It can be overwhelming, to say the least, when taking the leap and building your home apothecary. Before rushing out and purchasing mountains of beginner herbalist supplies I advise you to ask yourself a few questions:
What types of health conditions are you trying to treat with beginner herbs?
It can be VERY tempting to order a wide variety of herbs, but the last thing you want is for herbs to sit on your shelf unused until they expire. Focus on a list on common ailments and build your apothecary around that. There is always room to expand later! I will go into this topic more thoroughly on separate post about how to choose herbs that are most commonly utilized by your family based on existing & common health conditions.
What form of herbs do you plan on using?
Herbs come in many different forms such as powders, capsules, pills, tinctures, topicals, raw, ect. Knowing what forms of herbs work best for you may take some trial and error. For example, while raw herbs tend to be stronger than powdered herbs or pills, but compliance may be low due to having to prepare the herbs daily. Some raw herbs may also have a very robust taste that isn’t very appealing. If you have a busy schedule then herbs in capsules, powdered, or pill form may be better because they take less time to prepare. Being able to swallow herbs in a capsule or pill form will prevent you from tasting them which can be a definite benefit!
Do you have adequate knowledge and/or learning materials to start your journey?
While I am a full supporter of people making their own remedies and taking charge of their health, there is a reason why herbalists go through so much training in order to treat others. Stay within your skill set, start small, and continually learn! Investing in a matera medica is going to be invaluable to your herbal practice! Purchasing a herbal text that describes dosage, side effects, and actions of herbs is important to developing your base knowledge. I will list some of my favorites below!
Beginner Herbalist Supplies List
- Kitchen Scale – Raw and powdered herbs are typically measured in grams, so if you are looking to be precise, a kitchen scale is necessary!
- Capsule Filling Tray – If you plan on mixing up some powdered herbs but don’t want to deal with the taste, capsules may be right for you! Capsules come in different sizes and 00 tend to be the most commonly compatible with filling trays. Capsules come in gelatin and vegan varieties.
- Cheese cloth – Cheese cloth is useful if you plan on preparing raw herbs either in a decoction or a tincture.
- Storage Jars – Powdered herbs may already come in an airtight containers but raw herbs usually require storage immediately after opening. The types of jars are endless so choose some that are an adequate size with an air tight seal. I linked some mason jars because those are my go to!
- Mortar and Pestle – These tools are useful for grinding or pulverizing herbs. While this might not be totally necessary for a beginner herbalist, they sure are pretty! Mortar and pestles come in many colors, sizes, and materials so shop around and purchase one that calls to you!
- Tincture Bottles – Tincture bottles are handy if you are going to prepare tinctures. The dropper allows for accurate dosing and the glass bottle ensures long term storage.
- Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs – This book reviews the basics of everything from tincture making to topical remedies.
- Materia Medica (Chinese Herbal Medicine) – If you are interested in diving into Chinese herbs, this book is a must have!
- Materia Medica (Western Herbs) – This is a great reference text for Western herbs!
As you progress as an herbalist you will get a feel for what tools you favor and those that you can leave behind. Becoming and herbalist does not have to be expensive so don’t feel the need to immediate buy the best and most expensive equipment. The most important part should be investing in quality learning materials and staying passionate! Have fun and stay safe out there.
If you would like to learn more about beginner herbs, check out our blog post about medicinal herbs that can already be found in your kitchen!