Creating a Kitchen Pharmacy


During these uncertain times — times of change — there are many individuals and families in search of an altogether different approach to treating minor illnesses and ailments.

For some, this is the next step in their natural-living lifestyle, for others it’s all about self-sufficiency, and concern over the rising cost of healthcare dominates the thoughts of others.

No matter what your motivation, the question remains — how can we achieve our goal?

I believe the answer to be in three parts:

  1. We can add medicinal herbs and plants to our garden landscape.
  2. We can learn the benefits of the plants that grow freely in our local and regional area.
  3. We can create a kitchen pharmacy. 

Long before the new technologies of conventional science and medicine were available, people possessed the knowledge of beneficial plants — those plants that could be used for healing a variety of ailments. Additionally, there were those special people in the local community who were experts in identifying, harvesting, and using the herbs that grew wild the area.

With a bit of preparation, research, and knowledge, any number of us can become one of those people!

Getting Started

I strongly believe that we have not only been given plants as a food to nourish our bodies, but I also believe that they have been given to us — as a gift — to assist in our healing. And as it’s been my experience, these medicinal plants — along with the entirety of the Earth — must be used with respect, precision, and a heart of thanksgiving.

Therefore, during this series on “Creating a Kitchen Pharmacy,” we will learn:

  • how to prepare herbal teas, oils, salves, syrups, tinctures, and pills
  • what equipment and supplies are needed for a kitchen pharmacy
  • best practice guidelines
  • ways of measurement
  • and much, much more…

Additionally, there will be opportunities for you to win some pretty awesome giveaways that will help and empower you along your journey.

It should be a great few weeks of learning!

Disclaimer

Throughout this series I need for you to understand that I do, very much,  appreciate modern healthcare (I myself practiced as a registered nurse for eight years and my husband is still currently working in the medical field.). I am grateful for the emergency services that conventional medicine has provided — and I’m sure will provide in the future — for my family. This is not an attempt to discredit, or speak out against it.

However, I am concerned over the increasing focus on the symptomatic treatment of disease rather than prevention. Even more so, I am concerned over the loss of skill that we are experiencing in the home for treating minor wounds and illnesses. 

It is a combination of these things, and many others, that has lead me to find medicinal herbs and natural remedies very appealing! They are so affordable and readily available for such a large portion of the population…and they work!

You must also know that although I am, by my educational credentials, a nurse I am not a doctor nor am I a trained herbalist. But what I am is a well-read, self-taught, lover of herbs. I surround myself and my family with herbs at all times. At any given moment on any given day, you will find my kitchen laced with homegrown herbs drying on the rack, tinctures steeping, and salves setting. I use them…I use them on myself, my husband, and my children. I also give them away to my friends, neighbors, and extended family members. I also sell a small portion of them.

I love herbs…and studying them has been a regular part of my daily life for many, many years.

Won’t you join me for the month of May as we — together — learn how to create a kitchen pharmacy! Be sure not to miss a single post in the series…click this link and subscribe to the blog. 

Now it’s your turn! What do you hope to learn from this series? Are there tips you can share with us about your own kitchen pharmacy?

Comments

  1. I have been very interested in this exact thing but not sure where to start with it all. So excited about this series!

  2. Deanne says:

    I am so very excited about this! I’m just starting out with herbs but I’m in love. I want to know EVERYTHING :-)

    • Andrea says:

      Me too! I love herbs because no matter how long you study them…there seems to be no end. There’s always more to learn and try :)

  3. Hi Andrea! I’m so thankful that you are going to share these things with us! I ordered some herbs seeds after following the Welcoming House blog on her series of herbs. I haven’t gotten them all planted yet, but will be working on that soon. There is so much to learn about salves, tinctures, and such. I am very eager to learn! Blessings from Bama!

  4. I’m looking forward to your posts. I have used herbs in very simple ways for years, as teas or in a bowl of boiling water for inhalation. I am just starting to learn about making salves, I have yarrow in olive oil on my counter right now and just bought a pound of beautiful beeswax from a beekeeper.

