Essential Oils · Herbalism · Homesteading

Building A Home Apothecary

Many homesteaders are drawn to natural methods and for many, being able to make natural first aid, herbal remedies and more is a big part of their self-sufficient life. Building a well-stocked apothecary is a first step, so that you can easily create what you need. Dried herbs? Oils? Jars and tins? Essential oils? All ready to go.

What do we have in ours? Quite a bit! Our ‘pantry’ runs from building blocks of raw ingredients, to storage containers, to even incorporating things like scales and measuring spoons.

While the list might look long, it isn’t too terrible and you can slowly add to it. You might even have a number of items already on hand in your kitchen and can use them.

Storage –

Mason Jars: You will want 4-ounce and 8-ounce jars for storing salves, scrubs, oil combos and more. Pint (16-ounce) and quart (32-ounce) for storing dried herbs, salts and more. It is hard to ever have too many mason jars. I use clear as I store my items out of direct light, however you can now get amber jars.

Metal Tins: Lip balm and hand balm sizes to ones big enough for shaving balms. We use these 2-ounce ones.

Plastic Lip Pots: Perfect for lip balm or travel/trial sizes of hand salves and balms. If you like push-up style, we have used these.

Lip Balm Stickers: We use these for our beeswax balm.

Glass Rollerballs: Both 2 ML and 10 ML, for roll on applications. Look for stainless steel or glass roller balls if possible.

Glass Spray Bottles: In 2-ounce, 4-ounce and 8-ounce sizes. Glass is best, as essential oils can cloud plastic over time.

Deodorant and stick balm applicators: Both oval and circle ones are sold, they are handy for recipes needing a push container.

Wooden boxes: For storing mason jars and more in. If you keep your sections tidy, you will know where everything is.

Storage Container for Essential Oils: We use this chest as our main one (though we also use two more wooden ones that are smaller)

Essential Oil Cap Stickers: There are many to choose from, I love the designs on these. Stickers might seem silly, but when you have multiple chests of small containers, it really helps you pick them out quickly.

Prep Items –

Small Digital Scale: Weighs up to 5 pounds.

Measuring Cups and Spoons: Preferably stainless steel for easy cleanup.

Thermometers: While not 100% necessary, a candle thermometer is very helpful for keeping delicate waxes and oils from scorching. If you get into soap making you will want multiples, that are used just for it. As well for candle making.

Empty metal cans or a melting pot: A dedicated melting pot is worth the investment, especially if you melt a considerable amount of beeswax or candle waxes. In apinch use BPA liner free metal cans (such as tomato ones, well scrubbed out).

Bamboo Chopsticks/Compostable Spoons: They are very helpful for stirring, and ladling out recipes. When done, just toss in your compost pile or yard waste bin.

Candle wicking: You can buy rolls of dipped wicking, that you cut to size, but the easiest is to buy an ample stock of ready to use wicks, with bottoms already attached.

Parchment Paper: Great for lining counters with when pouring salves or beeswax (or candles), for easy cleanup.

Paper Towels: You can never have enough on hand for cleanups.

Pipette: These clear flexible plastic pipettes make transferring fluids like fractionated coconut oil a breeze, with almost no mess.

The Raw Ingredients –

Herbs: Buy from a reputable source your dried herbs/spices, such as Mountain Rose Herbs or Frontier Co-Op, or from local farms. Best choice? Grown and air dry your own.

Oils: Depending on projects starting oils might be avocado, coconut, olive oil and so on. Buy organic and cold-pressed/unrefined if at all possible.

Fractionated Coconut Oil: This form of coconut oil is designed to stay liquid all the time. Use it in roller balls and similar.

Shea Butter: Used in balms, salves and more.

Essential Oils: A loaded question on what to buy? See here for a discussion.

Salts: Celtic Sea, Dead Sea and Himalayan are all good choices. Buy as large as possible in grain size.

Clays: There are various forms, personally I only buy as needed.

Wax: Beeswax is the first choice and locally sourced is utterly important. If you cannot find a local source, make sure it isn’t from China, as it is most likely not pure beeswax, if at all.

Enjoy and have fun creating!


Disclaimer: This is a personal opinion post and is not meant to be used as medical advice.