How do you organize and store your natural and home medicine information?

dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Herbal Medicine-Making

Is your information on electronic media or on paper? Do you have it organized, either electronically or on paper, in alphabetical order, or random? Is it organized by name, use, or .... you get the idea.



  • SherryA
    SherryA Posts: 314 ✭✭✭

    I have information both on paper and in electronic media. I find it very helpful to be able to search, though, so I'd say my focus is on electronic media. As much as possible I save things in Evernote. It's very easy to clip a website or a quote from a book or article, and then it's all searchable. I save entire magazines in Evernote. I can put things in folders and also assign tags. But most of my searches are searching the contents of what I've saved.

    Of course I have a lot of books. I also print some things and save them in 3 ring binders. I'm afraid they aren't very well organized. I just put dividers between the different printed items and then I have to go through them all to find something.

    I've told myself several times that I'm going to do a better job of organizing the printed material, but I'm starting to think I'll never do it. Evernote works very well for me. I usually either go to my books or Evernote to find what I'm looking for.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I save a lot of info electronically: bookmark web pages, save useful e-mails in subject folders, etc. Some info is copied in Word documents and saved on my computer in file folders organized by subject.

    I have hard copy books and printouts as well.

    I find it necessary to type up my list of on-hand herbs and essential oils for quick reference. Same for my home medicine items like salves and tinctures.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,505 admin

    I have so much information stored that I would need a librarian to catalogue it all, if it were in hard copy form. So most of my information is stored on my computer. I have information filed in several ways; by plants in an alphabeticalized materia medica, by symptoms or conditions, by recipes and sometimes by sources of where the info comes from.

    That being said, I have many volumes on botany and plant identification, herbal medicine, homeopathy and other natural treatments and healing methods. I love books.

    And I also have some information in binders; mostly notes, handouts, downloads, etc. from classes. But that is in need of organization. Just not enough time in a day.

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,500 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Same here...lots of books, articles, notes. I have folders for my favorite herbal teachers on my computer that I try to move things into as I download them. I try to rename files that are not clear so that I can search easily.

    I also have a huge storage box with alphabetized folders for individual herbs, and for conditions that I have or might encounter. And notebook binders for lessons, also sorted by teacher.

    It's a complicated thing.

    I did recently sort my herb books, and donated a big pile to my pastor's wife, who is also a kitchen table herbalist. I only kept the ones that I actually use, or that are historically important.

  • dottile46
    dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭

    @herbantherapy Expect a large delivery from FedEx! I am sending all my information to you for organization. Don't I wish. Your system is amazing. Way to go girl! I'm going to check into LibraryThing. Looks promising just by the search results.

  • sallyhoward
    sallyhoward Posts: 106 ✭✭✭

    Inspiring @herbantherapy ! But where to begin for this hoarder of information

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,500 ✭✭✭✭✭

    One thing that I have started to do is weed out information that I do not believe is accurate any longer. As I've learned from different teachers and authors, I am quick to apply that to new (to me) information. If I find a particular author is unreliable or even sharing dangerous information, I then delete everything from that author. If I can't trust someone on one thing, everything from that source becomes suspect.

    I find that online articles about the latest, greatest essential oil can be sketchy. Yes, I use them, but I don't ingest them, and am very careful with diffusing around my pets. Cats, in particular, cannot break down many essential oils when diffused.

    Unsafe information gets passed around as truth, and so I try to verify new (to me) information using 3 different sources.

  • dottile46
    dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭

    @Mary Linda Bittle, accurate, safe information is must.

  • peggyfairbourne
    peggyfairbourne Posts: 7 ✭✭✭

    Couldn't agree more, Mary Linda. There is much suspect information in natural remedies, and our families and pets rely on our ability to weed out everything that is unsafe. I have used oils on grandchildren that some said were safe, but later learned they were not. This is one of the regrettable by-products of the internet.

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    @sallyhoward I would begin with your physical inventory of plants/herbs/medicine you currently grow. And any teas or herbs or salves you have on hand.

  • bcabrobin
    bcabrobin Posts: 251 ✭✭✭

    @herbantherapy are you ready to teach a class on how you do this?

    I have a lot of info in folders on the computor. But I'm trying to keep up with printing a hard copy of the really inportant stuff. Plant ID for common local plants, uses, etc. Also bookmark websites, info.

    I am working on books for our families bugout bags, carry in firstaid kits, cars/trucks etc. of the common herbs for medical, can eat etc. also include recipes. Thought of that for Christmas (at this rate maybe next Christmas or the next).

    Learned the hard way (live rurel, common to have power outages). I had the day off work because of a storm so time to make things, but the recipes are on the computor and no power. So Everything I make and some of the new ones are printed out now.

  • dottile46
    dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭

    Great idea @bcabrobin I hadn't thought of that.

  • maimover
    maimover Posts: 359 ✭✭✭

    @dottile46 i agree with you about being able to access the information when we might really need it. I do have quite a bit of information stored electronically but am trying very hard to print as much information as I possibly can; especially the basics. I have several books and try to add to my collection. I purchased 2 notebooks; one I’ve been putting herbal recipies, and more information about herbs, the other notebook I’ve been putting gardening, soil, and planting information in. Just beginning to learn so I think this system will help me to learn as I deal/process it, serve as references for me, and hopefully help my children and grandchildren when things really get bad. Hopefully they’ll be able to learn and grow food and make medicine too.

