Home Apothecary 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Wildcrafting Healing Remedies

A Beginner Guide to Wildcrafting Healing Remedies

Time is precious and we all waste the one resource that is most valuable to us in some way or another. Creating things by hand is such a fantastic way to be creative and connect with nature and family in a more intimate way. We invite you to make an intentional decision to learn a new skill that can bring so much joy.

So What Precisely is Apothecary?

The word “apothecary” (pronounced, “uh-PAH-thuh-ker-ee.”) is derived from the Old French apotecarie, which comes from the Latin apotheca, meaning “storehouse.” An apothecary was originally a person who prepared and dispensed medical supplies. These days, an the word can refer to both a person who makes medicinal preparations as well as the physical location (usually a store) where such preparations are sold.

Modern Home Apothecary

Home apothecary is the art of making your own medicinal preparations using herbs, plants, and other natural ingredients. Apothecary products can range from the very simple, like herbal teas, to the more complex, like tinctures and salves.

Apothecary is considered to be synonymous with “natural,” and while it’s true that not all apothecary products for sale are made with pure natural ingredients, you have the power of knowing exactly what goes into the preparations you make at home. Home apothecary can be as simple or as advanced as you want it to be.

Apothecary and Essentials Oils

Aromatherapy, which is the practice of using essential oils for healing, is often considered a type of apothecary. An aromatic apothecary is a type of apothecary that specializes in essential oils and other aromatic preparations. This is because essential oils can be used to make a wide variety of apothecary products, like soaps, lotions, and perfumes.

How to Become an Apothecary at Home

Making your own apothecary products is a great way to save money and get exactly what you want, without any artificial ingredients. It’s a rewarding and relaxing way to spend time in your kitchen other than cooking dinner!

7 Awesome Apothecary Product Ideas

This article is not intended to give you all the recipes for remedies you might need but here are some product ideas to get you started on your apothecary journey.

1. Skin Care Products

You can start making facial cleansers, toners, creams, treatments, serums, and sunscreens for any skin type or condition.

2. Body Care Products

These products include salves, body butter, bath soaks, aromatherapy massage oils, body oils, body powders, deodorants, mouth wash, and toothpaste.

3. Hair Care Products

There are great recipes for making shampoos, and conditioners for any hair type. Treatment oils are popular for treating dandruff, hair loss, and scalp conditions.

4. Baby Care Products

You can make a variety of products for babies including powders, lotions, soaps, shampoo, and massage oils.

5. Aromatherapy Products

Nebulizing Diffuser essential oil blends, room sprays, linen sprays, pillow mists, sachet bags, and candles are all ways to enjoy aromatherapy in your home. You can also make custom products like Bath Soaks, Sugar Scrubs, and Salt Scrubs using essential oils.

6. First Aid Remedies

There are many recipes for first aid including, burns, bites and stings, cuts and scrapes, bruises, muscle aches, and pain, colds, flu, and upset stomach.

7. Household Products

Make your own all-purpose cleaners, dish soap, laundry detergent, glass cleaner, and surface cleaner. Natural household insecticides and herbicides are also possible with the right recipes.

Apothecary: The Next Steps

Now that you know a little more about what an apothecary is, as well as some of the products that can be made, let’s show you how to get started making your own. Here are a few tips to get you started on your journey:

  1. Set up your pantry for success.
  2. Keep learning about the of ingredients and their healing properties that are used in the apothecary.
  3. Get familiar with some of the basic recipes and techniques.
  4. Experiment with different ingredients and recipes to find what works best for you.
  5. Start small and stock your apothecary with the essentials. You can always add more items as you need them.
  6. Find a good source for ingredients. Local health food stores, farmer’s markets, and online retailers

Tools For Setting Up Your Kitchen Laboratory

You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to get started with the apothecary. In fact, you probably have most of what you need already in your kitchen. Here is a list of some of the basic equipment you will need:

  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Dark/Amber apothecary glass jars are best for storage
  • A blender or food processor
  • A mortar and pestle
  • Cheesecloth or coffee filters
  • A stovetop or hot plate and a double boiler
  • A candy thermometer (optional)

If you want to take your apothecary craft to the next level you can also start looking for an apothecary table, an apothecary cabinet, and an apothecary drawer for better organization.

Now that you have all the equipment you need, let’s take a look at some great ingredients to start stocking up on.

Popular Ingredients for Various Products

There is too much great information about apothecary ingredients to cover in one article, but here are some of the most popular ingredients used in recipes.

Dried or Fresh Herbs

Dried or fresh herbs like lavender, chamomile, calendula, rosemary, mint, Lemon Balm, Ginger, Nettle, Milk Thistle, turmeric, Sage, and Yarrow are popular for apothecary recipes.

Carrier Oils for Apothecary Recipes

Some popular carrier oils include jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, and olive oil. For a more complete list click here.

Popular Essential Oils

Some popular essential oils used in apothecary recipes include lavender, tea tree, rosemary, eucalyptus, peppermint, and lemon.

Butters, Waxes, and Clays

Butters like cocoa butter and shea butter are used in lotions, creams, and soaps. Beeswax is a common ingredient in recipes for salves, creams, lip balms, and candles. Clays like bentonite clay and French green clay are used in masks, scrubs, and detox baths.

Other Useful Ingredients

Ingredients like aloe vera gel, vegetable glycerin, honey, and apple cider vinegar are also used in many recipes.

3 Easy Apothecary Recipes to Get you Started

There are endless possibilities when it comes to recipes. Here are a few easy recipes to get you started:

1) Herbal Salve Recipe

This herbal salve is great for cuts, scrapes, bruises, and dry skin.


  • 1/4 cup dried herbs (You can use one herb or a mixture of herbs. Some good options include calendula, comfrey, lavender, plantain, and yarrow)
  • 1/2 cup carrier oil (Olive oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup beeswax pastilles


1. Combine the dried herbs and carrier oil in a glass jar.

2. Place the jar in a pan of water and heat on low until the oils are warm and the herbs have had a chance to infuse into the oil.

3. Strain the herbs out of the oil using cheesecloth or a coffee filter.

4. Pour the infused oil into a double boiler and add the beeswax pastilles.

5. Heat the mixture on low until the beeswax is melted.

6. Remove from heat and pour into jars or tins. Allow cooling completely before using.

2) Lavender Lip Balm Recipe

This lavender lip balm is soft, moisturizing, and has a beautiful lavender scent.


  • 1 tablespoon cocoa butter
  • 1 tablespoon beeswax
  • 1 tablespoon carrier oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil


1. Combine the cocoa butter, beeswax, and carrier oil in a double boiler.

2. Heat the mixture on low until the beeswax is melted.

3. Remove from heat and stir in the essential oil.

4. Pour into jars or tins and allow to cool completely before using.

3) Lavender Lemonade Soap Recipe

This lavender lemonade soap is refreshing, cleansing, and has a beautiful lavender scent.


  • 1 cup liquid castile soap
  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops lemon essential oil


1. Combine the liquid castile soap, aloe vera gel, honey, and essential oils in a bowl.

2. Pour into molds and allow to set for 24 hours.

3. Remove from molds and use as desired.

Take Away and Challenge

Now that you know some of the basic equipment and ingredients you need for your home apothecary, as well as a few easy recipes to get you started, it’s time to get wildcrafting! Foraging for medicinal plants is a great way to stock up on apothecary ingredients while getting fresh air and spending time in nature. Like always, we love engaging and getting input and feedback from fellow aromatherapy enthusiasts. Take pictures and share your creations on any of our social media platforms and receive a 15% discount off any of our essential oils for sale in South Africa at Organic Aromas.

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