every year 
and each bag has a different type of Herb in it.   This bag is for rose petals and I make sure 
I break them up so that they can dry evenly   and there's no parts that will go mouldy. 
I make sure the bags go in a warm location,   that can be the car or a warm room or a warm 
cupboard but they do need to be shaken every day.   I add freshly harvested flowers into the 
bag when they come in from the garden,   this is great for small batches because 
I'm only getting a few flowers every day   and that way I can eventually have a full bag 
of flowers but I do leave enough room so that   the air can circulate when I'm shaking 
the bag, so that they don't go mouldy.

I find that using a dehydrator is good for 
the roots and tubers as well as when you've   got big batches of leaves to dry. Herb leaves 
like mugwort and comfrey need to be dehydrated   on the lowest temperature which is about 35 
degrees Celsius that's 95 degrees Fahrenheit. If the leaves are big like the comfrey then you 
can chop them up a bit so that it helps with   the drying process and there's more airflow 
that can circulate around the dehydrator.   With the mugwort I don't worry about 
cutting it up, there's enough room for   the air to circulate and you can have more 
than a single layer of the herb leaves. Labelling your herb storage containers, your oils 
tinctures and other concoctions is very important,   you need to know what is in each container, 
you also need to know if there's a use by   date on anything as well or the date that you 
made something so that you're using things   while they're still good. You can use oil-based 
textas on your jars, that's good for labelling,   but I find if it's an oil-based product 
that the paint comes off the jar.   I've printed out some labels onto some vinyl 
sticker paper so my jars are getting an update.

When your herbs are fully dry and 
there's no moisture left in them,   they're ready to store away in airtight 
containers. I use jars with lids on   them and I store them in my Apothecary 
cupboard, which is a dry dark location. Depending on how I'm going to be using 
the herb depends on how I store the herb,   whether I blend it up into a powder, 
whether I have it chopped up and just   store it in a jar or whether 
I keep it whole in the jar.

Some things I even keep in bunches 
and just leave them hanging until I   need to use them, it really depends on what it is. I usually store the flowers, leaves and roots 
or tubers of the same plant in separate jars,   so that I can use the part of the herb that I want 
to use for whichever purpose I'm using it for. Comfrey is a good example of this, I like 
to diversify where I keep my comfrey,   so I have the leaves dried and I turn some into 
a powder, I have some whole and I also have the   root dried and I have the root in the freezer 
as well.

When I'm using the root for face masks   it can't be dehydrated because if you add water to 
it it just doesn't work the same for that purpose.   My bigger batches of herbs, like my Lavender 
flowers and some of my Calendula flowers I   keep on the top shelf in my kitchen, 
only because they're in much bigger   jars and there's not enough room for 
everything in my Apothecary cupboard. I also keep a sample of all of my herb parts 
in the Apothecary box so that I have a sample   of each part of each herb, so I can grab it in 
a hurry if I need it. By the end of the season   this box will be filled with a variety of all the 
different herbs that I'll be using over the year.

We've finally made it to the Apothecary cupboard, 
this is where I store all my dried herbs,   my essential oils, carrier oils, tinctures that 
have been brewed, infused oils and vinegars, some   other remedies. It's all in date, fresh, labelled 
well and organized so that I can find everything.   Up the top here is where I keep the excess things 
that I've made like salves, bath salts and soaps   so that they're easy to find when we need them. In this part of the apothecary cupboard I store 
the box of apothecary herbs, I keep my vodka which   is my alcohol that I use for tinctures, 
I also store all my jars and containers.  I use these Amber Jars with lids for 
brewing tinctures and herbal oils the Dropper Bottles are good for 
tinctures that go under the tongue Essential Oil Bottles for 
mixing up aromatherapy blends  Amber Jars for ointments lotions or salves the Roller Bottles are used for herbal 
oil applications and deodorants.  The Aluminium Containers are for salves and 
the Spray bottles are for topical tinctures,   once they've been mixed with water and 
they just get sprayed on externally.  I've left some Amazon links below for the 
US Australia UK and Canada if you want to   purchase any of these products.

So this is 
my Apothecary cupboard, how I keep it all   organized and I restock and replenish it so that 
it's ready for anything. I hope by the end of the   Summer I will have it fully restocked and I'll 
have many tinctures for all sorts of ailments.   Thanks so much for watching, subscribing, 
liking and commenting and supporting my channel..

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