Resources for Home Remedies: What to Buy, Where to Buy It

Idyllic as it would be, most of us don’t have a wall full of dried herbs from our home gardens to draw from when we need to make up a home remedy.

I am often asked where to begin… which herbs and other ingredients are the most important, the most versatile, the most accessible and affordable. For those just beginning to delve into making their own simple remedies, this post is intended to help you wrap your head around which herbs, oils and other ingredients are among the most useful and give you some resources as you begin to build your collection.

For most of us, we grow into making our own remedies slowly. One or two ingredients at a time, a new recipe here, a specific treatment there.

The process has been a gradual one for me as well. Although I now probably have 75% of the items listed in this post, they have come into our home bit by bit, as I have had small amounts of extra money, or as we’ve needed a few specific ingredients for particular remedies.

At the start of Home Remedies month, a reader asked me if I could share some of the ingredients that would be included in many of the remedies and treatments that are being posted this month. These lists cover most of them and a few extras that are common in other remedies as well.

For those who look at these lists and feel utterly overwhelmed, keep reading… further down, I have given a much more condensed list for those looking for a simple place to start and who have limited funds.

What to Add to Your “Home Remedies” Shopping List:

Dry Herbs

Essential Oils

Image by Smoobs

From the Grocery Store

Supplements

  • Probiotics
  • Cod liver oil
  • Vitamin C
  • Oil of Oregano

Image by The Italian Voice

Other Useful Things to Have:

  • Colloidal silver
  • Clean Well (hand sanitizer, made with NO alcohol or Triclocan!)
  • Aloe plant or 100% gel
  • Homeopathics: I recommend a basic kit like Naturokits (get $5 off right now with code “DCKEEPER”), or a few simple ones like Arnica (bumps/bruises/pain), Chamomilia (restlessness/anxiety), or Ferrum Phosphoricum (fever) are wonderful to have around. I will be writing a more detailed post on homeopathics shortly!
  • Thayer’s Slipper Elm lozenges (or make your own with the easy recipe in Herbal Nurturing!)
  • Bach Rescue Remedy
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Neti Pot
  • Epsom Salts
  • Almond Oil or Jojoba Oil

My Top 10 Home Remedy Ingredients

Scratch that. Make it 11.

I couldn’t quite narrow it down and even this list feels a bit inadequate, but if you had all of these things (and I purposefully included some that are very inexpensive, multi-purpose and easily accessible) you could do a whole lot of home remedies for various types of illness or ailments!

These are in no particular order, but here goes:

  1. Garlic
  2. Dried Elderberries
  3. Catnip
  4. Yarrow
  5. Ginger
  6. Oil of Oregano
  7. Eucalyptus oil
  8. Tea tree oil
  9. Onion
  10. Colloidal Silver
  11. Raw honey

Image by stevendpolo

Great Places to Buy Herbs and Other Natural Remedy Supplies:

Mountain Rose Herbs– They have one of the best selections of dried herbs, essential oils, other oils (like coconut, almond, jojoba, shea butter, etc.).

Bulk Herb Store– They have a wonderful selection, and I absolutely love their YouTube channel, full of fun and informative videos on how to make all sorts of herbal concoctions and remedies!

iHerb — Another online supplement store, carrying herbs and more. You can get $5 off first order using the code CEC426.

Amazon– Although the selection isn’t amazing, there are dried herbs available at Amazon, and they come in smaller (and therefore cheaper) packages which would allow you to start building up a wider variety of herbs more quickly without having to spend too much all at once.

Azure Standard– The natural foods co-op I order from, and they have not only excellent prices on supplements, but also on dried bulk herbs, essential oils and more.

Vitacost– They have the cheapest prices on most of the supplements that I buy (other than a few that they simply don’t carry). Get $10 off your first order when you sign up through this link (note that the coupon code will come to your email address- you may have to wait a little while for it).

Other excellent resources:

Herbal Nurturing– The new ebook from Michele of Frugal Granola, a wonderful and very simple introduction to simple herbal home remedies!

Stocking Your Natural Herbal Medicine Cabinet @ Passionate Homemaking

Resources for Home Remedies - What to Buy, Where to Buy It

What are your top herbs and home remedy ingredients, and where do you buy these types of products?

Disclosure: There are a few affiliate links mixed in to this post. I’ve included them because they are for companies or products that I personally use and highly recommend, thus they made my list!

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About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. Just wanted to say that this post is very helpful! I’m bookmarking it, and I’ll keep slowly building my herb stash. Thanks!

  2. The only thing that I don’t have from your “top 11″ list is yarrow. I have most on your longer list, too! There’s a few more I need to get and I need a way to organize them — want to post on that, too? :)

  3. This is a great list, thanks!

  4. Awesome, thank you SO much!

  5. Oops I actually have one more question…where do you find info on what is safe for breastfeeding and pregnancy. I’ve always wanted to take oil of oregano, for instance, but have heard its not safe for breastfeeding, but then I know people taking it who are breastfeeding. Its very confusing and I’d like to know a good source to figure it out.

    • @Nola, One good place to look is Kellymom.com. It’s a breastfeeding site (primarily) and they actually have a section where you can look up all sorts of different herbs to read about whether they are safe to use while bf’ing or not.

      I find this a frustrating issue, though, because there just isn’t much research done on whether things are safe or not. Most supplement bottles will say not to take something while pregnant or breastfeeding, but it (usually) has little to do with the product not being safe to take, and more with the company protecting themselves from lawsuits and liability.

