Storing plant based Medicinals

  • Storing plant based Medicinals

    Posted by Hippocrates_Garden on January 24, 2023 at 10:05 pm

    For storing plant-based medicinals, excluding actual making of end products (tinctures, balms, etc), would the preference be simple dehydration or freeze drying, if those were your two options, and both equally possible.

    Ss6 replied 1 year, 3 months ago 11 Members · 30 Replies
  • 30 Replies
  • Hanidu-Acres

    Member
    January 24, 2023 at 11:57 pm

    Hmmm, I would like to know too.

  • Rita4liberty

    Member
    January 29, 2023 at 5:59 am

    Check out Rain country. She’s on here and her YouTube channel is awesome, her playlists on herbs is so informative.

  • GeorgiaGrandy

    Member
    January 29, 2023 at 12:16 pm

    I think it might depend on the particular herb/plant. From what little I know, both freezing and dehydrating will work. I second the recommendation of Rain Country Homestead (Heidi’s Youtube channel). I’ve learned a ton from her!

  • Redcap

    Member
    February 2, 2023 at 7:21 pm

    To make tinctures, you need fresh plant material, except for roots which can be used either dried or fresh. There are folks who will tell you that tincturing dried plant material is fine, but the process of drying (or freeze drying) breaks down cell walls which changes means some of the medicinal constituents (terpenes, alkaloids, polyphenols, etc.) may change. Some may oxidize, some go rancid, some simply inactivate when dry.

    That said, some plants dry well and do not change enough for some applications. For example, plantain should be used fresh for balms and salves, as should goldenrod. But dried comfrey can be used to make effective salves and balms. But extracts and tinctures require fresh plant materials. The extract (glycerin) or tincture (alcohol) menstruums are solvents. If the medicinal constituents aren’t there or have been inactivated, you aren’t really getting the medicinal qualities of the plant.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by  Redcap.
    • Hippocrates_Garden

      Member
      February 2, 2023 at 8:45 pm

      Wish there was a “thumbs up” or “like” for responses and not just posts.

      • Redcap

        Member
        February 2, 2023 at 10:53 pm

        Now for tea or infusions or decoctions, drying is just fine. I don’t know anything about freeze-drying, personally, but air drying or curing is fine. Freezing sliced mushrooms and berries works great. But I’m not sure if freezing greens would be a good idea, although I do have white pine needles in my freezer right now, but they won’t be soggy or weird like a green leafy thing might be.

      • Hippocrates_Garden

        Member
        February 2, 2023 at 10:58 pm

        I believe the primary difference in freeze drying vs simple dehydration is the cycling of extremely cold to pretty warm results in cell walls rupturing enabling more of the water to be extracted as the relatively fast cycling results of sublimation of the water from freezing to gas, essentially bypassing the liquid stage, and thus remove almost all the water, while leaving anything less volatile behind, and the product looking essentially the same as before the process.

      • Redcap

        Member
        February 3, 2023 at 12:55 am

        Well, as a preservation method, it sounds a lot like drying in the result overall. But most plants are so easily air dried, I don’t think I’d do it, unless I was doing crop-loads on a commercial scale maybe.

  • HeidiRainCountry

    Member
    February 3, 2023 at 1:04 am

    I dehydrate all my herbs. I only make fresh herb based tinctures very rarely, I mostly use dried herbs for making an extract using homemade wine and honey as a solvent and I have found them to be very effective. In fact because of my recent injury, my pain extract has been excellent and it was made out of all dried herbs, homemade wine and raw honey. I realize there are varying opinions on this process: fresh or dried herbs, this solvent or that, but I can attest to what has worked for us and this includes the other medicinal extracts such as the antibiotic, the muscle relaxer/sleep inducer, et cetera). One thing to keep in mind is that when it comes to drying herbs, one can preserve the properties best by going for a lower heat setting. I typically use 110° but you can go down to 95° for the most delicate herbs. This is where I prefer to use my Nesco stackable dehydrator as I can put the less delicate things closer to the heat source while the more delicate is placed farther away making it so that I do not have to dry them all separately at different temperatures. If I am drying all of the same herbs or all herbs that do best at the same setting, then I might use my cabinet style dehydrator. In the case of herbs, I would personally never use an oven to dry and those who live in a dry climate can simply hang dry.

