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close this bookRelated Agroforestry Livelihood (IIRR, 1992, 30 p.)
close this folderMedicinal uses of upland vegetation (including plant essences)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentCollection/harvesting medicinal plants
View the documentPrimary processing of medicinal plants
View the documentGlossary of terms

Primary processing of medicinal plants

Proper drying and storage of medicinal plants for future use are important since moisture encourages the growth of molds and other microorganisms, leading to the destruction of the active principles and the deterioration of the plant drug.

Air-drying and sun-drying are the methods employed in the absence of temperature-controlled ovens. Properly dried leaves crumble easily.

Small amounts of material may be dried in a large transparent container in a sunny window, such as an uncapped large jar.

Large amounts may be hung in bundles, baskets, mesh bags, outdoors or spread on a clean mat in warm, dry place indoors.

Avoid drying on top of concrete pavements or roof-tops; extreme heat could destroy some of the plant constituents.

Prevent growth of molds and other microorganisms, infestation by insects and rodents by keeping the dried plant drugs inside air-tight containers in a cool, dry place away from direct light.

Stored medicinal plants must be labeled inside and outside the container; include the date of collection in the label.