  • I do have a physical inventory of my herbs and essential oils but I need to go through it because I think I've not marked when I've used some. I have several small notebooks, one for Aromatherapy, one for Herbs and one Garden one. I include blends or how I made a tincture etc. The garden one I write out when and where I have planted things and how they have done. That being said, I sometimes forget to add information in all of them lol. I like to be organized but hate the "paper work" aspect of it all.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I can see progress in my attempts at getting back into gardening: today I inventoried and typed up my list of seeds, date bagged and where I bought them.

    I was losing track of what seeds I had; I guess even container gardening requires an organized mind.

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,500 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I find myself using this snowy Sunday to sort through a huge pile of articles printed off "to read later". Many of them are about herbs and essential oils, and the like.

    So I'm reading them and putting them into piles on the table so that I can file them...soonish.

    Oh, how I wish I'd read and filed each one as I found it. That could be a New Year's resolution, yes?

  • dottile46
    dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭

    @maimover I hate to think of the number of times I have been shopping and thought "Oh, I need to pickup some more notebooks". It isn't for lack of notebooks for sure. I just love the clearance isle at the local wallyworld about mid September when they put the 5 subject spirals, notebook paper, notebooks, page protectors, subject dividers, etc out. 😍

    @seeker.nancy I can't even stay motivated enough to keep a running inventory of canned goods in the pantry. Keeping track on paper is hard for me. In the winter of 2017-2018 I did a spread sheet on my computer of the seeds on hand with botanical? name, source, and all the planting information. As I started seeds indoors or sowed in the garden I would enter that date. I kept it up to date until about mid July when tomato canning and pickle making got so intense. Once I got a couple days behind I found I really didn't remember if I picked that yesterday or the day before.

    @Mary Linda Bittle New Year's resolution? Absolutely!

    I've thought about this a bit since I started this thread and the one thing I have concluded - I get sidetracked by too many things.

  • maryannfricko
    maryannfricko Posts: 133 ✭✭✭

    Most of mine are in electronic files. I have some in books and information from workshops in those journals that people write in.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,816 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @herbantherapy I'm sure there are many in this forum that would be interested in organizing assistance.

  • alindsay22
    alindsay22 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    I love, love, love this post. Need to start doing this rather than rely on memory and an internet search. The little "preppier" in me says I need to have something not digital but I just haven't done it yet. @herbantherapy I love the 3x5 card idea - small and simple.

    I do keep my herbs in mason jars with lists benefits of each plant on the jar. 1) so I can mix and match according to ailment and 2) so I read them all the time and remember what they are useful for.

  • Elizabeth Voss
    Elizabeth Voss Posts: 57 ✭✭✭

    I just hurt myself falling of alader and made a essential oil blend that did well the frist few days - with warm water compresse - I wish I had remembered the comfrey poultice now! still have some nerve pinch on my back shoulder/right elbow - hopeuflly which is slowly clearing up in time.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 994 ✭✭✭✭

    I do books, hardcopy notes, and electronic. I keep putting on the project list some type of master index because I know I have a lot of good information that I've forgotten I even have.

  • frogvalley
    frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

    I admit it - I'm terrible at organizing my medicines. I have books, notes, magazines, remedies, herbs, old boxes of whatever with ingredients, etc. I think the most used is the Encyclopedia Husbandica. Thankfully, he still has his mind. Most of what we use often is at hand so we remember it. Fortunately/unfortunately, we haven't had a wide variety of issues so we don't tend to need much. But who can resist buying a new herbal? Not me. I justify it by saying that when there isn't electricity, we will have books.

    The FDA is trying to ban homeopathic remedies so I'm going to have to try and be better about organizing when I have to make my own remedies.

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,411 admin

    I went through different stages in organising my materials: my first system was by herbs and by illnesses, but then I changed into wider topics like “herbs for digestion system” or “herbs for respiratory tracks”. For each Topic I have two main folders: a list of herbs with a lot of information about each one and a list of recipes - how one can use the herb as a remedy or in the kitchen. And from these I combine materials for my workshops.

    I try to keep my info in electronic form, but, of course, I have piles of notes and articles to be added to... and new topics appear all the time like herbs/recipes for viruses, dementia, multiple sclerosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes.... all those modern civilisation illnesses.

    I use winter months to add information to my electronic folders and, as soon as I add the information, I throw away the notes, etc. I love seeing the pile decreasing. The Corona quarantine is a good time to sort out more information.

    However, I have my favourite magazines. I make notes on the cover of each - a list of articles I am mostly interested in. And books...

    all this organising takes so much time... I would love my brain to be like a computer - once I read something it is stored there for ever. Why are we not perfect - at least I would love to have a much better memory. But then... we would remember all the nasty things as well.... May be we are perfect after all and have all that we need 😊

  • jowitt.europe
    jowitt.europe Posts: 1,411 admin

    @torey I had a look at the links and I will add a few references. Many of my sources are in German, but there are very useful websites in English