    • Redcap

      Member
      February 3, 2023 at 4:00 am

      I certainly am glad you have been getting effective results from making medicines from dried plant material, but it isn’t an opinion that changes to medicinal and nutritive constituents render most green plants unsuitable for certain preparations when dried. There is scientific evidence for this. Either the medicinal qualities are there or they aren’t and, like I said, while it’s a most common occurrence that drying plants alters the chemical composition of the plant material that’s not an absolute across-the-board occurrence. Comfrey retains its medicinal qualities upon drying. But most leafy green plants do not retain all of theirs. I just want to be clear that my saying that is not an opinion.

      You may well be experiencing benefits because the particular constituents you need for your uses have not been affected. But most plants bestow many benefits (anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, diuretic, etc.) and it could be that some of them have been lost but the ones you happened to want have not. That, of course, is just my best logical guess.

      I don’t mean to be argumentative. I just tend to go for the most scientific proof we may have – if we have it – to support medicine making in the most knowledgable way possible. Of course, plants may be dried and preserved in many ways, but none of them makes them equally effective for all preparation methods.

    • Georgina-Cyr

      Member
      February 3, 2023 at 5:40 am

      I totally agree with Heidi, Ive been a herbalist for 25 years and low heat or naturally dried plant materials will still do what nature intended to help a person if you cant get fresh… if you can do fresh thats great too… having said that, all ways to use healing plants with positive intention is helpful. Making Plant medicine by Ricoh Cech is a great book describing how each herb works best.

      • This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by  Georgina-Cyr.
      • HeidiRainCountry

        Member
        February 3, 2023 at 1:53 pm

        👍

      • Redcap

        Member
        February 3, 2023 at 2:07 pm

        I love what you said about intention! Working with plants isn’t just about the “numbers”. While I am saying it’s good to know which plants are most amenable to drying for tincturing due to its affect on alcohol soluble constituents, plants are not entirely “dead” when dried and our connection with them is incredibly significant when working with them to create medicines. Medicines don’t “cure” they support and guide our own biological processes. In that respect, they are allies. Having a sweet intention when using either fresh or dried material enhances the relationship we have with that living thing and our willingness to be receptive to their supportive elements.

        It is always my hope that people will take a scientific approach to medicine, while still honoring the traditional. We all know that just because someone says it’s good for you, that doesn’t mean it is. I find the sharing of ideas and information very thought provoking as I tend to think logically and scientifically (being autistic). Some people find it abrasive. I don’t mean for it to be, so I hope you’ll pardon my speech; I just tend to be very plain-speaking and forget to bring emotion awareness into it. Thanks for bringing in that deeply important factor that is hard to measure but absolutely impacts healing in a big way – intention.

      • Georgina-Cyr

        Member
        February 3, 2023 at 10:29 pm

        You are awesome ! I love your honesty and the ability you have as an autistically detailed person 🙂

        and yes the relationship and intention with the plants for both practitioner and receiver of the medicine is so very important.

        For sure the fresh plant has the life energy, and various other components not available once dried,

        but I do believe drying it concentrates the medicine that is left in the plant after the moisture is gone, so while you may not get all of the fresh constituents, you might likely get more concentrated medicine from the way the plants are traditionally used as a tea or decoction.

      • Redcap

        Member
        February 4, 2023 at 6:19 am

        I absolutely agree that drying is perfect for teas and infusions. I simply disagree with the claim that using dried materials in tinctures is as good as using fresh when science has proven otherwise. I use dried materials (flower and/or leaf) all the time. I always keep several pounds of dried nettles, comfrey, red clover, eleuthero root, elderberries, and more around as we use them frequently. Just not for tincturing. I think that’s really just the distinction I would be making.

      • Georgina-Cyr

        Member
        February 4, 2023 at 8:57 pm

        you might be interested in this… Richoh Cech says its plant-specific. Sometimes dehydration helps to make cell structure more fragile, and assists in extraction. dehydration also detoxifies different plants- like black cohosh and blue cohosh roots. some plants really make a superior tincture when processed fresh, due to the presence of heat-volatile constituents. Stachys officinalis (wood betony) would be a good example of that.

