How to Dry Garden Herbs

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,861
    Herbalist Deb Friedman discusses how to manage your stress levels with herbal tea, including how to dry garden herbs.

    Deb Friedman

    Deb Friedman is a trained Herbalist with a master of science degree in herbal medicine from the Tai Sophia Institute (located in Laurel, Maryland). She recommends herbs to people with problems as diverse as arthritis, allergies, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and a number of other health issues. She also writes, gives talks, and teaches classes on herbal medicine. Believing that herbal medicine is the medicine of the future as well as the past, Deb bases her herbal practice on both evidence-based scientific research and on a 1000-year-old-plus tradition of herbal medicine use throughout the world. Deb also has a master’s degree in Botany from the University of Massachusetts and enjoys searching the woods and fields for medicinal plants.

    Deb Friedman: Hi! I'm Deb Friedman. I am a clinical herbalist, and I am showing you how to make herbal teas to help you deal with stress. You can make herbal teas from fresh or dried herbs and if you have a garden, you can grow many of these herbs yourself. The herbs that are used for stress are called nervine herbs because they help support your nervous system. If you have a garden, and you are growing some of the herbs such as -- some of these might be chamomile, holy basil, lavender, and lemon balm, which are wonderful nervine herbs that you can make a tea out of. But say you have fresh herbs in your garden and you want to harvest them and have them available for you to make teas out of later on, so you are going to have to dry the plant.

    So, what you want to do is -- there are several ways you can do it. One way is, say you have clipped off the upper parts of the plant, the leaves, and flowers. One way to do it is just spread it out on a table, spread it out so they aren t too crowded. Now, to do this you would need a table space that you could spare for up to a couple of weeks, several weeks, because it does take them time to dry. So, that's one way to do it if you have the space to spare.

    Another thing you could do is you could just get a piece of screen (and you don t have to have anything with a frame) and lay your herbs on the screen and put it somewhere again where you can keep it for up to several weeks. Now while your herbs are drying, they need to be somewhere where they get a certain amount of airflow. That's why it s nice if you can use a screen. You don t want to have them in the direct sunlight or any place where they are going to get too warm and you just leave them there for a however long it takes.

    A third way would be if your plant has a long stems, you can just take the stems and a piece of string, tie the stems together and then you can hang them from a nail or a hook. I have some here hanging. You can just hang it from a nail or a hook, just leave it there as long as you want and it will dry and you will be able to use it in your tea. So, you know your herb is dried when it crumbles when you pinch it between your fingers. You don t want it necessarily to be so dry that it crumbles to a powder, but it should be pretty crunchy. That's all you need to know to dry your herbs. So next, I will show you how to store your herbs properly.