Purchasing and Storing Herbs


The manufacture of herbal products is usually fairly simple and does not lend itself to the problems we find when purchasing essential oils. The only truly complicating factor with herbal production comes via standardization which is a process through which chemical constituents within an herb may be manipulated in order to guarantee a certain potency believed to be maximally effective. I don’t use standardized herbs because I strongly feel that herbs work best in their entirely natural form where nature controls the dials. I consider standardized herbs to be more like herbal supplements than plant remedies, and for the most part I have not seen herbal supplements work well in birds.

The main problems you will encounter when buying non-standardized herbs are:

1. They don’t work well or at all because the herbs are old or damaged IE they have lost their active medicinal constituents.

2. They are contaminated from heavy metals, fungus, bacteria etc due to being grown in sketchy conditions by dubious herb farmers.

3. They were grown, harvested, dried or processed in such a way that they don’t have much medicinal value, i.e. they are weak in terms of their constituents.

The ways to get around these problems are to limit your purchases to companies that do lab testing on their products and that also check/test for/care about potency. There are lots of these types of companies out there. But to simplify it:

– Mountain Rose Herbs (www.mountainroseherbs.com)

– Gaia Herbs (www.gaiaherbs.com)

– Herb Pharm (www.herb-pharm.com)

– Mayway (www.mayway.com)

When/if you get into herbs deeply,  you may want to start growing and wildcrafting plant medicines yourself, but in the meantime…you can’t go wrong with these companies.


Where you purchase herbs will be your first hurdle when attempting to use effective plant remedies; how you store the fresh herbs you purchase is your second hurdle. Improperly stored herbs don’t work well, if at all. There is no point in purchasing herbs if you don’t properly store them. Fortunately, storage is simple: place all dried herbs into sealed glass containers in the total darkness. Label with a one year expiration date. Make sure to check the date as old herbs, again, won’t work.

Tinctures also need to be stored in glass bottles in total darkness. Alcohol tinctures can be labelled with a five year expiration; for glycerin tinctures, I use a one year expiration date.

Salves should be stored in sealed glass or plastic and will last one year.

Capsules should come with expiration dates on the labels.


Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, or by any veterinarian. All information, including any product or technique mentioned, is for educational purposes only. None of the information is intended to diagnose or treat any disease.