    • Andrea says:

      You are well on your way Angela! I sincerely hope you find that this information further empowers you in your journey :)

  5. Rachel says:

    How wonderful! Do you know what piqued my curiosity about medicinal herbs? It was your post about making vitamin tea. I can’t wait to learn more! I have been joking around with my mom lately by telling her that we are going to learn how to be “medicine women.” She is the one who takes echenacia and vitamin C whenever she feels the twinges of a cold coming on, but she has never been able to convince me to do it. LOL!

    • Andrea says:

      Horray! I’m so happy that you’ve “come around” and that you’re now starting to see the light ;) No…seriously…that so great Rachel. I’d love to see you and your Mom become those trusted “medicine women” in your community :)

  6. Lianne says:

    I am also excited about this! I have 2 different large pots on my deck that I’m planting herbs in.
    Thank you for doing this! Love your blog!!!

  7. Jeannette says:

    Thank you so much for creating this series. I do practice a lot of “homegrown” and natural remedies/preventatives already but need much more info on the subject. I agree completely that the medical establishment focuses way to much on treating the symptoms, in fact my daughter (also a nurse) and I were discussing that very subject just last week. I have an elderberry grove and make syrup for colds/flu. I have an herb garden that includes stinging nettle, echinacea, mints, pennyroyal, horehound, etc. I eagerly await your next installment.

    • Andrea says:

      Jeannette! You have an elderberry grove! What a blessing! And your herb garden sounds wonderful :) Thank you for joining me!

  8. Oregano oil for skin cancer or sores that won’t heal. A 92 year old medical doctor told me this one and it has worked great.
    Fresh aloe on burns. I always keep an aloe vera plant.
    Lemon and honey water for colds and flus.
    These are just a few of the things I have used over the years.

  9. I am so excited about this!! I also believe with my whole heart that everything we need to heal out physical bodies has already been given to us and is readily available in what grows around us. As a CPhT, it is my job to prepare medicines- but it makes me so sad to see how easily drugs are thrown at the masses for symptomatic treatment. It saddens me further to watch compassion leave the field of healing. I really appreciate what you are doing -thank you for sharing what you know- I have enjoyed your posts so much.

    • Andrea says:

      Agree…I could not agree more! Thank you for being here Holly…I really appreciate your perspective!

  10. Great topic and looking forward to the series. I am most interested in learning to identify and harvest the wild varieties safely and with confidence. The only thing I know for sure is that some plants are quite poisonous, even deadly, and if you don’t know your species well enough, you could be taking a great risk. I suppose if all your herbs are purchased from a nursery or store, it is a pretty safe bet that they are properly identified, but if you are collecting your own the woods, then you really need to be careful. So yes, I want to know how to correctly identify the wild ones!

    • Andrea says:

      Excellent point Peg! It’s so important to do your research when foraging in the wild. The best way is to find someone locally that can help you identify plants.

  11. I’m excited to learn more!! I’ve been working on implementing and increasing my knowledge on medicinal herbs. Last month I spent a “day with garlic”. I smelled lovely. :) …..and my cold went away!

    http://lauriesnotions.blogspot.com/2012/03/wonderful-powers-of-garlic.html

  12. Thanks so much for doing this. I have been reading and researching this and it gets so overwhelming I don’t know where to start so this will be a great help. I will be one of your appreciative students.

    • Andrea says:

      We’ll all be learning together Angie! I see this topic as a revival of wisdom. What I mean by that is…many of us are interested in it, but we’ve lost the knowledge and skill. I’m so excited to be able to be a part of this with you :)

  13. Jeannie says:

    This subject is wonderful. I am greatly interested in learning how to be more proactive on self and preventive care also to gain knowledge on how to make and use tinctures and slaves. Thank you so much Andrea!

  14. This is so exciting! It is like you jumped in my head and saw what I have been researching. This is going to be a great month of blogs!

  15. I am so excited about this series. I am so tired of going to the doctor and having them prescribe yet another pill to fix the problem. I worked for a doctor for a while years ago and he told me once that doctor’s prescribe pills because people expect it. They don’t feel they have been treated properly unless there is a pill they can take to fix it. That is a sad reflection on our society that synthetic pharmaceuticals is viewed as the only way to treat even minor illnesses. Thank you for doing this series. I am so looking forward to it.