        My book “making plant medicine” makes specific recommendations on each herb Pages 21- 24

        vis a vis the advisability of extracting fresh vs dry, also seasonal harvest considerations, plant parts, etc. here’s a link to the book https://strictlymedicinalseeds.com/product/making-plant-medicine-by-richo-cech-fourth-edition/

      • Redcap

        Member
        February 5, 2023 at 1:25 am

        Thank you. Yeah, I think he’s pretty amazing. But yes, it’s a matter of knowing which plants are affected and by what methods of preservation. Like I said, if you want anti-oxidant effects, for example, you don’t want to sun-dry or use a dehydrator with too much heat, but shade dry or cure in a cabinet to preserve the antioxidants. If he has included that specific information, that’s fantastic. Most herbalists don’t. Still drying does cause significant loss of SOME constituents no matter what drying method is used. Which is why I’d rather not have to look up each and every plant I would use and just use fresh. I mean, I tincture a lot. I don’t use dried plants (leaf and flower) for much more than infusions anyway. I do dry seeds, like dock and lamb’s quarters. I do dry roots if I have no use for them fresh at the time and want to have some stored. It’s not like I never dry plants. Maybe because I use tinctured preparations primarily, I just don’t want to have to look up each one to see what constituents would still be there after drying. But I will check out more of his stuff. I do love listening to him when he speaks or teaches. He’s very well-respected.

      • Georgina-Cyr

        Member
        February 5, 2023 at 8:40 pm

        I totally agree !!! Thanks for your expertise and sharing information !

  • Reynolds-in-Texas

    Member
    February 3, 2023 at 2:39 am

    I don’t have any knowledge to share but I sure would like to learn from y’all

  • coyotech

    Member
    February 3, 2023 at 2:50 am

    I would just air dry it. I don’t even use the dehydrator. But I’m in a (usually) dry climate, and things dry out well without getting moldy.

  • potpourri_of_life

    Member
    February 3, 2023 at 3:54 am

    I personally prefer to dehydrate my herbs. I use a dehydrator, my oven as well as air dry in the summer as well as hang dry in a brown paper bag as the temps begin to get cool.
    Since I use an alcohol base for tinctures, they last quite a long while, yet I also keep them in a cool and dry place. I’ve had some for a few years and are still effective.

    • HeidiRainCountry

      Member
      February 3, 2023 at 2:01 pm

      For me it is simply the best way to go. It also saves on storage space. I have been doing this for quite a number of years and while I do improve on my recipes as time goes along, I still find that dried has worked just as good if not better than fresh. Opinion or not, many herbalists that have been doing it for 30 years or more use dried herbs. I was only trying to share my own years of experience here and each person needs to find what is best for them. For example, though I first started off using vodka or vinegar, I found I could not stand these so I experimented over the years and that is where I came up with the homemade wine and honey for a solvent. The combination last just as long on the shelf as one with a high proof alcohol, and sure makes them taste better, especially the pain one because feverfew is so bitter! Now it is actually tolerable to take and boy is it effective! I rarely need to use it but with some nights this pain in my knee keeping me up at night, that extract has been a lifesaver. Not only does it take away the pain but it calms everything because of the addition of valerian leaves and catmint.

      • Redcap

        Member
        February 3, 2023 at 2:21 pm

        I am so intrigued by the honey and wine combination. I’ve heard you mention it in your videos. In my mind it brings an artful quality to the medicine. 😍 How lovely!

      • HeidiRainCountry

        Member
        February 3, 2023 at 2:24 pm

        It certainly makes it more palatable! haha Plus it saves a little money not having to buy the spirits

      • Redcap

        Member
        February 3, 2023 at 2:41 pm

        I know you make a lot of your own ingredients. Do you also ferment the wine yourself? That would likely also increase potency of the medicinal mixture due to the wine’s beneficial constituents.

      • HeidiRainCountry

        Member
        February 3, 2023 at 3:43 pm

        Yes, I make all my own wines from my grapes, rhubarb, apples, and/or blackberries. Once in awhile I may use an organic juice I purchase elsewhere

      • Redcap

        Member
        February 3, 2023 at 4:24 pm

        😍

      • potpourri_of_life

        Member
        February 3, 2023 at 3:02 pm

        Heidi, I agree with your methods. I have started to make wine, based on what I have learned from you and others. I like my garlic infused honey, so I can see how it can work with other herbs.
        You are correct. Not everyone will do things the same. I have also made tinctures using vegetable based glycerin for those who cannot have alcohol.
        I preferred to use dried herbs for tinctures, ointments, etc. yet have used fresh as well. And although I use dried herbs for teas, I love using them fresh from the plant. ♥

      • HeidiRainCountry

        Member
        February 3, 2023 at 3:44 pm

        🥰🥰

  • Ss6

    Member
    March 24, 2023 at 4:31 am

    From what I’ve learned it totally depends on the plant and/or how you want to use it in the future. Some things are better dried at least slightly to reduce the chance of mold in a salve or infused oil. Other plants need to be used fresh or frozen fresh like in a poultice. Most of my herbs are stored dried if not already in a preparation.

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