The panic buying during the pandemic between 2019 till now shown light of the need to survive with the little we had. I became more aware of how cost-effective and benefical herbal remedies are, deciding to completely give my all in utilizing ancient herbal remedies. I figured sharing easy-to-finid tools can assist others on their journey in practicing herbalism, or holistic living.
For households on this new journey, the people always ask me "What tools do you use to start your holistic journey?" I always reflect on how our ancestors co-existed with the Earth. The simplicity of these practices encouraged me to explore my roots in hopes of helping those reconnecting with theirs.
These are my experiences with budgeting quality tools with cost efficiency. Criteria's I go with are:
Mortar & pestal
Price: $6 to $25
I found my marble mortar & pestals in Marshell's for under $13. Traditionally eumelanin societies crushed herbs to prepare for herbal blends or to release the potent aroma of the plant. Many communities still favor this tool over electrical appliances for reasons including how effective it is in releasing flavors. And in agreement, I can say this benefited my ongoing cooking techniques.
Alternative to: Food processors and blenders
What materials Mortar & pestal's are made of? Wood, marble, volcanic rock
What can you make? Pastes, flours, dried herbal blend, bath salt blends, tooth powders
Found in: Walmart, TJMax, Marshall's, Whole Foods, Herbal stores, Antique stores, Thrift stores, online stores
Glass jars have many uses which, can be stored in just about anywhere in the home. Some of its biggest uses are fermentation, herb storage, and tinctures. Mine was purchased off etsy or I'd recycle pasta and other food jars to store my womb broths, herbed soups, and dry herb storage. Eventually I will search for lead-free, non toxic jars to lower my heavy metal in take. For now, we recycle what we can.
Does color matter? Yes, it does! Recycled clear glass bottles are great for fermenting, supply storage, bath salts, and preserving healing food in the fridge. If you have extra cash, amber glass is excellent for tinctures, butters, or anything sensitive to light.
Found in: Walmart, TJMax, Marshall's, Thrift stores, online stores
Cast iron tea kettle
$20 to $50
What I notice missing from many homes are cast iron tea pots. The benefits alone increase the quality of life and helpful for iron deficient individuals. Like during ones pregnancy for example. Pregnant or menstruating women need the extra iron to prevent excess blood loss. With the additional cookware, tea kettles are perfect for long term iron boosting. I personally found mine for less than $30 which saved me $$$s in high quality iron pills, some organic food, and deficency-related symptoms.
Alternative to: Iron pills, prenatal vitamins
What are the benefits? Pregnancy friendly, boosts immune system, enhances tea, less expensive than bigger cookware, easier to season
Found in: Antique stores, Thrift stores, Online stores, and some retail stores
This cheap herb is typically less than a $1.00! Cilantro is used as a heavy metal purifier in rural communities of Mexico. So not enough money to get a purifier? Or want to consume less plastic? Cilantro might be the way to go! I personally have not used this method but do plan on trying in the future once I invest in a heavy metal test to conduct a small experiment. I was simply thinking this idea is better than nothing at all.
Alternative to: Water filters & pitches, bottled water
How do you use cilantro? There two methods for purifying water. The first method calls for homemade, dried cilantro teabags. Toss it into a cup or pitcher of your choice, then allow it sit for about 5 minutes. The second method uses raw cilantro and a tube. You'd pour the water down the tube in order to allow raw cilantro to filter the water.
Found in: Grocery stores
$5 to $25
The shea nut has always been a body care staple in West African countries to Afro Americans. Shea butter is one of the most affordable, accessible botanical butters that can be found in Caribbean, Ghanaian, and Herbal markets to small shops and stores that are rooted in African culture. I grew up on shea butter and actively see its ability to speed up the healing process of wounds, marks, and discoloration from a DIY citrus chemical burn I suffered from as a teen. Shea butter is incredibly boosted when adding dry herbs, carrier oils, other botanical butters, and essential oils to further enhance and healing of the body.
Alternative to: Premade and store-bought cosmetics
Benefits: Offer vitamins and minerals, to soothing skin and scalp inflammation.
Reusable tea bags
Reusable tea bags are not only frugal, but sustainable for teas. Steel reusable tea bags may be less likely to promote mold growth so that's personally been my go to.
Alternative to: Plastic lined tea bags
Best materials? Metal, 100% unbleached organic cotton
Found in: Online stores and some retail stores like Walmart, Marshall's and etc.
Bag for foraging
Foraging has its place in herbalism so don't forget about reusable bags! Wild herbs are essential and FREE. You can reuse plastic bags, mesh bags, or organic fabric materials to hold your foraged items in place.
Write. Notebooks are essential for writing recipes to prevent forgetfulness. Another benefit? You can eventually turn this into a "Bible" or book to past down to future generations. Okay, so the Bible idea is something I am strongly for considering my spiritual and cultural views of the books itself. Don't you want to have something only your descendants have access to that no one can take away from? It is a valuable treasure to write everything on here and being able to reflect when needed.
Food grade oil
$8 to $20
SNAP-friendly here! If you're low on actual cash and have a few $$ in stamps, then you have the opportunity to create oil extracts to bodily care oils. Perfect for those who are trying to save money in general and don't have access to botanical butters, or fancy exotic oils. I use carrier oils for everything; absorbing nutrients, promoting healthy eumelanin skin tones, and used to create gentle herbal oils for internal or external use.
Alternative to: Expensive carrier oils
Best carrier oils for herbalism? Hempseed oil, grapeseed oil, walnut oil, pumpkin oil, or avocado oil, sustainable red palm oil
How to use them? They can be applied on the body or by intake; body & hair oils, used to absorb fat soluble vitamins and minerals
What can I add to my carrier oils? Botanical butters, other carrier oils, essential oils, dried herbs and flowers, botanical waters
Free to $25
Clay offers a substantial amount of uses in Melanin communities for centuries! the Lapita people of the pacific islands were known for their decorative pottery for storage while the Moroccan women of Northern Africa used Rhassoul clay in spiritual bathing rituals. Clay is extremely diverse and essential for body detoxes, storage, ceremonial pieces and more.
Clay can be found freely unearthed in Southern parts of the United States that my peoples used for centuries. In my household we use the cups and bowls for mineral enhancement to ritually using them for homemade remineralizing tooth paste, detoxification baths, and more.
Best affordable Clay powder? Bentonite clay Georgia red clay (free if you live there), Rhassoul clay, Rose Clay, Purple Brazilian clay, Green Clay, and more
Where to find Clay Powders? Types can naturally occur in certain parts of the United States. Bentonite clay can usually be found in Marshall's, TJMAX, herbal stores, and Online stores like Etsy. Other clays I mentioned can be found online for as low as $5 on up depending on quantity and quality.
Where to find clay pots & cups? Antique stores, Thrift stores, Marshall's, Etsy
Herbalism does not need to be complicated. Using herbs and plant derived products can save money by avoiding hospital bills and medicine. Many of these items are built to LAST and coexist with nature to further enhance your green home!
How did you like the list? Got any more items to add?