Ok. This title is a complete oxymoron, I know. I mean how can anything be non-essential and essential at the same time?
Let me explain.
I’ve been using natural remedies for about 12 years now, and making most of my own remedies (instead of paying double to buy them) for the past 5 years or so. I’ve heard some herbalists say that a kitchen scale is an essential item when making herbal preparations for accurate measurements. I have not had a kitchen scale until this year, so I’ve made many herbal preparations over the years with great success without one.
There are two basic ways most people measure herbs.
How to measure herbs (and the non-essential essential tool you need)!
1. Simpler’s Method
The simpler’s method is an ancient method used by herbalists of old, and it involves measuring by volume. This method is still used by many today. I’m not a perfectionist-type person, so eyeballing it here and there, or not being exactly exact in my measurements is the way I measure herbs a lot. (And the way I used to always do it.)
The simpler’s method involves measuring in parts. So how do you measure in parts?
Ok, let’s say a formula calls for:
- 3 parts red raspberry
- 1 part nettle
- 1/2 part peppermint
You can choose any object to measure with, you just have to apply it consistently.
If you wanted to measure in cups, you would use:
- 3 cups red raspberry
- 1 cup nettle
- 1/2 cup peppermint
Or if you wanted to put together a smaller amount of the herbs, you could use:
- 3 tablespoons red raspberry
- 1 tablespoon nettle
- 1/2 tablespoon peppermint
- 3 teaspoons red raspberry
- 1 teaspoon nettle
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint
Get it? You just have to apply the measurements consistently.
You could also be creative and do something like:
- 3 bowls red raspberry
- 1 bowl nettle
- 1/2 bowl peppermint
Or use drinking glasses
Or sippy cups
Or whatever you like.
So how would you use these “parts”? Well you would mix the herbs together and store them in a container (preferably glass), and use them to make tinctures, teas, salves, etc.
2. Measuring by the Metric System
Another way to measure herbs is by weight. Now, as I said, many herbalists think that it’s necessary to measure herbs by weight. I understand this logic because an ounce of echinacea root is going to weight a whole lot more than an ounce of echinacea leaf, and if you are using both herbs in the same formula, you’ll end up with different amounts if you measure by weight rather than by volume. However, I really think it’s a matter of preference since herbalists for hundreds of years have used the simpler’s method with great success – and I am a nostalgic sort of person that loves doing things “the old way”.
I have found one way that I really, really love using a kitchen scale for herbs, making this kitchen tool an “essential” item. I have recipes that call for so many ounces of herb.
Like it might say:
- 2 oz. lemon balm
- 2 oz. nettle leaf
And I can measure it exactly with my scale! I LOVE the simplicity of this! When a recipe called for ounces, I used to have to measure the whole bag of herbs by volume, convert it to ounces, and divide it, and covert it to volume weight – or something like that. I would then write on the bag of herbs how many cups there were in case I ever came across another recipe with ounces. I had to really use my brain for this method, and I totally need to save my brain function for homeschooling my kiddos, ya know what I mean? It was not fun.
So while I lived many herbal years without a kitchen scale, it has made my life easier and become “essential” to me. Though if you are new to herbs and it overwhelms you to even think of buying your first bag of herbs (I’ve been there), don’t stress over a scale just yet because you can get by without one. BUT I highly recommend it to make your life easier. And you may decide you love measuring in metrics all the time!
The Non-Essential Essential Tool For Measuring Herbs
I was sent this scale from EatSmart Precision Elite Digital Kitchen Scale to try out, and I’m so glad they sent it to me! I think it’s just awesome! It makes weighing herbs SO simple! Of course scales are great for measuring ingredients for regular meals too!
Features of the EatSmart Precision Elite Digital Kitchen Scale
- A professional scale with extra large lighted display
- Stainless steel platform
- Weighs up to 15 lbs.
- Weighs in pounds, ounces, grams, and kilograms
- Has the tare feature, which eliminates the weight of the plate or container if you choose to weigh in something, giving you the exact weight of the herb or food. This is such a nice feature that many scales don’t have! This tare feature is also extremely helpful if you are making your own soap (which I’d like to do one of these days).
- Has a 3 minute auto shut-off to save battery life while you prepare ingredients
- 2 year warranty
- GREAT customer service - they seriously go above and beyond.
- Batteries included with the scale
- Includes FREE EatSmart Calorie Factors guide