My Medicinal Herb Collection, PLUS How To Store Dried Herbs

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Herbs are one of my favorite things to grow, for cooking and for treating ailments. Many of them are perennials, so once you get herbs established you don’t have to worry about planting them year after year. And many herbs do quite well in partial shade, and are a great way to use those areas around your home which don’t get enough sunlight for sun-loving plants.

medicinal herbs

 Building A Medicinal Herb Collection

My ultimate goal is to grow as many of the culinary and medicinal herbs that my family uses as possible. Until then I’ll be buying my herbs in bulk. I’ve been slowly working on building my medicinal herb collection, to experiment with making different salves, tinctures, and ointments for my family. I want to try out a bunch of recipes to see what works best for us, so that I know which herbs I need to plant.

With these herbs I can make:

  • tinctures
  • poultices
  • salves
  • creams/ointments
  • shampoo/conditioner
  • face/body wash
  • herbal soaps
  • teas
  • tooth powder
  • and lots more!

I’m so anxious to try the many recipes I’ve found.

Most of what I have I bought specifically to combine in a recipe, not so much to use individually. I’ll be posting more as I experiment with different herbal combination.

Here’s what I have so far, and a few of their uses…

*Important: I am not a doctor. The following is for informational purposes only. Always do your research before you start taking any herbs, as side effects and pharmaceutical drug interactions may occur.

herbs 1
Hawthorn Berries– As I’ve written before Hawthorn berries are excellent for Heart Health (recipe). They can also be used to treat diarrhea, poor digestion, and bloating.

Rosehips– An excellent source of vitamin C. I make a tea with them to help keep us well, especially through the winter. A good ingredient to add to cough remedies.

Oregano Leaf– Antibacterial

Turmeric– Anti-inflammatory, good for the brain, can be used daily as a spice to flavor your foods.

Black Walnut Hull– Anti-fungal, antiseptic, astringent, and antiviral, strengthens and builds tooth enamel, contains natural fluoride. “As a rich source of organic iodine, black walnut (the hulls in particular) also gained much popularity as nourishment for the thyroid, especially in the interior parts of the country where sea vegetables were hard to come by.” -Practical Herbalism.

Echinacea Root– Antibiotic, immune stimulant, anti-allergenic, lymphatic tonic; can be especially useful for recurring kidney infections; good for common colds; reduces inflammation.

Bentonite Clay– Helps soothe insect bites and stings, draws impurities from your skin, helps regulate your body’s pH. Can be made into a Toothpaste (recipe).

Activated Charcoal– Absorbs toxins from your stomach, helps relieve vomiting and diarrhea from flu and food poisoning. Has been shown to absorb peanut protein and stop anaphylactic reactions caused by allergies. Can be used on insect bites to draw out poisons.

Catnip– Cools fevers, promotes sweating, helps relive congestion, has a calming effect. Makes a great tea to calm fussy babies or overactive children.

herbs 2
Licorice Root– Anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, tonic stimulant for adrenal cortex, lowers blood cholesterol, cooling, expectorant.

Mullein Leaf– Expectorant, sedative, heals wounds, astringent, anti-inflammatory. Can be used to treat feverish chills with hard coughs. Gargle an infusion to reduce inflammation causing a sore throat. Use a salve to treat wounds, hemorrhoids, eczema, or inflamed eyelids. Has been used to treat whooping cough, tuberculosis, asthma, and bronchitis.

Cat’s Claw Bark– Has been used to treat Lyme’s disease and clean out the kidneys.

Lemon Balm– Sedative, anti-depressant, digestive stimulant. Good for feverish colds. Makes a delicious tea. Calms upset stomach brought on by nervousness. The oils make a great insect repellant.

Chamomile Flowers– Delicious, relaxing tea. Relieves indigestion. Makes a great eyewash for pink-eye. Helps soothe eczema.

Arnica Flowers– Helps heal bruises and sprains.

Beeswax– for making balms.

