What You Need
Ingredients & Equipment
• Kitchen or garden scissors
• Rubber bands and/or drying screens
• Clean glass jars for storing herbs
• Labels, permanent marker and clear packing tape
• Optional: for fresh roots – pruners to chop plant material and vegetable brush to clean roots.
1. Gather supplies & clean everything: Your herbal product is only as good as your raw
materials, including clean equipment! Wash and rinse all equipment in hot water. For extra
precautions wipe down with alcohol and allow to air dry.
2. Harvest your herbs! Harvest aboveground plants & flowers after morning moisture has
evaporated. Use kitchen or garden scissors for tender leaves or stems and pruners for woodier
stems. Take care not to bruise herbs or restrict airflow (i.e. don’t stuff into bags).
Harvest roots of perennial herbs in fall or early spring and biennials in autumn at end of 1st year or
spring of 2nd year. Use a sturdy digging fork and replant root crown at original soil depth, buds up.
Garble your herbs by inspecting for insects, disease, etc. and removing damaged parts. Wash off any
dirt as needed and process roots ASAP – scrub with a vegetable brush to remove soil & chop roots.
3. Dry herbs in a warm location with good airflow out of direct sunlight.
a) Bundle herbs with rubber band: easy method – hang herbs in bundles on an indoor line.
• Gather herbs in small bundles, < 10 stems per bundle.
• Split bundle into 2 and loop rubber band around the stems of one of the halves.
• Circle folded rubber band around entire bundle until it is taught.
• Loop rubber band over a few stems to hold band in place.
• Separate bundle into 2 halves and place on drying line.
b) Drying loose herbs in screens or baskets: for loose plant materials such as flowers, roots, bark or
free leaves, place material, one layer thick, screens or baskets that allow good air circulation.
Periodically gently shake herb material. Tip: lay cheesecloth or muslin between screen and plant
material to prevent harvest from falling through screen.
Thoroughly dried herbs should crunch when rubbed between fingers. Store herbs in labeled, airtight
glass jars out of direct sunlight.
4. Making teas…2 types of water extractions:
Infusions: herbs (lighter parts – flowers, leaves, fruits, those with high essential oil content) are prepared with a French press, stainless steel or glass pot, or infuser. Bring desired amount of water
to boil, pour over herb and let sit covered for ~20 minutes. Strain & drink.
Decoctions: tea that is simmered in water (tougher parts – roots, barks, hard non-aromatic seeds,
medicinal mushrooms). Prepare in stainless steel or glass pot. Place herb in water and bring to a boil,
simmer with lid on ~20-30 minutes. Remove from heat, strain & drink.
To combine – prepare decoction first, turn off heat, then add herbs to infuse for ~20 minutes.
Teas stay fresh for about 10 hours at room temp and 24-48 hours in the refrigerator.
General Proportions & Guidelines:
~1 tsp – 1 Tbsp of dried, coarsely chopped herb or 2 Tbsp of fresh herb per 1 cup of water. By
weight this is anywhere from 0.5 to 5 grams of dried herb for every cup of water.
A typical dose is approximately 3-4 cups of tea. This dosing method is not exact and is not
appropriate for herbs that have high potential side effects.