Some medicinal herbs only grow or flourish during certain months, and that is why it is necessary to preserve them correctly to take advantage of their benefits throughout the year.
In this way, it is possible to dry or dehydrate aromatic herbs to maintain all their properties and prevent them from spoiling over the months. If you still do not know how to do it, in this It’s Never Not Teatime article, we explain how to dry medicinal plants.
Drying Medicinal Herbs
Drying fresh herbs is a simple process that anyone can do at home and that will guarantee you a well-nourished natural pharmacy all year round.
To dry herbs, you must take into account which part of the plant you are going to use in your remedies and proceed to dry as indicated below. In general, to dry the stems, leaves, and tender flowers, we can use the technique of hanging:
- Cut the herbs with the help of a pruning shear and place them in a basket in a horizontal position.
- Remove the weeds and damaged leaves.
- Knot the herbs in bunches tied at the base.
- Hang them upside down and let them dry.
Although these steps are generic for drying most fresh herbs, here are the specific requirements you will need to follow depending on the part of the medicinal herb you want to dry.
Drying Tender Stems
To dry herbs with tender stems, it is essential to have a ventilated space through which warm air circulates. In such a place, herbs such as sage or rosemary -with tender stems- will release excess water and dry naturally, maintaining their properties.
You can opt for a balcony or terrace of your home, as well as a pantry or attic where the air flows, so it will be interesting to have windows.
Drying Leaves and Flowers
To dry evenly, leaves and flowers should be placed on racks or gauze on shelves where they can remain all day and where you can change their position. Flowers usually take between 3 and 8 days to dry, while leaves need between 4 and 6.
Logically, these times will vary depending on the season of the year (in summer they tend to be reduced, due to the temperature) and the conditions of the drying room: humidity level, ventilation, etc.
Once extracted, you must carefully clean the roots before drying them. To do this, moisten them with water and then dry them with a clean cloth. You should never put them to dry without making sure that you have completely removed the soil: otherwise, you will not be able to use them for brewing tea when they are dry.
In this way, it is very common to dry the roots to be able to use them later and make the most of their health benefits.
Sometimes, the therapeutic capabilities you are looking for in plants can only be obtained when the herbs are fresh. In such cases, you should collect them in small quantities, as fresh herbs wilt and lose their properties, so it is appropriate to use them soon after they have been collected. To keep them in good condition a little longer, you can store them in the refrigerator.
Protecting the plants from light and humidity, avoiding wrapping or transferring them in plastic, and checking them frequently are some of the factors that should be taken into account for the correct storage and conservation of herbs.
It should also be noted that after long periods they may lose part or all of their medicinal power and healing properties, so they should be consumed before this happens.
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