Apothecary Cabinets

Chinese Apothecary Cabinet

Apothecary cabinets: practical storage combined with traditional charm

Apothecary cabinets are beautiful pieces of furniture which feature multiple small drawers which would have originally been used by herbalists to store herbs and medicinal remedies. Thanks to their unique charm they make the perfect storage solution for modern interiors, offering a storage space in which to store small items such as CDs and DVDs. Here at Shimu we offer a wide range of apothecary cabinets and chests, including an ever-changing selection of antique pieces. Why not browse through our collection and find a unique piece of storage furniture for your home?


The history of Chinese apothecary chests and cabinets

These unusual pieces of furniture have become increasingly popular with style-conscious homeowners and it’s not hard to see why as they offer the perfect combination of antique charm combined with useful storage. Apothecary cabinets are a type of cupboard which were a feature of pharmacist and physician’s shops in China, with their use dating back many hundreds of years.

You’ll find that apothecary cabinets are available in a range of designs, from large chests of drawers which feature lots of small drawers combined with a couple of larger drawers at the bottom, through to low chests which also have a number of small drawers. Yet another option are herbalists chests which tend to be smaller in size, making them ideal for use in the bathroom or in the bedroom as bedside tables.

Whatever their size or shape, apothecary cabinets or chests were used to store a variety of herbs, medicines, elixirs and tea leaves. The contents of an apothecary cabinet would have been meticulously organised, hence the numerous small drawers, designed to keep different medicines and preparations separate. In some antique pieces you’ll still be able to see the original draw markings and label holders which only adds to the unique charm of these wonderful items.

Apothecary chests and cabinets were often decorated with lacquered or painted finishes which becomes worn and crackled over time to give a charming and highly original appearance. As already mentioned, many antique pieces still feature their original drawer labels, whilst some have drawers which are split into several sections with wooden dividers. Antique herbalist chests and apothecary cabinets are, however, becoming increasingly difficult to come by so adding one to your interiors is a very special way to bring a touch of history into your home.

How will you use your apothecary cabinet?

Chinese apothecary chests and cabinets are ideal for today’s contemporary interiors thanks to their small drawers which are perfect for stowing away anything from CDs and DVDs, through to toiletries, socks and underwear. Or why not consider using one to store herbs and spices in your kitchen, or as a haberdashery cabinet for craft materials? Furthermore, low apothecary cabinets can also provide an ideal television stand for the living room, complete with practical storage drawers underneath.

Our range of apothecary cabinets and herbalist chests includes unique and original antique pieces, alongside superb quality newly made items. As our antique items are unique and sourced by us directly from China, our selection is constantly changing. Every piece is carefully chosen for its unique beauty and original charm and we take great pride locating items which are in excellent condition.

Alongside our collection of antiques we also offer a wide range of newly made items. Our ranges of new furniture are designed to replicate original vintage styles and are hand made in China using original joinery skills and techniques. Our range of classical Chinese furniture includes a selection of beautiful apothecary cabinets and chests which are mainly constructed from local elm wood which is also known as ‘Northern Elm’. This type of wood has been used for making furniture in northern China for centuries and is appreciated for its porous nature which is ideal for holding coloured lacquer. In addition, elm wood often shows a lovely grain pattern which has helped to ensure its popularity amongst furniture makers.

You’ll find that our newly made classical Chinese apothecary cabinets and chests are available in a range of sizes and wood finishes, including black lacquer, warm elm, light elm and coloured finishes.

Once you’ve chosen the perfect apothecary wooden cabinet for your home, why not accessorise the top of the cabinet with a stylish Chinese ornamental item from our accessories range? From ornaments and sculptures, through to Chinese style lamps and lanterns, we have everything you need to create a welcoming home, inspired by the charm and beauty of oriental living

Buy Chinese apothecary cabinets from Shimu


At Shimu we offer a wide and ever-changing collection of unique Chinese antique furniture pieces, imported by us directly from China. Each piece has been carefully selected for its original beauty and charm. If we don’t have exactly what you’re looking for, please don’t hesitate to get in touch as we’ll aim to find the perfect piece of furniture for you. In addition, we also have a collection of high-quality new furniture designed to replicate original Chinese styles.

Our antique and new furniture is available to order online for UK-wide delivery through our secure website, or why not visit our spacious showroom in Albion Mills, Greengates, West Yorkshire?


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