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How To Make Your Own Supplements

Posted by Naomi Schoenfeld on

Making Your Own Supplements

It's time for another of Yes, You Can Make That At Home. Today's guest? Nutritional supplements.

Item:            Home-assembled capsules
Replaces:    Purchased herbal supplements

If you've been following this blog you probably know that it may be a smart idea to include lots herbs and spices in your diet. The problem is, the flavors in some high-nutrient herbs and minerals don't necessarily play well with one's favorite foods.

Take kelp, for example. Now that we're a sea-salt kind of family, adding a consistent dietary source of iodine has become pretty important -- and kelp, once something we barely noticed, suddenly became an important nutritional player.

Why do we avoid iodized salt? Check out the label. Salt, additives, and sugar. Yummy.


When we first started including kelp into our diet, we added it straight to our food. We sprinkled it on salad. Tucked a half teaspoon into a smoothie. Added a pinch to beans or soup. Before long, it felt like everything we ate tasted vaguely fishy. And let me tell you, fish-strawberry-orange smoothie is not what I wanted for breakfast. But buying supplements isn't really something we want to do. The cost is high. We can't necessarily find the herb combinations we want. (For example, did you know that turmeric, high in anti-inflammatory compounds, may work best when combined with black pepper?). And to top it off, a recent study had shown that many supplements, even those from well-known brands, don't actually contain the herb on the label. Instead, it turns out, they contain things like sawdust and rice bran.

Our solution is the Capsule Machine:

You can pick one up for about $15 at, or at any number of other online retailers. You'll also need empty capsules, and your herb of choice. (Try Mountain Rose Herbs for bulk pricing.)

The premise is simple. Load the gadget with empty gelatin capsules. Fill with substance of choice. Put top of gadget on bottom of gadget, press down, and then eject two dozen neat little completed capsules.

To demonstrate:

Step One. Grab the gadget, capsules, and herb of choice.


Step Two. Separate the capsules into their two halves, if they didn't come that way. Load them into the Capsule Machine.


Step Three. Fill 'er up. 


Step 4. Put the top on and press down firmly.


Step Five. Wriggle that top loose, and lift off. Admire the magic.


You can do this with any flake or powder you like. I kept going and restocked our supplies of ginger, eggshell calcium, and stinging nettle.


Fun stuff. But how does it compare to store-bought?


  • National brand kelp supplement: 180-count for $5.99 = $0.03 per capsule, non-organic and trusting the label for contents
  • Homemade: 1 lb. bulk organic kelp powder at $5.00 = $0.01 per capsule, empty capsules at $12.55 per 1000 = $0.01+0.01= $0.02 per capsule, organic and contents known

About a third less in cost -- plus the pretty priceless benefits of knowing what you're putting in your body.


  • National brand organic formulations:  $0.08 - $0.29 per capsule
  • Homemade, using eggshell powder: $0.01 per capsule for the empty capsule

So, there you have it. Cheaper, safer, and better for you.

(It's caveat time! The above reflects my own opinion and experience, and may be completely and utterly wrong. I don't actually know if they're cheaper, safer, or better for you. Determinations regarding the cost, safety, or benefits of any dietary supplement can only be made by appropriately licensed financial consultants, public safety officials, and/or medical professionals who are familiar with your own specific budgetary, environmental, and personal health needs. Consult with these and any other relevant experts before implementing any changes in your diet, physical activities, daily routine, personal relationships, or cognitive thought patterns.)

You know, these caveats are getting rather fun to write -- I may need to include one in every post. :D

What herbs do you use as supplements -- and for what nutrient?

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