    • Andrea says:

      Yes Karla…it is sad, but I sense that the tide is changing. More and more people are waking up to the reality of how things really are. As I mentioned above, there definitely is a place for conventional medicine, just as herbal (home-based) medicine has it’s place. I’m so excited about this :)

  16. Darlene says:

    I am looking forward to this series! I just bought some sage,chives,horehound,rosemary,german chamomile,thyme and calendula for the garden.

    • Andrea says:

      That’s is GREAT Darlene! Those are wonderful multi-purpose herbs that you will have available.

  17. i cant wait to get started! i’m very interested in prevention, things that enhance the immune system. thanks!!!

  18. I’m excited by this new series and look forward to what you’ll have to share with us! Thank you!

  19. I’ve been using herbs for many years. Just last night my husband had an irritating cough that would not abate…even after repeated doses of a nice cherry bark tincture I made…darn. Since it was about 1:30am and I was awakened with repeated coughing and his plea for help, the first thing that came to mind was coltsfoot, snap…I did not have any on hand. Peppermint came to mind. I had a pepermint essential oil and dropped 4 drops on the back of his throat. INSTANT relief! Followed that up with brewing a pot of peppermint tea from the patch outside the back door.
    Great idea for a series! Looking forward to more :)
    *anna

    • Andrea says:

      That’s so awesome Anna! Your’s is a very common story of often going through a variety of different herbal preparations before finding a fixer. It’s all about having the knowledge and resources! I’m so thankful for your insight…thank you for joining in.

  20. Not only have hospitals have become the place of greedy, bureaucratic, politically, controlling, manipulative nightmares. They are also the filthiest places on earth. Rare is the person who doesn’t walk out with something more than they had before walking in. I don’t want insurance, because “their” medicine isn’t mine. I believe, after 20 years of no health “care”, that God wants His children to be well. He wants us to eat according to His instructions. He wants us to benefit from His laws (which include the path to a clean heart, mind, and rested body). He freely gives herbs in every part of the world—from under the ocean to the cracks in our sidewalks. Herbs flavor our foods while deodorizing harmful bacteria and viral issues. God is good. And I thank you for sharing this wisdom.

  21. Deanne C. says:

    Andrea, I have been trying to do EXACTLY this…as a matter of fact, I’ve spent the week assembling and putting together a notebook of various herbs and their medicinal qualities so that I will always have it on hand. And I just finished preparing my second raised garden bed for the load of herb seeds that are arriving in the mail (most likely today…yayyyy!!!). It’s an ongoing education, for sure, and I am so excited to learn and grow right along with my herbs! THANK YOU so very much for sharing your wisdom and expertise in this area….I AM SO EXCITED for this series!! GREAT BLOG POST!! I am with you 100%!! ~Deanne C. BTW..YOURS is one of the only blogs I receive that actually EXCITES me when I see it in my inbox!! (and I have at least 30 that I subscribe to!!) :))) Many blessings to you…and one of these days I’m gonna make it out to the farmer’s market and actually meet you in person!!!

  22. MarianneG says:

    Hi Andrea ! I’m a big fan of your blogs. I’m so excited about this. I have been looking for ratios for making tinctures, infusions, etc. I would love to know amounts. Thanks for all your great blogs !

  23. Thank you! This is something I have been wanting to get going on, but just need a little help with!

  24. Rebecca says:

    I am very excited for this series! I just purchased Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health and am anxiously awaiting my order. This will be a nice complement to the book I think. I have started a small herb garden in pots and have made your herbal cough and cold syrup and have a Valerian tincture brewing in the closet. (Loving called “The Witch Cabinet” by my children because of all the herbs and potions stored in it!) I am excited to learn more in the days ahead!

  25. So glad you are doing this! I am interested in learning to make natural treatments and have started reading a bit about them. Thanks for doing it. I’ve just purchased beeswax from our local apiary too, to make some candles, lip balms and salve. Looking forward to your posts on it.

