Lesson 1A is a short one so there is going to be two parts of this lesson. First, how to determine good quality herbs; and second, a little information on the first herb order that I placed. I published a post similar to this last fall, but I wanted it to be in order for the lessons so I changed some things and republished it today.
(This is my Comfrey plant growing in my garden. The tomatoes are inside the tires.)
1. Color - dried herbs should retain the same color as when they were fresh with very little color variation.
2. Smell - Herbs should smell strongly (but not necessarily 'good').
3. Taste - The herbs should have a strong potency of flavor.
4. Effect - The herb must work effectively. If a herb you are using does not work effectively then the first thing you should suspect is its quality.
Lesson 1A is a short lesson so I wanted to share with you the following as well:
I needed to order herbs for the first couple of chapters and I spent hours and hours on the computer trying to figure out which company to order from. I finally went with Mountain Rose Herbs - almost all of the newer books that I have recommended them, many forums that I read recommended them, and they have very good prices. So I took a leap and spent about $200 with them (They have a guarantee so I felt a lot better about spending that much money without trying their products first).
I placed my order and waited and waited. Their website says orders should ship in 1-3 days. Well my order status never changed from pending. So after 6 days I called them - they told me something weird happened with their new computer system and it hadn't printed my order which is why it hadn't shipped yet. But the lady from Mountain Rose Herbs was really nice, she made sure it shipped the next day via 3 day air and waived my shipping charges. AND my order got here one day early! So I was happy! I don't mind waiting a while if I don't have to pay for shipping :)
All of the herbs I purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs passed the color and smell test. The herbs were very aromatic and had great color. I am working on tasting all of them and using them so I haven't tested the taste and effect qualities yet.
One thing that was difficult for me when purchasing my herbs is that I didn't know how much of each individual herb to purchase. Mountain Rose Herbs sells their herbs by weight and you can purchase them in 4 oz, 8 oz, or 1 pound increments. The hard part was that I didn't know how much volume 4 ounces of dried hops are or 1 pound of lavender flowers are, etc. So I had to guess. Because of this I decided to put all the herbs that I purchased into either quart or pint jars and take pictures of them so you can get an idea of how much herb you get with the different weights.
There is going to be a lot of pictures (30 of them to be exact) so this will be long. I ordered the following herbs: Black Walnut Hull Powder, Burdock Root, Chamomile Flowers, Chaparral Leaf, Coltsfoot, Comfrey Root, Dandelion Root, Echinacea Root, Elecampane Root, Flax Seed, Ginkgo Leaf, Goldenseal Leaf, Goldenseal Root, Gotu Kola, Hops Flowers, Horsetail, Lavender Flowers, Lobelia, Marshmallow Root, Myrrh Gum Powder, Oatstraw, Oregon Grape Root, Plantain Leaf, Pleurisy Root, Psyllium Seed, Slippery Elm Bark Powder, St. John's Wort, Valerian Root, Wood Betony, and Yellow Dock Root