All tips and instructions for drying the medicinal plantsto obtain a stable and long-lasting product. L'drying of medicinal plantsit is simple and affordable for everyone.
Drying eliminates the aqueous component of the vegetable tissues of the medicinal herbs collected. With dehydration, metabolic and enzymatic processes that could alter and deteriorate the product are blocked.
To block the process of cellular respiration, the water component of themedicinal plantsmust be reduced by 60%. To stop fermentation, the water content must not exceed 15%. In reality, with thedryingthe water component is not completely eliminated, in the dried officinal herbs there is always a 10% humidity so the metabolic processes are not completely arrested. Such a low moisture content greatly slows down any degenerative process and that is why theherbsdriedthey can be stored for so long.
Theofficinal herbsmore difficult todryare those rich in carbohydrates and polysaccharides, the woody tissues obstruct the water diffusion gradient by retaining moisture. In practical terms, the most difficult medicinal herbs to dry are:
- pretty Woman
- marigold flowers
- flowers of arnica
With the'dryingof theofficinal herbsjust listed, you need to be very careful because these herbs only appear dry in appearance.
To make sure that the aromatic herb is really dry, after drying it is recommended to break the product (leaf, branch or root) and check the internal parts that must appear crunchy and dry to the eye and to the touch. The dried leaves should be slightly crumpled and crumbly to the touch.
Warning!The leaves must be crumbly but must not pulverize to the touch. If they become pulverized it means that they have been excessively dried or even burned in case of drying in the oven.
Dry the medicinal plants it is simple and affordable for everyone. Medicinal plants can be dried in different ways:
- Natural drying, using natural air, in a dry and ventilated environment.
- Artificial drying, with dryers that dehumidify the air, devices that deliver heat ...
How to dry medicinal plants in a natural way
L'drying of the officinaliswith natural method depends a lot on the atmospheric conditions and on the place chosen to treat the plants. It is difficult to predict drying times and those who decide to dry medicinal plants in a natural way will have to carry out careful monitoring to observe the progress of dehydration.
The period in which it operates is also influencing natural drying: it is much easier to dry oregano in southern Italy than angelica or rhubarb roots harvested in the mountains in autumn!
Generally, for the natural drying of officinal herbs harvested in the warm months of the year, you can do this:
- Prepare properly the product lying on racks.
- The place chosen for drying must be protected from dust and direct sunlight.
- The racks must be placed in the shade of a shed or in a protected shelter.
Fordrying the medicinal herbsharvested in autumn and in the cold periods of the year, you must:
- have adequate structures and spaces to cope with adverse weather conditions. You can use a non-committed greenhouse for crops as long as it is well cleaned. The greenhouse must be adequately shaded and ventilated.
- The product must be placed on pallets or grilled surfaces raised from the ground by at least 80 cm.
General rules for drying plants
- The product to be dried should be placed in thin layers. The more the plant tissues are delicate (lemon balm leaves, basil, calendula or chamomile flowers, currant sprouts…) the thinner the drying layer must be.
- For small harvests of aromatic or medicinal species, drying can be done in bunches to hang that will be easier to manage. The aromatic and officinal herbs that are best suited for this type of drying are:
You may also be interested in our related article: How to dry chillies.