Preserving the Plants: Ramblings & Rants on Storage, Processing & Expiration Dates

Preserving the Plants: Ramblings & Rants on Storage, Processing & Expiration Dates

You know those hard and fast timelines for storage of tinctures and dried plants included in most herbal books? Well, they suck. Or rather, many of them are terribly inaccurate. But wait, that doesn’t mean your dried herbs are immortal, or that the stuff in the shiny foil bags from herb stores is even worth opening. Here’s a few guidelines and tips for processing and storing your precious medicinals. I just stuck my face in a bag full of White Sage wildcrafted about seven years ago, and wow, it smells nearly just like the other bag I have that was harvested six months ago. I’ve also got some Wild Mugwort from about four years ago. Made into a tea, it’s still tongue twistingly bitter and pretty damn aromatic too. I even have Rose buds and...

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Harvesting Motherwort from the Weed Garden this morning, I grinned like a little kid as I snipped each fibrous stalk and added the feathery green beings to my basket. It’s so simple and maybe even a little silly but this is what I’ve wanted to do my whole life. Not just working as a healer, or even just working with plants. But specifically, working with local, dooryard herbs and wild woodland roots in a relationship so secure and so profound that I literally know these beings with my eyes closed. By scent, touch and even sound I recognize these complex and vibrant tribes that people the Canyon. To a degree, I can do the same thing with bags of dried herbs from Eastern Europe and China, or tinctures made from dried percolated plants from New York...