      For Oil of Oregano, I choose not to take it while pregnant (because it is such a strong herb and I worry about it causing contractions, etc.) but I do use it in moderation while breastfeeding. I won’t take 4-5 drops like the bottle says you can, but I will take 2 drops once or twice a day. I can’t seem to find any concerning reason why not to take it, but I still try to keep everything in moderation while breastfeeding (which between that and pregnancy pretty much means my entire life, these days! :)

  6. This is great! Thank you. I’ve been wanting to get more into this but its so overwhelming, you made it simple.

    I haven’t ordered from this place but in Canada I found a good site I am considering ordering from called Judy’s organic herbs. Sometimes its harder for people in Canada to find things so I thought I would pass that on.

    Questions I have been meaning to ask you: do you order from Amazon and Vitacost and ship it to your CDN address? Or to family in the US? I’d be interested in knowing about where, if any, places you order from online for grocery/supplement/herbs etc places that ship for a good rate to Canadian addresses.

    Also, I’ve always wondered about Bach’s rescue remedy. Have you used it? What is it like? I deal with a lot of anxiety issues, so that is why I am asking. One more thing (sorry!) is that I was also wondering if unpasteruized, local farm honey (one variety, not like the mixed pasteurized stuff in the store) is the same thing as raw honey. I’ve always wondered. It seems that its more expensive in catalogues to buy stuff that is labelled as raw. I’ve always wondered if its the same thing or not, or what the difference is.

    Thanks again for the great info. I think you should post this as a post for a few days though! Phew its a lot of info this will take me a long time to go through! :)

    • @Nola, I should have mentioned that the store I told you about looks a little new-age Mother Earth type but otherwise it looks like good herbs.

    • @Nola, We do occasionally ship from Vitacost and Amazon to our home, when we really need something and won’t be seeing our US family any time soon. It’s a bit more $, but it’s generally still worth it. Otherwise when I need stuff from Canada, I buy it at smaller local stores.

      We have just begun using Bach’s Rescue Remedy, but so far just the pastilles (like little candy drops, so you probably couldn’t take those). I have ordered the spray and drops, but I’m still waiting for them. We think that it does help with anxiety and stress, for both of us (which is why we got it).

      And yes, the unpasteurized honey would be the same as raw honey. I think that “raw” is just a trendy word to use right now, but there’s no difference to my knowledge. :)

  7. How long to these ingredients stay good? I would be afraid I couldn’t use them all up before they spoiled.

    • @Sarah, With dried herbs, they will stay good as long as they are kept cool and dry. Essential oils can also last a long time (definitely for months and even years) if they are also kept in a cool, dark place (and be sure to buy ones in small, dark-colored bottles).
      Length of time varies with supplements, so check the packages if you can before you buy them, but it’s rare for something to last less than a year. Exceptions might be liquids (like Floradix liquid iron, for example, is only good for 6-8 weeks after opening), or possibly probiotics if they are ones that need to be refrigerated.
      When you are just starting out, try to buy smaller amounts. If you can, see if a friend or family member would like to split things with you. My MIL, SIL and I often split things between our 3 families so that we can save by buying larger amounts, but without buying more than we can actually use.

  8. Thanks for this list. I’ve slowly been adding to my home products. Be sure and check any local co-ops for herbs. And anyone in the Portland, OR area, there is an AMAZING store here that has a ‘wall-o-herbs’ with 700+ herbs, spices, and more. I can find pretty much any dried herb I need there. In fact, I’m looking forward to figuring out more and more what some of this stuff DOES! :D

  9. Awesome information!I love using nature as an alternative to over the counter and prescription meds, which often runs the risk of unwanted side effects. With cold/ flu season upon us, I always start a regimen of Echinacea, Elderberry and Vitamin C with my small ones very early Fall. These items are much more safer and more effective than any over the counter cold meds. Thanks again for sharing!

  10. Be very careful using colloidal silver, there are some permanent side effects that can be a problem. People have had their skin turn blue or purple from long term use of it. Please research throughly before trying. I am sure you are very experienced at this and am grateful you are giving alternatives to some of the weird stuff in the stores. Thank you for your information.

    • @emtdlb, Yes, I’ve read about the side effects. There is a video showing a man who has been using it daily for a very loooong time, and his skin is indeed blue! Very crazy!

      We don’t use colloidal silver very often, but more as an immune booster only when we are sick. For one thing, it’s too expensive to use more than that. For another, it seems like the type of supplement to be used in moderation (which is usually the key for the use of most substances, “natural” or not).

      I absolutely agree that people should be doing their own research before using anything! It’s important to understand what something is yourself, not just using it because you’ve heard that other people do it. Inform yourselves about what the remedies you’re using are, even if your research is minimal, just so that you are always aware of what you are using on and in your bodies!

  11. Love this! Thank you! Very helpful!

  12. thank you SO much for sharing this! as someone new(er) to living naturally on a budget, it can be kind of overwhelming trying to figure out what brands and stores are best to find ingredients. great post!

  13. This is a great list. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.

  14. Where do you get your colloidal silver? My handicap brother had a nurse a long time ago that we got it from and she swore by it for everything. Maybe my mom still has a way to contact her and I could get it that way. Can you order it online? BTW I am very excited about your home remedies theme. I have just recently started to get interested in this since my baby has gotten 2 colds and strep in the last month. I am not looking forward to winter…

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