We know what it’s like. You bought that supplement thinking it was going to solve your (insert XYZ problem here) and it didn’t work, or you thought it wasn’t helping, so you stopped it & its now sitting in the cupbard taking up room.

But what if I still will use it? Says the hoarder..

But what if it really did work? Said the sceptic..

But maybe it did work? Said the believer..

Nope none of the above, I just dont need it anymore. Said the pragmatist.

So you think of someone who might like it but it’s for hormones which is very hard to give away! Said the realist.

AND, its out of date!

Most use by dates on supplements are arbitrary. They don’t mean much. Minerals effectively last forever – they cant change into anything else. You could burn them and they’ll still be there.

Vitamins surely they wont work anymore. Reality is that some would and some wouldn’t – Vitamin C and folate generally don’t last forever, they will degrade/oxidise, but Vitamin B12 woud be ok. But it wont hurt if you keep taking a multivitamin that’s out of date.

Herbs have a shelf life but stuck inside a capsule in the dark bottle in the cupboard for a few years won’t degrade it by much. Just keep on using them and see if they work and smell them to see if you can extract any more informationa about their freshness. Same with teas.

Fish oils – dont use beyond their use by date as they oxidise and go ranid easily especially if they aren’t kept in the firdge. This is the same for any oil and agian the smell test is sufficient.

The final option then, is the msot organic solution you could ask for – put them in your garden directly or compost them!

Yes all natural supplements are elements from the earth so back into the earths crust is ultimatley where they belong. We are natural after all and a naturopaths job is to help you by using nature. So all supplements, if there is no other use for them can be 100% recycled and you will still feel as tho you are doing something good in the end – they will help your garden gown and provide well needed nutrients to your soil. Pop them on your vege patch for best effect.


Whiile we are on the subject get some EM into your soild to add live microbes – the next best thing after minerals for soil. EM Garden is the perfect product to create a vibrant and diverse garden environment. We have this in store from great Christchurch manufacturers. Low carbon footprints all over!

Simone Reddington is the founder of the Apothecary, a Medical Herbalist and thinker. She holds a degree in Psychology and is a professional member of the New Zealand Association of Medical Herbalists.