Shea Butter– Nourishing to the skin, great for ointments and salves.

Coconut Oil– For ointments and salves. Great nourishment for the skin.

herbs 3
 Pau D’ Arco Bark– “The Incas and native tribes of South America use pau d’arco bark externally as a poultice or decoction for treating skin diseases including eczema, psoriasis, fungal infections, hemorrhoids and skin cancers.” -Nutritional Herbology

Calendula (Pot Marigold)– Astringent, antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, heals wounds, menstrual regulator, stimulates bile production. Make a mouth wash for ulcers and gum disease. Suppositories help heal vaginal yeast infections. Drink a tea for menopausal problems, period pains, gastritis. Make a cream to treat dry skin, sore nipples from breastfeeding, scalds, sunburns, eczema.

Lavender Flowers– Relaxant, antispasmodic, circulatory stimulant, relieves nerves, antibacterial, antiseptic. Relieves stress and headaches, also good for colic and irritability. Add to cream for eczema. Helps sooth sunburns and scalds. Can treat lice.

Comfrey– Heals wounds, expectorant. Helps heal fractured bones. Soothes osteoarthritis.

Horesetail/Shavegrass– Astringent, stops bleeding, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, tissue healer. Makes a good eyewash for conjunctivitis (pink eye). Can be used to treat nosebleeds and heavy menstruation. Can help control bed-wetting. Used to help heal damage from lung disease. Is prescribed for stomach ulcers, urinary tract inflammations, and prostate disorders. A poultice can be made for wounds.

Yarrow Flower– Astringent, fresh leaves can be used for nosebleeds, used to treat hay fever. Makes a good eczema wash. A compress can be made to treat varicose veins.

Where I Buy My Herbs In Bulk

It’s important when you are buying anything that will be going into your body that the ingredients are organic and of the best quality. So far, the best places I’ve found to buy quality, organic herbs in bulk at the best price is The Bulk Herb Store and Mountain Rose Herbs (affiliate links). If I haven’t grown it myself yet or can’t find it growing wild, I buy it from either one of these stores.

how to store dried herbs

How To Store Dried Herbs

When you grow your own herbs, you have the option of using them fresh or drying them for future use. Some herbs even become more potent after being dried, and are preferred in this state. If you will be drying herbs, or buying dried herbs in bulk, there are a few things you need to keep in mind as you store them…

Keep Out Moisture– Before you put your herbs up on the shelf, you need to make sure they’re completely dry. They should be brittle, and crumble between your fingers. If there is any moisture left in them, they will begin to mold in their container. They should be stored in a dry place, protected from humidity.

Keep Out Air– You’ll want to seal them in an air-tight container. A mason jar is perfect for storing herbs.

Keep Out Light– Exposing dried herbs to direct sunlight will cause them to deteriorate more rapidly. Store them somewhere away from a window, or keep them in a dark container.

Keep Out Heat– Herbs will last longer when stored in cooler temperatures.

Follow these basic guidelines, and your herbs will keep for several months to even a couple of years. Remember, the longer they sit the more they breakdown nutritionally, so the faster you can use them up the more you’ll get out of your herbs.

My herbs are stored in a cool, dark closet, away from any windows. A cool, dry basement would also be a great place to keep them.

I look forward to growing more herbs, and buying less!

I’d love to know which herbs you grow, buy, or use on a regular basis! Tell me about your medicinal herb collection.


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Kendra
About Kendra 1104 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

19 Comments

  1. I just love your site !

    Consider growing chaste tree they are stunning and great for women. I’m attempting them from seed, as well as skullcap, catnip, lemon and lime balms, calendula, chamommile, and California and Flanders poppy this year.

    Another must have which I am surprised doesn’t grow here on the gulf coast, least in my yard, is nettles. I’m planting some (way in the back!)

    I am in luck with elder, I have a beautiful one on my property and just propagated many stems (we will see how that goes!)

    Although I keep a cabinet of herbs and tinctures this is my first medicinal garden. I moved to the rural coast from the city and now luckily have plenty of space.

