Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tips For Gathering and Drying Herbs

These tips have been gathered from both herbal elders and personal experience. They outline optimal conditions for producing both an enriched gathering experience and high-quality herbs.


  • collect herbs on a dry clear day after the dew has lifted and before the sun has drained them of energy (i.e. earlier in the day is optimal)
  • paper bags are excellent for collecting herbs; they don't take up much room, they help absorb moisture and they are not air tight
  • gather herbs in areas away from pesticides, herbicides and other pollutants; avoid roadsides, train tracks and lawns treated with 'weed and feed' (or any other chemicals)
  • take your time; be respectful of nature and all of its creatures
  • harvest from the center of the plant colony instead of harvesting at the edge of a plant colony where it is trying to expand its territory
  • do not over-harvest an herb patch; be mindful of the size of an herb patch and the general availability of the herb
  • harvest only as much as you need for this year; dried herbs for medicinal use only have a one-year shelf life
  • in your own way, give thanks to the earth for the bounty of your harvest


  • dehydrate herbs in an airy dry spot out of the sun; be sure plant material is not clumped and has enough space to dry properly
  • dehydrators are excellent for drying heavier materials like flower buds and organic fruit peelings
  • be sure herbs are bone dry before storing them or they will develop mold and spoil


  • once herbs are bone dry, package them in airtight containers (like mason jars) and store them in a cool spot away from sunlight
  • be sure to label containers with the harvest date and location
  • herbs loose their vitality after one year so it is best to replace them each growing season


  • please feel free to post questions in the comments section and I will do my best to answer them

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