Herbal remediesI keep them handy for anything that comes my way. They won’t do me much good, though, if I can’t find what I need when I need it! Here’s how to store and organize your natural remedies, herbs, and more.
How to store your natural remedies
As my natural remediesMy stash grew exponentially and began to outnumber the conventional ones. I’m pretty proud of my natural medicine cabinet, but it does take some maintenance. It’s not something anyone wants to find a forgotten, rancid soap at the bottom of a pile.
By organizing my herbal medicine, I can make sure I find what I need and don’t waste what I already have.
If you’ve ever heard of the KonMari method (or even if you haven’t), it can apply to organizing and storing natural remedies, too. It doesn’t mean we have to store things in a specific way, but some of the general principles are the same.
- Get rid of unnecessary natural remedies and declutter
- Clean out items and arrange them in groups
- Organize what’s left
Unlike the strict Marie Kondo method, I’m not thanking my rancid salve before throwing it out, though. And my cough syrup may not spark joy, but it’s still useful and necessary. First things first, let’s talk about cleaning out our home remedies.
All the pieces together
It’s hard to organize what you can’t see or don’t know you have. I recommend gathering all of your dietary supplementsYou can store essential oils, herbs, and natural remedies all in one place, such as the kitchen table. This way, you can easily lay it all out and see what’s there and how it will fit in the space.
Don’t keep expired or unusable items. Here’s a quick guide to the shelf lifeSome natural remedies:
- Dry herbs Continue reading delicate herbsPowdered herbs, like chamomile flowers will last for 1-2 year. Powdered herbs lose their potency more quickly and can last for 6-12 months. Roots and bark, such as echinacea roots, can last for 2-3 years. Just because an herb is older doesn’t necessarily mean it’s lost its potency. If the plant material has good color and a good scent, it’s still useful, though maybe not as potent.
- Fresh herbsThese herbs will last for about one week in the fridge. You can either dry them or use fresh medicinal herbs immediately.
- Glycerites:Tinctures made from glycerine (called glycerites) will last for about one year.
- TincturesHigh alcohol content tinctures of alcohol will last for 2-5 years.
- Essential oils: Citrus oils are more likely to oxidize quickly and last only for 1-2 years. Base note oils that are thicker last for longer (up to 8 year) and can even improve with time, such as patchouli and vetiver. Here’s a handy chart from Plant Therapy with general essential oil shelf life recommendations.
- Salves and creamsIt all depends on what ingredients were used, and if you used any preservatives or other substances to slow down oxidation (like vitamin E). Generally, DIY salves It should last between six months and three years. If it’s starting to separate, or looks or smells off in any way, be safe and pitch it.
- Supplements, homeopathic remedies and vitamins As the expiration date of the bottle may vary, be sure to refer to it.
- Keep water-based ingredients in your fridge and use them within a week. This includes homemade lotions and after-sun sprays. If you’re using a natural antimicrobial preservative, creams and lotions will last a little longer on the shelf.
Finding a place to store your natural remedies
We want our remedies to be in an area that’s easy to access and makes sense for what we’re using them for. The dresser can hold essential oils for the bedroom diffuser. I keep magnesium oil and lotion bars in my purse. my nightstand for when it’s time to wind down at night.
While convenience is important, we must also consider storage conditions. Natural remedies aren’t the same as FDA-approved prescription drugs, and they need to be treated with special care. Essential oils and herbs should be kept in cool, dark places, away from heat and direct sunlight. The health benefits of these healing herbs degrade if they’re not stored well.
These are some of the places it is not recommended to store natural remedies.
- Appliances that emit heat or moisture, such as the stove, dishwasher, or fridge, should not be placed above or next to them. This tiny cabinet just above the stove is not the right spot for herbs!
- In the bathroom or near the shower. Bathrooms can get really steamy and warm and don’t mix well with certain natural remedies.
- Little ones should not be able to reach them. While I’m not going to freak out if a toddler gets into the dried peppermintSome natural health items, such as essential oils, should be kept out of reach from curious little hands.
With these parameters in mind you can find the best fit for your family. Maybe that’s a bookshelf, a free-standing cabinet, or a kitchen cupboard (or 3!). Even if they’re not all going to be stored in the same place, pick areas and containers that will fit the different items in your home apothecary.
Labels come standard with vitamins and supplements, but labels are not required for homemade products. It’s important to date and label everything, so we know what it is. You may think you’ll remember that a sleep tincture was in that bottle, but as you collect more items, it can quickly get confusing if herbal products aren’t labeled.
- Note the name of the herb as well as the date and time you bought it or harvested it.
- You should list the ingredients and the date of the herbal remedy for salves or mixed tinctures, blended teas, etc.
- Both address labels or masking tape are options. It is usually easier to remove masking tape if you intend to reuse the container and re-label it for the next time.
I learned the importance to label everything to help me stay organized, especially with my kids! In my interview with Cas from Clutterbug.
Time to organize your Natural Remedies
Once you’ve found a place to put your natural remedies and discarded what’s bad, it’s time to start organizing. You can organize items alphabetically, by what you use most, or by putting all similar items together (like dried herbs). You could also group items if certain family members have their products.
Containers to organize Natural Remedies
There are a lot of different options, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s always best to store herbs, essential oils, and tinctures in glass bottles for the best shelf life. Mason jars and weck jars work well. You can also reuse glass food jars. If dried herbs are not in the original bags, you can arrange them in a row in a small container.
- Tiered shelves are a good use of space so you can see what’s in the back rows. Tiered shelves are ideal for supplements, vitamins and tinctures as well as essential oil bottles.
- Organizing containers, like these plastic binsThey are useful for drawers.
- Homeopathy bottlesThey are light and can easily fall all over my cabinet. I like to organize them in a small bin.
- Be sure to store tincture bottles and essential oils in an upright position so they don’t leak. Over time, the rubber on tincture dropper bottle caps will begin to wear. For tinctures that are going to be left out for a while, it is possible to remove the dropper cap and replace it with a screw top lid.
Place the items you use most (such as daily vitamins) at the front or in the most convenient places. Items that I don’t use as much go to the back. This is what it looks like syrup for dry coughs is super convenient when I need it, but my kids don’t have a sore throat every day. When I want to boost our immune systems during the winter months, I’ll make sure our elderberry is easy to grab.
What natural remedies do your keep on hand? How do they get there? Leave a comment and share this post with friends!