Herbs – How much bounce per ounce do you need?

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Endangered Herbs Part 4

Herbs, Fresh versus dried – Why?

Getting the most therapeutic doses out of the least amount of plant make sense, right?

For endangered herbs using the harvested material wisely to make the most amount of medicine is a worthy aim. Here is a major way to achieve that with two of these herbs.

Make medicine from the fresh plant

Tincturing some fresh endangered herbs can give you similar strengths and more doses than the dried herb according to Michael Moore author of Medicinal plants of the Pacific West (1993).

Using Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga spp.). as an example, Michael explains this well in the following quote from his book.

‘The herb deteriorates fast (Black Cohosh) and needs to be tinctured fresh…’

… the same single root will create more therapeutic bounce for the ounce if tinctured fresh. As with so many herbs, the bioactivity of a square inch of the fresh root is rather greater than the same inch if it were dehydrated.

‘…Ten ounces of fresh Black Cohosh root may supply 60 full doses as fresh root tincture. Ten ounces will dry down by mass to slightly over one ounce which produces only 20 full doses. …in bioactivity the fresh and dried tinctures are nearly the same strength.’

Michael also mentions Golden seal – once again fresh gives more doses and the same bioactivity as dried.

A caution however. This does not hold for all plants – do your research and reading. American ginseng for example gives little advantage dried vs fresh.

We can see that for two specific endangered herbs Black Cohosh and Golden Seal fresh tincturing has advantages for the plant communities and for the medicine.

So why dry the plants in the first place?

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