  26. waggie says:

    SO excited! I have a few herbs that i started from seed a few weeks ago for my first ever medicinal herb garden. I also used your elderberry syrup recipe earlier this week because my family started to come down with a cold. It was my first witches brew (as my hubby calls it). I LOVE IT and feel so blessed every time that I take it (or administer). It has made this cold no big deal! And to think it’s because of a berry, honey and a root (I added echinacea root with the elderberry).

  27. Yes!!! I love your blog and the topics you are willing to tackle. I have become allergic to a lot of medications so I’m looking forward to anything you can share on this subject and using natural ways.

  28. FUN! Can’t wait to see what you post!

  29. This is great! We have a whole section on our blog for developing an herbal medicine cabinet. It’s really an important aspect of homemaking and family life! A lost art!

    Looking forward to the series!

  30. I’m looking forward to your new series! I’ve started growing a small number of herbs outdoors and drying them. I want to be able to use them for our families heath and well being, I’ve been doing lots of reading so I’ll continue my education with you. Thanks for doing this for us!

  31. Perfect timing! I have dabbled with herbs for years but decided that THIS is the year for me to really gain a working understanding so that herbs are my FIRST response (when they are also most effective) rather than waiting until I’m at my wit’s end.
    I’d also like to put out a reminder that herbs are useful and beneficial for our animals as well. If I had goats I’d have a designated red raspberry grove just for them. But this past week I had another success story involving herbs and my chickens.
    One of my Ameracauna hens had been passing her eggs streaked with blood for a few days when I finally saw the poor thing one night, perched at the top of the screen door in the coop. Her back end was caked with poop and looked like something was definitely infected. I brought her in to the utility sink in the garage and, gently as I could, washed and pulled off the dried on mess. Her vent was prolapsed, which explained why the poop was thus landing on it and sticking, so I carefully dried her off and reached for my favorite herbal salve (Eden Salve, from Shoshanna Garden, Bulk Herb Store). I applied a thick layer, making sure some of it pushed inward, into the edge of the vent itself, then put her in a dog crate on our sunny deck for observation. (We are in Alaska, the direct sun was a GOOD thing!) The next day the vent tissue had receded at least halfway back in and was a healthy pale pink rather than the angry, oozy red it had been the day before. I was amazed. So I repeated the previous day’s steps of clean, dry and apply and put her back in the crate for another day. Next day you could barely tell that the vent was ever literally pushing out so I put her back with the rest of my flock and the following day I had a hard time telling which of my 3 Ameracaunas was the patient. They all had fluffy feather butts! When I saw the green eggs in the nest there was still a little blood on one but by the next day even that was gone.
    Herbs are truly a Divine gift! I have not truly appreciated them for how valuable a gift they are but now? Now I am giving them their proper reverence.

  32. I’m looking forward to your series. I have loved herbs and herbal remedies for the past 30 plus years. I am always looking for new ideas, new combinations, new anything. I agree that treating our families for minor things is becoming a lost art.

  33. I came across your blog a few weeks ago, and I tell you… I’m a neophyte frugal gal, but I’ve been loving the home pharmacy posts.

    I’m also a nurse, and I agree with you 100% about being proactive rather than reactive where our health is concerned. It is much better to STAY healthy, than try to GET healthy again. I look forward to your posts this month!

  34. Hi Andrea,
    I love medicinal herbs! Last week I tought my first class and we finished by making a salve, a tincture and an herbal spray. I am not a trained herbalist either, totally self taught and loving learning!!! Look forward to your series. Thank you for your blog as you have inspired me this year to do the same.

  35. Melissa says:

    This is so great Andrea! I’m really excited about this series. I’ve been learning so much from your blog and loving every minute. I didn’t realize I was so passionate about the topic of sustainablility until I started to compare my family’s life now to what I want it to be. It just really speaks to my heart. Thanks so much!

  36. Oh I can’t wait!!!! I have recently made calendula salve and am so keen to learn more, great job I’m so excited I can’t wait for the next email xx

  37. Ugh…I’m so behind on my blog reading that I just found this post! Looks like it’s time to catch up!!! I’m very excited about this focus and cannot wait to learn more :-) It’s perfect timing, too, as I’ve just planted my very first herb garden and still have time to plant more! :-)

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