  2. Hi Kendra. I found your page when I was checking out Ajuga, which I had long forgotten about. I’m never without Prunella (self-heal or all-heal) myself. It has an incredible range of medicinal uses. Another herb I plant every year is Spilanthes, even though it’s native to South America and not here. Some of the medicinal mushrooms that I find here in West Tennessee are Ganoderma lucidum(Reishi, Ling Zhi), Maitake (Grifola frondosa) and Turkey Tails (Coriolus versicolor), that I’ve used mostly for treating various cancers that I’ve been called on to treat. Also, Scullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) is good for all types of nerve pain. Here, Scullcap and the Ganoderma mushrooms are found in the low damp to wet places around the swamps and the banks of the Mississippi River..One last thing that I learned about several years ago and now grow every year is the Holy Basils/Tulsi. They too have a very broad range of medicinal uses to treat myriad conditions of ill health.

  3. Hi Kendra,
    Great post; thank you so much for inspriring me to start growing my own herbs and much more! Do you have any instructions on how to dry your own herbs?
    Thank you!
    Meghan

  4. Would you ever consider posting an herbal recipe every now and then, one that is fairly easy for us beginners? Sometimes it’s a bit overwhelming looking for herbal recipes online- there are so many out there. I’d love to hear from someone that understands the mind of a newbie. I’ve thought of starting with something like a headache remedy, maybe in a tea form, that would be easy to make and use for myself, my husband, and our kiddos. Anyway, I’m rambling- maybe it’s the late hour. 🙂
    Thanks!

  5. I have always been interested in using herbs but have been discouraged because of the difficulty of finding a source of complete information.
    Often books and publications tell you what herb is good for what but often omit how to make it and how to use it.
    Do you know of a good source?

  6. Hi. Except for a few herbs your story is the same as mine. I live on the western slope of Colorado. With the help of a green house, I’m able to grow all year long. I look for new herbs to grow and how to use them. I’m 72 years old and in grate health mostly due to diet and life stile. To list all that I do would take much to long. Perhaps we could compair notes and techniques. I would welcome you to e mail me when you have time. I may start selling some of my herbs at a health food shop soon. Any advice? I have a few acres and also raise some small animals. I’m interested in using herbs on my animals. Any suggestions? Stay well.

  7. Good morning Kendra 🙂
    I love what you have so far. You are the lovely lady who started me on this herbal journey a year ago when you made the garlic and coconut oil for coughs. I have become an herb freak. I have also planted Hyssop, a “stimulating expectorant with marked antiviral activity” and diuretic. Petasites (Butterbur) it’s a painrelieving antispasmodic. My favorite tea, that is so easy to grow and deliscios is Tulsi (Holy Basil). I drink it every day. The benefits of Tulsi are legion (I love it when they say that). My favorite book for ratios for tinctures, oils, syrups, etc, is Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech. He also happens to be the owner of Horizon Herbs, my favorite place to buy herb seed, root, plant or tree. it’s also a great source for heirloom veggie seeds. Last year I started about 40 different herbs and have about 15 more veriaties starting outside now because they have to go thru the winter before germination. Everything I’ve tried so far actually works!!! Gods pharmacy is amazing!!!! Thank you so Kendra much for getting me started on the amazing journey 🙂

  8. hello!!!

    first of all thank you! thank you for the inspiration you give me on a regular basis and the encouragement to keep trying!

    I just Love reading the wonderful ways we can use nature… I am just wondering if there is a book or website you can direct me to that would show the ratios and ways to use these amazing plants in the most effective way.

    thank you so much for any information.

    blessings
    Mandy

    • Hi Mandy! I love Rosemary Gladstar’s herbal books. She has a lot of really great information and recipes out there. I also love The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody. It doesn’t have recipes, but it lists different herbs and what they’re good for. The combination of both of these resources has done me well. I’m sure there are other great books out there. I’d love to hear what other people have!

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