Fresh plants are usually more effective than dried ones. However, there will be times when you need to harvest plants and then dry and store them so they are available later. For example, some plants only grow at certain times of the year, while others might not grow near your home; or you might want to have a stock of a certain plant available to use immediately without having to go out and harvest it first. In this section we offer advice on how best to dry and store plants.
- You should dry your plants in such a way that they are completely dry after 3 days.
- Prepare and clean the part of the plant as described in the previous section.
- If you are using leaves, then remove all the stems and, if necessary, the leaf-strings as well (e.g. pawpaw leaves). Cut them in the same way you would cut up leafy vegetables, into pieces no bigger than 1 cm.
- Dry flowers in the shade.
- Dry roots and fruits in the sunshine.
- Dry leaves in a well-aired and shaded place. When they have lost most of their moisture, continue drying them in the shade. A good place for drying, provided it is clean, is on the ceiling, under the roof.
- The best place to store dried plants is in a clean airtight container made from glass, plastic or wood.
- Thoroughly clean and dry your airtight containers before putting plants in them. This is best done by boiling the container, or washing it with clean, hot, soapy water and then rinsing.
- Store plant products in dark places, away from sunlight.
- Do not store dried plants for more than 6 months as after that they will lose their medicinal properties.
- You cannot store plant materials in paper bags because insects can attack them or they may become damp.