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October 1, 2021

Best Tools for Every Herbalist on a Budget

In the midst of the 2019-2021 pandemic, it isn't surprising that individuals are becoming more aware of how cost-effective herbal remedies are compared to prescription medication. Besides being cheaper, herbal remedies can be used as a natural preventive treatment to boost the immune system and promote organ regeneration.

The main question that people ask when starting out is, "What tools do I use for natural remedies?" Finding alternatives to expensive devices and/or procedures can get overwhelming.

No worries! These are my experiences with budgeting quality tools with cost efficiency. Criteria's I go with are:

  • Eco-friendly
  • Frugal
  • Easy to store

Reflection: Our ancestors lived similarly. As a mom who practices herbalism, the simplicity in these practices has always intrigued me.

Mortar & pestal

Price: $6 to $25

Mortar & pestals have been traditionally in eumelanin societies to crush herbs to be able to mix and form medicinal powers. Many communities still favor this tool over electrical appliances for reasons including how effective it is for natural aromas.

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

I found my marble one at my local Marshall's for under $13. The size and material do affect the cost however, my small one is perfect for a household of three. I love using my M & P for crushing herb and it can be more preferable than a blender.

Glass jars

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.

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

I bought my amber bottles off Etsy to use for herbal skin and hair care. My clear jars came from reusable pasta cans and other jars to store womb broth, herbed soups and dry herb storage. Eventually I will order some Mason jars for fermenting foods to increase my probiotics. 

Cast iron tea kettle

$20 to $50

Comm. 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.

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

Tea kettles was great during my pregnancy. Whenever I was missing iron in my food, I would make tea in a cast iron. How a tea kettle fit in my budget was the size? I had found a cast iron pot for less than $30 which saved me $$$ on iron pills, organic food, and deficient medicine.

Cilantro

< $5

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!

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

I have not personally used these methods however I'm willing to test them to see if they are legit. We are tired of buying specialized pitchers and contributing to plastic waste, so I'll conduct a small experiment to see exactly how much heavy metals cilantro absorbs. I'm just happy to sure because cilantro is cheap and offer an array of benefits itself.

Shea butter

$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.

Alternative to: Premade and store-bought cosmetics

Benefits: Offer vitamins and minerals, to soothing skin and scalp inflammation.

I grew up using shea butter to speed up the healing process of wounds, marks, and discoloration. It was always easier to find and typically cheap from Ghanaian spots. It wasn't until recently I've been taking it to the next level by adding dry herbs, carrier & essential oils for further body enhancement!

Reusable tea bags

Reusable tea bags are not only frugal, but sustainable for teas.

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.

 Steel reusable tea bags may be less likely to promote mold growth, so I've always been using it. It's essential helpful when you're a busy person and don't have time to inspect and worry about mold.

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.

This essential is helpful for those who live in rural towns. If you live in or near cities and chemical factories, I personally wouldn't risk it. But don't stop there! Take a trip and find a camping ground that is less likely to be impacted by our waste.

Notebook

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 my thing and I think it's important to continue writing for our children and so forth. However, it is important to have so I won't forget the formula.

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.

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

I use carrier oils for everything. It's a must have in absorbing nutrients, conditioning my family skin, and keeping us healthier in general. I've thought about my EBT fam'lee and think this approach may benefit us holistically.

Clay

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.

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

We use clay item such as cups and bowls for mineral enhancement in our herbal teas and maintain room temperature water.

We ritualistically use clay for homemade mineral toothpaste, detoxification baths and masks from the scalp to the body. The benefits we sought out was for skin conditions, heavy metal purification, natural teeth cleaning, maintaining body health. Another thing I loved is clay can be infant friendly when used appropriately. I started to use clays on my child at four months old to reduce heavy metals in her body.

My bentonite clay came from Marshall's, it was under $13. My Moroccan clays came from Shea Butter Cottage which was around $12. 

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?

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  1. This blog post had such great ideas. I had no idea about using a cast iron tea kettle. I also loved the part about writing down recipes to pass down for future generations. Definitely saving this one!

    1. Thank you LifewithAnitaB. It was truly a wonderful feeling to write a book of recipes and tips in order to go back to. The cast iron tea kettle has so many benefits. Defintely glad you’ve taken interest in it.

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