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The Importance of Herb Freshness

I love to cook with herbs.  They give such amazing flavor and add to the health benefits of the foods being cooked.  I’m sure you like to use herbs for cooking too!  Have you ever used an old herb, something that’s been in your kitchen cupboard maybe a little too long?  How did it taste?  Probably ok, but not that great.  And maybe you couldn’t even taste it at all!  And now, have you used a fresh herb with your cooking?  Maybe something you’ve gotten fresh at the store or even picked out of your own garden?  It’s a HUGE difference in taste, isn’t it?  Well, this principle applies to medicinal herbs just like it does with culinary herbs – simply put, fresher herbs will give you MUCH better results. 

Old herbs will do very little (if anything) for you.  Herbs that are mass-produced (like many larger companies have to in order to meet minimums and cost projections) will have hundreds of thousands of a particular product made at a time.  This product is then stored on a warehouse shelf somewhere, which is eventually sold to a store where it sits on the store shelf until the consumer eventually buys it.  This is especially problematic for herbs that must be processed down to a very small particle to fit into a capsule or tea bag – it tends to lose its potency pretty quickly.  This is why we make small batches of our products at a time.  We know what a big deal freshness is – it’s one of those things that I’m a stickler about – one of my “things”.  It’s a lot more work for us and a bit time-consuming, but SO well worth it!

Here’s how you can tell if an herb is fresh:

  • Use your senses.
    • Does the herb look alive? 
    • How is the color?
    • Does it smell good?  Does it smell like the fresh plant should?
    • Even though an herb is dried, it should still have life in it that you can see, smell and taste.
    • If the herb seems dull in any way or has little to no aroma, it is likely old and not worth your money.

Hope that helps!

Testimonial

I am a nursing mother and I am very concerned about taking any medications for illness. I have used Echinacea very successfully to fight a sinus infection and a bad cold. The Echinacea had no ill effects on my baby or my milk supply. I feel that the herbs helped my body fight the infections better than an antibiotic prescription would have. The antibiotics attack both the good and bad organisms in my body creating the opportunity for thrush or yeast infection in either me or my baby, whereas the herbs help my body rid itself of only the bad organisms and to heal with no worry of any kind of secondary problem. S.E.