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Drying and Preserving Medicinal Herbs and Plants

aroma aromatic assortment bottles

Being able to properly harvest and preserve your herbs after planting them is a very important part of creating your own herbal pharmacy. Below are all the steps you can take to easily preserve your medicinal herbs.

Step 1.) Harvesting


For flowering herbs like calendula, rose and lavender; harvest just before the flowers open. You should do your harvesting on a dry day in the morning just after the dew has evaporated. Harvest flowering herbs with stems, to make drying easier. You can separate them once they have sufficiently dried.


For leafy herbs like basil and oregano; harvest before they begin to flower. Do this harvesting on a dry morning as well. When you harvest, cut each stem just above where it meets the main stalk.


For fruiting plants like elderberries, you would definitely want to harvest them when they are ripe. This will depend on the type of fruit it is, so be sure you keep your eyes open if you have multiple fruiting plants you want to use. Harvest simply by picking the fruits off.


For roots like ginger, marshmallow, and turmeric; harvest at the end of their growth cycle. This will also vary by plant, so make sure you know what’s what when your plants have begun to go dormant. When you’re ready to harvest, you just dig up the root and set it aside for preservation!


For seeds like fennel and flax, wait for the seeds to fully mature before harvesting. Make sure they are still on the plant when harvested, so you can take advantage of them while they are still intact and the most potent.

Step 2.) Preservation of Herbs


Small flowers can be dried whole, while larger flowers should have the petals carefully separated for best drying results. Lay out your petals and flowers on clean tea towels or paper towels in a room with good circulation and low sunlight. It is important that they be laid out in one layer without any overlap to avoid making a big compost pile. Turn and check on them throughout the day, to make sure they are drying properly.


Like flowers, some leafy herbs can be dried whole; while others do better with their leaves removed and laid out. For leaves alone, you use the same technique as you would with the flowers above. For whole stalks, you can gently tie them together by the stems in little bundles. Then, you hang these bundles upside-down until the herbs dry. You will want to keep your hanging herbs in a similar, if not the same place as your laid out herbs—High circulation, and indirect sunlight.


Fruits can be most easily preserved by drying or freezing. When freezing or drying fruits, it is best to remove the skins and seeds from larger kinds, as well as chop them into chunks or slices. However, for smaller fruits like berries, you can simply wash and freeze/dry as they are. Just make sure you choose fruits that are ripe and not bruised or damaged in any way, so that they will last as long as possible and retain their nutrients.
To dry fruits, you can use your oven or a dehydrator to dry them out. For dehydrators, you would simply follow the instructions that came with it. If you want to use your oven, however, there is an easy way to do it… Preheat your oven to the lowest temp it has—this should be under two hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Then lay your fruit out in one layer on a nonstick, oven-safe tray. Place in the oven and leave it alone until your fruit is completely dried out.


The best way to preserve roots is to freeze them and grate off what you want as needed. However, it is important that they be frozen in a vacuum sealed bag or container. This maintains their freshness longer, and keeps them from developing freezer burn over time.


As long as bugs and moisture are completely kept away from seeds, they are the easiest to store. You can simply air dry your seeds of any moisture the same way you would flowers and leaves; then place them in airtight containers. Keep seeds in a cool, dry place for most long-lasting results.

Step 3.) Storage

This is the simplest part of the whole process! Whatever you freeze can stay frozen, and anything you dried out simply needs to be kept in airtight containers in cool, dry places. Check on your stores often to make sure mold or pests have not taken hold, and enjoy creating your very own personal preservation paradise!

Herbs You Can Grow at Home that Make Great Natural Remedies

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Herbs You Can Grow At Home That Make Great Natural Remedies

six potted plants close up photo

Having an herb garden can be useful for a lot more than adding fresh herbs to your favorite recipes. Herb gardens are actually chock full of amazing natural home remedies! Below are just a few really easy-to-grow herbs you can grow at home, as well as what natural remedies you can use them for.


This green, leafy herb is full of vitamins and antioxidants that make it quite a fantastic tool for natural medicine:

  • Chewing the leaves helps with stomach pains.
  • Drinking basil tea relieves coughing fits.
  • A facial steam with basil and water soothes headaches.
  • Basil paste takes the pain and toxins out of bug bites and stings.
  • Essential oil of basil works to fix ear infections and aches.


These lovely, purple flowers are more than just beautiful! They can be used for many different things:

  • Use lavender tea as a hair rinse to clear up dandruff.
  • Add the dried flowers to oatmeal for an anti-inflammatory facial scrub.
  • Apply lavender essential oil to burns to help soothe and heal them.
  • Spray a mixture of water and lavender oil anywhere you want to keep bugs away.


Adding this bright green herb to recipes strengthens your bones, and also improves your cellular function. However, that’s not all! There are more things you can use dill for:

  • Dill essential oil can help relieve cramps from menstruation, indigestion, gas, and even in the muscles.
  • Small doses of dill tea can help soothe colicky babies.
  • Eating the herb helps with milk production in nursing mothers.


The seeds, in particular, have the most benefits to offer you and your family. Fennel is purifying, helps with digestion, and can even improve eyesight in some people! The most common home remedies of fennel include:

  • Soak fennel seeds in water overnight, then drink to help with heat stroke.
  • Eat a small handful after meals to aid digestion.
  • Fennel powder mixed with grape juice and cumin powder lowers fevers when you drink it.


This velvety herb is anti everything! Anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and antibacterial. It also had lots of antioxidants to boost all these benefits as well. Here’s what you can use oregano for at home:

  • Drink oregano tea to help with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS.)
  • Oregano essential oil mixed with salt into a paste is an effective cure for Athlete’s Foot.
  • Add the essential oil to olive oil as a rub for muscle and joint pain relief.

These are just a few herbs with a few go their home remedies to get you started. Nearly every herb you can grow is full of benefits and potential natural medicinal properties you can take advantage of! Use this as the first step to your future of making your very own natural remedies. Happy herb gardening!

5 Herbs to Grow
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Chicken Soup: Makes Almost Everything Better + Recipe

Everyone has been sick at one time of their life or another. We all have memories of that one bad cold we had once, and one of the things that helped make us feel better—Chicken soup. Maybe it was from a can, or maybe it was an old recipe passed down through your family… Whichever it was, it helped sooo much! Keep reading to find out how.

Chicken soup is one of the most common home remedies. It has tons of benefits, and really does help with colds and flus! Several studies have shown that chicken soup has the ability to reduce symptoms as well as help the body recover from these types of sicknesses. Let’s break down how:


It is very important to stay hydrated when you are sick; and a warm, flavorful broth is the perfect way to do that. Broth is just as important as the rest of the soup, and can also be a great vehicle for extra spices with their own added benefits.


Chicken is full of protein and B vitamins. Protein is a great fuel for the body, and also helps you feel full longer; while B vitamins boost the immune system, as well as cell and brain function. This will help you feel less foggy and more alert… Not right away, though! First, you will need to have a nap induced by the tryptophan chicken also has. Rest is another vital part of healing properly from sickness.


Depending on the noodle, there are a lot of different possible vitamins and benefits. Vegetable noodles add extra vitamins; while regular or egg noodles give you a boost of carbs and help you feel satisfied as you eat. Plus, they are just plain fun to eat!


Veggies provide the necessary vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs to recover more quickly from colds and flus. Be sure to use a good variety of vegetable to take advantage of as many benefits as possible. Think rainbow, eat the rainbow—and not the skittle kind! 😉


All of these ingredients work together to create an incredible powerhouse of soothing and healing abilities. Studies prove that chicken soup helps with all of the following:

  • Thins Mucus.
The combination of steam and nutrients work together to thin and drain mucus more effectively. This means it is much easier to expel this mucus through coughing and nose blowing—which can be a huge relief.
  • Boosts Immunity.
With all the nutrients all mixed together, chicken soup is a true recipe for immune function success. Not only does it help you heal, but it helps your body recover as well; preventing lingering coughs or other symptoms from sticking around!
  • Reduces Inflammation
It has been proven that chicken soup works to slow down certain white blood cells that contribute to inflammatory symptoms in the sinuses. This greatly relieves that inflammation as well as any built-up congestion.

While chicken soup does not magically make colds disappear, it DOES make the experience more bearable. So next time you feel a flu or a cold coming on, whip up a pot and enjoy!

Recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup

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A Case For Old-Fashioned Natural Remedies

flat lay photo of alternative medicines

Old-fashioned remedies have their (literal) roots in herbal and natural medicines. Plants are the original medicine where all our modern day pharmaceuticals come from! They are also free of all the synthetic and potentially harmful chemicals people have put into medicine today.

Hundreds of years ago, before there were huge corporate drug companies; there were apothecaries. These were essentially pharmacies full of natural medicine, run by experienced herbalists of the time. These people worked hard to figure out what plants to use to help the people that came to them. They worked on medical advice, medicinal trials, mixtures, and some even grew their own plants to be sure they could offer quality medicine to their “patients.” Another thing apothecary proprietors would do is sell their natural remedies to the practicing physicians at the time as well. Apothecary owners were very well-versed in the ways all different kinds of plants work, and often devoted their entire lives to these studies. You could definitely say they were early versions of the fancy scientists we have today!

Then, with modern civilization came GREAT breakthroughs in medicine. We found penicillin, developed chemotherapy, and even discovered ways to survive deadly diseases through vaccines! However, with these fantastic developments also came a huge dependency on pharmaceutical drugs… With this came all the issues we have today with price-gouging, severe side effects, and blind trust in whatever these drug companies say. This is why natural remedies are making such a huge comeback in the western world… People are starting to realize that herbal medicines and old-fashioned remedies actually still have a LOT of merit.

Most pharmaceuticals seem to work very well, but they actually function more like band-aids. They work fast, yet they effects are only temporary symptom control… Take cold medicine, for example. Your most common over-the-counter medicine simply masks the symptoms. To get real healing and relief, you need to get something with an expectorant. Those symptom hiders are STILL on the shelves, though; pulling in money into useless pockets every day.

Meanwhile, herbal remedies (when prepared properly) do what they say they will do. Natural medicine works more like a cast—restorative and healing over time. They also come in endless forms so you can find the best kind for your needs, no matter what. Essential oils, teas, pills, raw, gummies, dried, etc. are all examples of mediums that herbal medicines can be found in. Natural remedies are also much more affordable and accessible, with fewer side effects than prescription or over-the-counter drugs.

Some things that can be healed through natural remedies include:

  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Digestive Issues
  • Heart/Circulation Problems
  • Hormone Levels
  • Inflammation
  • Insomnia
  • Oral Care
  • Pain
  • Skin Conditions
  • …and so much more!

Get in touch with a licensed naturopathic doctor today, and find out how you can take advantage of the amazing benefits from old-fashioned, natural remedies!

Meanwhile, check out our Chicken Soup article and Recipe – Here